Mid-Atlantic Mondays

Mid-Atlantic Mondays

by Alex ‘Bear’ Conley

Friday, September 15, 2017

Meet Debbie Jones

Debbie Jones, a Virginia resident, gives seemingly tirelessly. I’ve seen this person at more events than I can count in many, many capacities. The work I see her do the most is as an American Sign Language interpreter, helping provide accessibility for deaf individuals for all kinds of events, including classes and contests. She dances on stage and brings an energy that fills the room. Sometimes my eyes sneak away from the performers to check out what she’s doing. Inevitably many an MC will make her sign dirty words and do everything in their power to make her blush. It’s a show all its own and it’s glorious. She also puts in many hours during 101s and other classes, teaching and making sure people are well taken care of and learning many kinds of kink from a patient, welcoming instructor. She’s a true inspiration and asset to our communities.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Meet Kristine Raye

When I was first getting to know Kristine Raye, a New Jersey resident, I found out her platform running for Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman was for people to love themselves. I thought that was so damn cool for a title platform as it’s so simple yet so deep. I also knew she stood for bisexual visibility. That’s not at an easy road to traverse with so many biases in leather and greater society about bisexual folks, but I never saw her back down or falter from this message. She was one of the people who helped found one of the first Team Friendly chapters. She speaks openly about mental health, including her experiences living with dissociative identity disorder. She loves her family fiercely and will champion her partner, J, and children as often as possible.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Meet Jewel Vanderlee

I met Jewel Vanderlee of Bloomfield, New Jersey, not long ago and it quickly became evident she’s a force to be reckoned with. She helped inject new life into the International Ms. Leather / International Ms. Bootblack Weekend as she headed the social media department. The excitement for the event was at a fever pitch this year and the environment she helped to create online deserves a great deal of credit for that. On the East Coast front, she throws play parties, works for Lambda Legal, and is unapologetically fierce, femme, and proud, and will unflinchingly use her voice when she feels strongly about an issue.

Jessica Fidget a Jersey girl who now lives in rural Pennsylvania. She is a fierce advocate, a whirlwind, and a promoter of sexy, raunchy, unforgettably good times. Amongst other things, she helped to create the Sexuality Space at Sisterspace (a women’s-only weekend in Maryland), fostered a feeling of safety and belonging for people in recovery in the leather community through speaking openly about her own recovery, as well making recovery meetings more accessible, and has instigated the spreading of Drummer North America as far and wide as possible through encouragement and engagement in #DNAnigans across the country and the #womenofdrummer movement.

For decades, New Yorker Cheryl Stewart has been working to make the leather community what it is today. A long-time Lesbian Sex Mafia member, Steward has, through ups and downs and thick and thin, helped weave the fabric that binds us and supports us. Without her efforts, I wouldn’t be writing Mid-Atlantic Mondays or wearing the sash I wear. Thank you, Cheryl, for your blood, sweat, tears, and willingness to weather the storms and create space for all of us time and again!

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