The Leather Almanac – The Legend: Sandy “Mama” Reinhardt [Edit]
By Cory David, Mr. Eagle Wilton Manors 2020 / 2021
With the holiday season upon us, I’d like to showcase Sandy “Mama” Reinhardt. A pillar of the LGBTQ+ and leather community for decades, she is an activist, philanthropic, and community leader; she’s always giving to others.
Mama’s family was created over cocktails at Phoenix, a bar in the Castro. Robert Sastini and Ernestine, a popular drag persona, were the first to call her Mama. There a movement was unleashed and a legacy began.
Mama said getting involved with the LGBTQ+ and leather community was the best thing she ever did. The love, caring, and understanding community embraced her. Her first memory of the leather community was being liked, accepted, and dancing on the dance floor. In her words, “Those were the good ol’ days.”
I asked Mama where she got her drive and passion. “From the people and the LGBTQ+ community,” she quickly answered. “Some were afraid at that time because I was a straight woman and not lesbian,” taking a moment as she wipes tears from her eyes, not from pain. “The tears are from my heart. I never thought my life would be so fulfilling.”
Her philanthropic mission was influenced by the many losses during the AIDS epidemic, especially Teddy, as Mama explained. Losing him was the worst day of her life. She remembers his final day and laying in bed with him. Mama stayed by the bedside for her baby boy. “Ok, Mama, be safe and come back,” was the last thing he said before passing the next morning.
That’s when her work began. Mama focused on raising lots of money for AIDS. She quickly learned the corporate route and followed the money trail to benefit her cause. Years later, she also started raising money for breast cancer, holding large events and fundraisers for clients with AIDS and cancer. For her, that’s when Mama’s family turned a corner, becoming something really amazing, and making a difference for those fighting these diseases.
“Do it from the heart, with manners and respect,” is her mission and platform. Someone displaying these attributes and giving back to the community put them in Mama’s radar for the distinguished pinning.
The phrase “they should be Mama’s” became synonymous with those showing these outstanding attributes, identified by a family member. A name would be agreed to, and presented in a pinning ceremony. Mama’s family has grown to almost 3,000 members strong with over 200 members that include the distinction of title holders, politicians, famous writers, and the best groups of the leather and fetish LGBTQ+ community.
I was curious if Mama ever had a pinning that had a lasting memorable experience. She did. She pinned a gentleman that was very good to her over the years. A year later he was sick and died from AIDS. His final words before he passed, eloquent in their simplicity, remained etched in her memory, “I am sorry, Mama.” Tears shed from Mama and myself.
Mama has received international recognition in titles, awards, and honors of distinction for her work. Her philanthropic leadership has influenced our community to always drive forward, never give up, and demand a better world. Mama has judged well over 150 leather competitions, including the inaugural Mr. Eagle Wilton Manors 2020, where I finally had the honor of meeting the legend herself; I was inspired. Mama’s love, passion, and joy of life, shines deep from her energetic spirit.
On night one, as a contestant, and with points to capture from raffle ticket sales, I made my way to Mama, tickets and a Jägermeister shot in hand, and only my baby blues and passion of our community to share. She greeted me with a hug and said, “Thank you, honey Cory. Now let Mama get another shot for you.” I responded, “No drinking; rules.” She made it clear, saying, “Get Cory a shot. I am a judge and I want him to have a shot with me!” Well, I fell hard in love with Mama after that. Who wouldn’t? Later, in Mama’s absence, I had the honor of pinning a friend this early spring at Eagle Wilton Manors; it will be one of my cherished memories during my title.
I asked Mama two last questions, first being, “How do you see your legacy?” She simply put, “I don’t like to brag on myself, but it would be. I was there, I got involved, and I helped the best I could.” I followed by asking, “What is something the community may not know about you? Something you would like to share?” Mama said, “How much I love them! They are my world!” Wow, beautiful! I think we all do know how much she loves us!
This experience with Mama was an amazing experience for me. We have shared many messages, emails, and texts back and forth. She is who her actions reflect her to be. I have had the privilege to meet a few people in my life that have a kindness, love, and passion for people like Mama. I am grateful, feel loved, and blessed to call Mama my friend, and I am “Mama’s Eagle’s Wings.” I love you Mama. Readers that know, must I say, “Mine. Mine. Mine. I don’t like to share my Sandy Mama!”
Mama’s passion for her community is evident when you meet her. Through individual fundraising and volunteerism, Mama’s family has been a part of raising over $2M annually. They’ve helped over 300 organizations with proceeds for their causes.
Toys for Tots is a holiday passion for her, but this pandemic year has depleted not-for-profit funding. Please, let’s bring some joy to the children and assist Sandy Mama and her holiday charity.
“What can I do?” you might ask. If you are able, a $25+ Target gift card would go a long way!
I have a donation box in the Eagle Wilton Manors store, or you can mail to:
Eagle Wilton Manors
Attn: Mr. Eagle Cory David
2209 Wilton Drive
Wilton Manors, FL 33305
Collection date is December 18, 2020 at the latest, so I can get the entire package mailed to her. Call me for any questions or to pick up local donations at (954) 873-4339.
Sandy Mama’s statement:
“In leather, we are family. No one can do everything. Still everyone can do something. Together, we can do anything!”