Atlantic States Shines Again

Kristopher Davis – from Washington, DC, and a member of the DC boys of Leather club – was named Atlantic States Leatherboy 2019, and Ryder Tidwell from Silver Spring, Maryland, who has only been bootblacking for a year, was named Atlantic States Leather Community Bootblack 2019 during Atlantic States Leather Weekend held September 28th and 29th at Grand Central nightclub in Baltimore. There were no additional contestants and no contestants for the title of Atlantic States LeatherSIR 2019. I guess that explains why our city is sometimes called “Bottom-more” or why Sir Steve has a sign in our front yard […]

Repaying a Role Model

I’ve interviewed a lot of leather titleholders in this column. Some were inspiring role models who went on to do wonderful things in their community during their title year. Others were just nice people who wore a sash. It is important to note that a leather title does not make one a role model and not all role models have a sash. The older I get the more I find myself looking back over my life. It’s funny the things we remember. I’m not talking about major events like special birthdays or family funerals – we’re always going to remember […]

Dr. Carla Alexander Director of Clinical Affairs, 1987-1997

For Dr. Carla Alexander, the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic weren’t just a battle—they were a war.  After serving as a volunteer provider at Chase Brexton Health Care for several years, Alexander led Chase Brexton’s clinicians from 1987 to 1997, at the height of the epidemic. “I just saw a nurse from San Francisco the other day, and she said, ‘We lived through a war,’” Alexander said. “And it was much more like being in a war. Only the war wasn’t acceptable to anybody. Because all the people who were coming to the clinic were being blamed for the […]

What’s Going On?

As the seasons change I want to keep you informed of some of the venue changes for upcoming leather events. There are also a few new gatherings on the calendar that you will want to check out. In the leather community there is always something going on. Events scheduled at the temporarily closed Baltimore Eagle have been forced to select another location. Next up is the Atlantic States Leather Weekend scheduled for September 28th and 29th which has been relocated to Grand Central. This regional leather gathering which includes the third annual Atlantic State LeatherSIR / boy / and Community […]

Dr. Bernie Branson Shares Stories of Chase Brexton’s Early Days, Establishment of HERO

Sitting in a bar on St. Patrick’s Day in the mid-1980s, Dr. Bernie Branson had a choice to make.  From 1978 to 1982, Branson served as the first medical director of the gay men’s venereal disease clinic that would grow and evolve into Chase Brexton Health Care, before entering private practice. But as HIV and AIDS took hold in Baltimore’s LGBT community, Branson and providers across the city had to decide whether to continue to provide care to those affected. With so little understood about the disease, many straight health care providers refused to provide care—or sometimes, even simple respect—to […]

A Perfect Ten

Julie “Jewel” Vanderlee from Bloomfield, New Jersey, was selected Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman 2019 during the 10th annual MAL-W / Bootblack Contest held in Baltimore over the weekend of August 24th and 25th. Jewel who is employed by Lambda Legal is a BDSM / kink educator and a well-known producer of pansexual play parties. Runner-up for MAL-W 2019 and the recipient of the Connie Cox Spirit Award was Clo from Baltimore. In an interesting twist of events Amy D. Phillips, who was also stepping down after a very successful year as Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman 2018 was selected as Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman […]

Poetry as Sculpture: Wordsmith Stephen Zerance

American novelist and poet Erica Jong once said, “Everyone has talent. What’s rare is the courage to follow it to the dark places where it leads.” Baltimore-based poet Stephen Zerance embodies this courageous talent in its raw form. Zerance’s recent book Safe Danger (available on Amazon), is the author’s first collection of poetry released by Indolent Books. His skillfully-crafted poetry flawlessly evokes readers’ emotions. Baltimore OUTloud recently chatted with Zerance about his recent publication, his attachment to Baltimore, and the inspiration behind many of his current works. “I was inspired to write a lot of this book by the way […]

Chase Brexton’s Dr. Sam Westrick Recalls Battling the Early Stages of the AIDS Epidemic in Baltimore

When he heard about a medical clinic across town which served the health needs of the LGBT community in the early 1980s, Sam Westrick thought he could make a difference. Westrick, then a resident at Franklin Square Medical Center, picked up the phone to volunteer at the clinic, beginning a nearly decade-long association with the organization which put the young doctor front and center for the terrifying early days of the AIDS epidemic in Baltimore. Westrick began volunteering at the clinic in 1981, when it operated two nights per week and saw approximately 30 patients a night. He became the […]

A Royal Repartee… with Baltimore’s 2018 King of Pride

Baltimore’s 2018 King of Pride, Chris Jay, has ascended from humble beginnings to promote LGBTQ awareness and inclusivity. They (Jay’s preferred pronoun) recently chatted with Baltimore OUTloud to discuss how photography became a passion, their current reign as King of Pride 2018, and their new project The Queerbook: The Queer Performers Yearbook. “I would describe my current reign as King of Pride 2018 as eye-opening,” Jay began. “It’s been exactly a year since I was named King of Pride 2018. The way that I’ve been able to connect to Baltimore is unlike any way that a person can connect to […]

What I Think

I’ve been writing this column since 2005. At that time no one in this area was writing a column about the leather community. Events were not being documented, leather titleholders were not being interviewed, and upcoming leather events were not being promoted. I’ve always tried to keep my columns positive and upbeat. I want to build our community not tear it down. (There are plenty of other others who would like to do that.) I discovered the leather community in 1984 at The Gallery when I first moved to Baltimore and have been a member of a leather club for […]