A few months ago, when everything started to close and leather events were being canceled or postponed for months, I titled my column: “Where Do We Go from Here?” It is now early September and we are still waiting for the coronavirus to “magically disappear.” Major events that were postponed are now having to rethink their decision. Cleveland Leather Awareness Weekend (CLAW) traditionally held in April was rescheduled for November. CLAW now will not happen in November and will be held April 20th – 25th, 2021. The Westin and Hampton hotels are offering full refunds and event package holders may request a refund or use their package for April. CLAW is all about educational seminars and the last few months have be all about online education.  A 6th group of online domos and educational sessions has been scheduled for October 2nd – October 4th. Visit virtualclaw.org for all the details.

Every November I look forward to the Mr. Maryland Leather Contest and the Mr. and Ms. DC Eagle Contest. The Mr. Maryland Leather Contest produced by COMMAND, MC was going to evolve this year into the Maryland Leather Person Contest to be more gender inclusive. The contest is part of Maryland Leather Weekend which was traditionally held the first weekend of November. It has been cancelled for this year. November will also not be bringing the Mr. and Ms. DC Eagle Contest. The title of Mr. DC Eagle started in 1982 and was the longest continuous running leather title in the leather community. Sadly, that run is over. The DC Eagle bar has closed after 49 years with no plans to reopen or relocate.  

Where are we now? Online mostly. Several current leather titleholders and leather clubs have had success with online virtual events.  Almost all leather clubs are still having monthly meetings, but online via Zoom.  If you hurry you can still catch the online auction of leather gear, toys, and erotic art to benefit the Leather Archives & Museum. There are 54 items up for bid, but the auction ends September 13th. Look for Leather Archives & Museum Silent Auction on Facebook or go to 32auctions.com.                                                                                                          By now the ShipMates Club would have hosted their annual cookout to kick off their ShipMates Daddy Christmas fundraiser. This year’s charity is the BHT Foundation. The cookout is usually held in July and is called “Ho Ho in the Heat.” As Baltimore City continues to allow businesses to slowly reopen, the ShipMates hope to hold their cookout in October. Details are coming soon. For now, there is a small silent auction online at 32auctions.com under ShipMates Daddy Xmas Benefit for BHT Foundation (or check the Baltimore ShipMates’ Facebook page.) Daddy Christmas is still scheduled for December 5th at the Baltimore Eagle. Let’s hope the world is a little better by then. 

On Thursday, September 17th from 7 pm – 8:30 pm join BDSM & The Law. This is an online panel discussion regarding the legal status of kink. Join founder and spokesperson for the National Coalition of Sexual Freedom Susan Wright, founding attorney of the Austin Law Group Alex Austin, retire police captain Randy Kirton, and owner of Wicked Ground Miriam (Mir) Green for what is sure to be a very interesting discussion. Look for BDSM & The Law on Facebook for the Zoom link and to RSVP.  

On September 25th – 26th the 2020 Women of Drummer Contest will happen online. There will be a Friday afternoon meet and greet, a Friday night play competition and a Friday night naked queer dance party. On Saturday there will be the contest final round followed by more play, workshops, speed dating, games, entertainment and more. For the leather community the challenges of life in 2020 have been all about making it work. The Women of Drummer are making it work!  Go to #womenofdrummer2020 on Facebook for more information or visit womenofdrummer.com.

The leather community has not gone away. We may be mostly online at this point, but we are still here. Where are we now? We are staying safe, but we are looking forward to seeing you out and about soon!

Author Profile

Rodney Burger
Rodney Burger
Rodney is originally from Hagerstown, Maryland and for many years has lived in Baltimore. In April 2017, Rodney was sworn in for his 10th year as the President of the ShipMates Club of Baltimore. He has been involved in the leather community for many years, but often denies that he sold Jell-O shots at The Last Supper. He has been writing THE LEATHER LINE for the BALTIMORE OUTLOUD newspaper (Baltimoreoutloud.com.) for over fourteen years. He has produced the Mr. & Ms. Baltimore Eagle Contest and the Maryland LeatherSIR/Leatherboy Contest. In 2001 he was proud to serve as Maryland Mr. Drummer 2001. Rodney also does stand-up comedy and in 2013 was thrilled to perform at Philadelphia Leather Pride Night. He has been nominated multiple times for a Pantheon of Leather Award, was selected Leather Man of the Year in 2013 by COMMAND M.C. and by the Baltimore Leather Association of the Deaf in 2006. The 11th annual 12 Days of Christmas benefit show was dedicated to Rodney and his partner Sir Steve. He has been twice selected as ShipMate of the Year. He has judged Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2015, Atlantic States LeatherSIR / Leatherboy and recently judged Mr. Eagle NYC 2018. He is delighted to be able to bring news of his beloved leather community to his readers every issue.

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