National Leather Association-International, formerly known as the National Leather Association [Edit]

The National Leather Association – International (NLA-I), formerly called the National Leather Association (NLA), is a BDSM/leather-rights organization that was founded in 1986 by Steve Maidhof, Jan Lyon, Vik Stump, Billy Jefferson, Cookie Andrews-Hunt, Doug Connell, George Nelson and Wayne Gloege.

The National Leather Association helped organize the leather conference that preceded the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. That conference sparked the infamous Dallas Conference, which met in February 1988 to discuss creating a national SM/leather/fetish organization. Best remembered for vitriolic arguments that exposed divisions in the community between women and men, the East Coast and West Coast, old clubs and new, and those not affiliated with any club, the conference created a new organization named Safe Sane Consensual Adults (SSCA). However, burdened by the political infighting of the Dallas Conference, the SSCA failed to gain support and merged with the National Leather Association.

From 1987 to 1995 the organization bestowed the titles Ms. NLA (later Ms. NLA International) and Mr. NLA (later Mr NLA International).

International Deaf Leather was founded in 1989 as a chapter of the National Leather Association, called “NLA: Deaf Chapter”; its founders were Bobby Andrascik, Bob Donaldson, Jim Dunne, Michael Felts, Rolf Hagton, Philip Rubin, and Charles Wilkinson. Its name was changed to International Deaf Leather in 1991.

The name of the National Leather Association was changed to the National Leather Association – International in 1991 by request of members not living in America.

Soon after forming the organization began to have one female and one male co-chair in the name of gender equality, but this caused difficulties due to people living far apart, so they changed back to having presidents and vice presidents.

The organization staged Living in Leather gatherings until 2002. In 1994 Living in Leather VIII received the Large Event of the Year award as part of the Pantheon of Leather Awards.

In 1992 National Leather Association – International received the Large Nonprofit Organization of the Year award as part of the Pantheon of Leather Awards.

In 1993 Pride Night by National Leather Association – International: Metro New York, The Eulenspiegel Society, Excelsior MC, GMS/MA, and Lesbian Sex Mafia received the Large Event of the Year award as part of the Pantheon of Leather Awards.

After a period of decline around the turn of the millennium, National Leather Association – International has become more active again.

In 2007 the National Leather Association – International created awards for excellence in SM/fetish/leather writing. The awards are: the Geoff Mains Non-Fiction Book Award, the Cynthia Slater Nonfiction Article Award, the Pauline Reage Novel Award, the John Preston Short Fiction Award, and the Samois Poetry Award (which before 2021 was the Samois Anthology Award). In 2019 the National Leather Association – International created the Erotic Art Awards. The awards are: the Chéri Hérouard Award (for realism), the Clovis Trouille Award (for surrealism), the Gene Bilbrew Award (for animation), the Aubrey Beardsley Award (for abstract art), and the Michael Kirwan Award (for expressionism).

The National Leather Association – International also gives out the Steve Maidhof Award and the Jan Lyon Award.

The National Leather Association – International’s records are held at the Leather Archives & Museum.


1986 – 1988 ~ President Steve Maidhof
1988 – 1989 ~ President Vik Stump
1989 – 1990 ~ Female Co-chair Judy Tallwing McCarthy
                       Male Co-chair Jim Richards
1990 – 1991 ~ Female Co-chair Shannon Thomas Kennedy (resigned)
                       Female Co-chair Judy Tallwing McCarthy (appointed)
1991 – 1992 ~ Female Co-chair Jan Lyon (elected)
1991 – 1993 ~ Male Co-chair Chuck Higgins
1992 – 1994 ~ Female Co-chair Sallee Mallard Huber
1993 – 1995 ~ Male Co-chair Albert Kraus
1994 – 1996 ~ Female Co-chair K. T. Chase
1995 – 1997 ~ Male Co-chair Mark Frazier
1996 – 1998 ~ Female Co-chair Jan Hall
1997 – 1998 ~ President Mark Frasier
                         Vice President & President-Elect Jan Hall
1998 – 1999 ~ President Jan Hall
                         Vice President & President-Elect Spencer Bergstedt
1999 – 2000 ~ President Spencer Bergstedt
                         Vice President & President-Elect Athena Lyons (resigned)
2000 – 2001 ~ President Spencer Bergstedt
                         Vice President & President-Elect Lady Victoria Knight
2001 – 2002 ~ President Lady Victoria Knight
                         Vice President & President-Elect Hardy Haberman
2002 – 2003 ~ President-Elect Hardy Haberman (resigned)
                         Vice President & President-Elect Ann Brown
                         President Ann Brown (Interim-resigned)
                         President-Elect Gary Park (Interim)
2004 – 2005 ~ President Lady Victoria Knight
                         Vice President Tammie Nelson
                         President Rafe (interim)
Dec 2005 ~ Dec 2005 ~ President-Elect Rafe
Dec 2005 ~ Dec 2005 ~ Vice President Tammie Nelson
Jan 2006 – June 2006 ~ President Jan Hall (Interim)
Jan 2006 – Dec 2007 ~ Vice President Bill Reed (Interim)
July 2006 – Dec 2007 ~ President-Elect Vince Andrews
Jan 2008 – Dec 2009 ~ Vice President-Elect Bill Reed                             
Jan 2008 – Dec 2010 ~ President Re-Elect Vince Andrews
Jan 2010 – Dec 2011 ~ Vice President-Elect Kate R.
Jan 2011 – Dec 2012 ~ President-Elect Robert Helms
Jan 2012 – Dec 2013 ~ Vice President Elect LaMaestra
Jan 2013 – Dec 2014 ~ President Re-Elect Robert Helms
Mar 2014 – Dec 2014 ~ Vice President-Elect CandiAnne Shafer (elected to fill vacancy)
Jan 2015 – Dec 2016 ~ President-Elect CandiAnne Shafer
Jan 2015 – Dec 2015 ~ Vice President (Interim) T.C.
Jan 2016 – Dec 2018 ~ President Re-Elect CandiAnne Shafer
Jan 2016 – Dec 2017 ~ Vice President-Elect T.C. (Abandoned position Oct 2017)
Jan 2018 – Dec 2019  ~ Vice President Elect Joseph Boteler
Jan 2019 – Dec 2020 ~ President Elect John Doan
Jan 2020 – Present ~ Vice President Elect Brian Hardy
Jan 2021 – Present ~ President Elect John Doan