Southland Honors is an annual awards ceremony to recognize outstanding individuals from the Southern California leather community.
Southland Honors was originally conceived by Kent Arnwolt and Robert Blackmon in 2002 with the following goals:
1) To recognize and publicly thank people in our community who might normally go un-thanked or unnoticed by the community as a whole. The awards were created to HONOR these important contributors to our community that we want to keep around for a long time to come.
2) To kick off L.A. Leather Week with a formal leather send-off, where traditional leatherfolk could come and feel that it was an event for them; and to provide reflection on the past fifty (plus) years of Leather traditions. They accomplished this with the inclusion of a traditional Color Guard, singing of the National Anthem, and the creation of a “Boots, collar and Cover Ceremony,” to honor those who have gone before us.
After the concept was laid out, Robert Blackmon stepped away from the project and Dan O’Leary took his place. It took over two years from concept to the actual event. Arnwolt and O’Leary presented the original idea to the Los Angeles Leather Coalition (Los Angeles Leather Pride producer) in 2001 and came back with the details in 2003. The LALC soon after began the nomination process.
Nominations and Voting
Nominations and winner selections come from the leaders of the leather organizations and businesses that made up the LALC. The members would nominate those unsung heroes within our community who work unselfishly, are always of service, are first to volunteer, and for these efforts deserve some public recognition.
The First Southland Honors
Held in 2004, the first Southland Honors kicked off LA Leather Week and was produced by Kevin Casey. It was held at the One Institute at USC, which also included an exhibit of Los Angeles Leather history. The keynote speech was given by the late Kent Arnwolt.
Nominees are notified to be in attendance at the event. The winner of each category is named and called to the stage. A short description of why they won the award is then read. The winner is then given a few moments to speak. One of the most coveted awards is the George Wong person of the Year award.