The International Mr. Leather conference is a multi-day and activity event to recognize International Mr. Leather. Shared interest events, such as speakers, socials, themed dance parties and a leather market are part of ways in which the competitors become known to the evaluating committee and enthusiasts, including the BDSM community, can share in the experience.
IML is an international recognized distinction with an informal relationship with how contestants qualify: contestants must either be a winner of a lower level feeder competition of a bar, local or regional leather contest or be sponsored by a leather-related bar, business, club, or organization.
The forerunner of the competition was the 1970s “Mr. Gold Coast” bar contest held at Chicago’s Gold Coast leather bar, owned by Chuck Renslow and his then-partner, Dom Orejudos. The “Mr. Gold Coast” contest became one of the bar’s most popular promotions causing the need to locate the competition to a larger venue (starting in 1979), and title change to International Mr. Leather. The International Mr. Bootblack Competition was added (1993) to the IML program.
In 1993, 1994 and 1995, the Leather Archives & Museum existed as a growing collection and appeared in public only as exhibits at International Mr. Leather (plus a couple of abortive attempts to appear on the road).
In 1995 “Chuck Renslow – IML” (among others) received the International Deaf Leather Recognition Award.
In 1996 International Ms. Leather 1993 and then-International Ms. Leather owner and producer Amy Marie Meek became the first woman to judge International Mr. Leather. It was then and there she got the idea for the International Ms. Bootblack contest.
The Leather Archives & Museum has placed IML in a trust (May 2009) with event profits to benefit the museum. The museum also holds the records of IML.
In 2010 IML was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.
Contest finalists are selected following:
- A preliminary interview with each of the nine judges, up to 8 minutes in length, are held in private (60% of the preliminary score).
- Stage presence and personality at a Saturday “Pecs and Personality” event (40% of the preliminary score).
The judge’s highest and lowest scores for each contestant in each criteria are dropped, and the contestant’s remaining seven scores are tallied to determine the 20 contestants with the highest combined scores to proceed as finalists at the Sunday IML contest event. The only time that the dropped scores are included in the tally is when there is a tie for the 20th place; the contestants in question have their dropped scores included in the tally but if the stalemate continues then each of the nine judges must vote for only one of the two contestants. Preliminary judging scores are not carried forward. There are also two tally masters.
Each of the 20 finalists is judged at the Sunday IML contest on a scale from 0 to 100 in the following order:
- Leather image (up to 40 points).
- Presentation skills that include a contestant speech (up to 40 points).
- Physical appearance (up to 20 points).
The highest and lowest scores for each finalist are dropped, the remaining seven scores are added together, and the top three scores designate the second runner-up, first runner-up, and winner, International Mr. Leather. A tie for the title is resolved by adding to the tally the dropped scores of the two contestants; if the stalemate continues then each of the nine judges must vote for only one of the contestants in question.
|1979||David Kloss||Mr. Leather Brig||San Francisco, CA|
|1980||Patrick Brooks||Mr. Leather Australia||Sydney, NSW, Australia|
|1981||Marty Kiker||(sponsored)||San Francisco, CA|
|1982||Luke Daniel||Mr. Drummer||San Francisco, CA|
|1983||Coulter Thomas||Mr. Texas Leather||Houston, TX|
|1984||Ron Moore (the first black International Mr. Leather. His sister Genelle Moore was International Ms. Leather 1997, making them the first brother-sister duo to hold international leather titles.)||Mr. Leather Colorado||Denver, CO|
|1985||Patrick Toner||Mr. Chaps San Francisco||San Francisco, CA|
|1986||Scott Tucker||Mr. Philadelphia Leather||Philadelphia, PA|
|1987||Thomas Karasch||Mr. Leather Europe||Hamburg, Germany|
|1988||Michael Pereyra||Mr. Leather San Diego||San Diego, CA|
|1989||Guy Baldwin||Mr. NLA||Los Angeles, CA|
|1990||Mark Ryan||Mr. Boston Leather||Boston, MA|
|1991||D Cannon||Mr CC Palm Springs||Hollywood, CA|
|1992||Lenny Broberg||Mr. San Francisco Leather||San Francisco, CA|
|1993||Henri ten Have||(sponsored)||Amsterdam, Holland|
|1994||Jeff Tucker||Mr. San Jose Leather||San Jose, CA|
|1995||Larry Everett||Mr. Oklahoma Leather||Collinsville, OK|
|1996||Joe Gallagher||Mr. Leather New York||New York, NY|
|1997||Kevin Cwayna||Mr. Minnesota Leather||Minneapolis, MN|
|1998||Tony Mills||Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather||Washington, DC|
|1999||Bruce Chopnik||Mr. Rocky Mountain Leather||Denver, CO|
|2000||Mike Taylor||Mr. Heartland Leather||Cincinnati, OH|
|2001||Stefan Mueller||Bavarian Mr. Leather||Munich, Germany|
|2002||Stephen Weber||Mr. Texas Leather||Dallas, TX|
|2003||John Pendal||Mr. Hoist||London, United Kingdom|
|2004||Jason Hendrix||Mr. DC Eagle||Washington, DC|
|2005||Michael Egdes||Mr. Ramrod||Ft Lauderdale, FL|
|2006||Bo Ladashevska||Mr. Leather Montreal||Montreal, Canada|
|2007||Mikel Gerle||Mr. Los Angeles Leather||Los Angeles, CA|
|2008||Gary Iriza||Mr. Palm Springs Leather||Palm Springs, CA|
|2009||Jeffrey Payne||Mr. Texas Leather||Dallas, TX|
|2010||Tyler McCormick (the first openly transgender International Mr. Leather, and the first wheelchair user to be International Mr. Leather)||Mr. Rio Grande Leather||Albuquerque, NM|
|2011||Eric Guttierez||Mr. Leather Europe||Paris, France|
|2012||Woody Woodruff||Mr. Michigan Leather||Waterford, MI|
|2013||Andy Cross||Mr. San Francisco Leather||San Francisco, CA|
|2014||Ramien Pierre||Mr. DC Eagle||Washington, DC|
|2015||Patrick Smith||Mr. Los Angeles Leather||Los Angeles, CA|
|2016||David “Tigger” Bailey||Mr. New Jersey Leather||Howell, NJ|
|2017||Ralph Bruneau||Mr. GNI Leather||Los Angeles, CA|
|2018||James Lee||Mr. Kentucky Leather||Lexington, KY|
|2019||Jack Thompson (the first openly transgender man of color – Thompson was black – to be International Mr. Leather)||Leatherman Of Color 2019||Baltimore, MD|