Since 1991, COMMAND, MC, has produced the Mr. Maryland Leather Contest each November. Last November the Baltimore-based leather club made a decision to open the contest to all genders and sashed Finn Michael Coy-Gresavage as Mx Maryland Leather 2023. It has been a busy year for Finn. I was able to sit down with them right before Finn left for Austin Kink Weekend in Austin, Texas.
Growing up in rural Nanjemoy, Maryland, taught Finn about community and how people help each other in times of need. When Finn’s mother passed from cancer in 2016, a man who often hiked on their property mowed their three-acre lawn. Involvement in creative arts and theater, introduced Finn to members of the LGBTQ+ community. When Finn was 14, they came out as bi-sexual and was supported by their mother, who was a psychology professor. By 2019 Finn defined their sexual identity as non-binary and began transitioning.
The love of leather began at an early age. Finn was taught how to shine shoes at age seven and was fascinated by leather. When Finn learned about the leather community from a class in college, Finn imagined that the leather community was something that could only be found in places like San Francisco and was mostly something for cisgender men. Did it exist in Maryland? More importantly, was there a place in the leather community for someone like Finn? Then Finn discovered that Jack Thompson, a trans man, had not only been selected International Mr. Leather 2019, but resided in Baltimore.
At leather weekend at The Woods Campground in nearby Pennsylvania, Finn was asked by Ms Woods Leather 2013 Daddy Kim to compete in the Mr. Woods Leather Contest. Finn had no idea how to compete in a leather contest, but was delighted to be selected first runner-up. Finn was approached by Mr. Daddy’s Barbershop Leather 2017 Geoffrey Millard, husband of Jack Thompson and was informed that the Mr. Maryland Leather contest was changing to remove gender. Geoffrey encouraged Finn to enter and they were awarded the title.
It has been a very busy year for Finn, with countless events and many opportunities to teach and give demos. Finn has also helped raise lots of money for local charities including $1,250 for SMYAL and participated in a livestream online 30-hour marathon that raised 2.1 million for trans health care. Finn has also worked with FreeState Justice to help change bills that affect the LGBTQ+ community. Finn adds, “Queerness is inherently political.” Attending their first Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend in DC in January was another big highlight. Finn added, “It was a massive sensory overload being around so many people with a shared passion for leather and was amazing learning that MAL is also a fabulous fundraiser that raised over six figures again this year!” Finn also loves to teach and says that many skills were self-taught. Finn felt that coming into the leather community, one should have something to offer. I had to ask about electrical play after having seen Finn’s outstanding demo at the recent Pennsmen’s run in Harrisburg. Finn explained that while working and training as a skin care specialist, they were exposed to a high frequency wand. A friend once saw the wand in a skin care kit and remarked, “You know that’s a kink thing?”
Finn is also trained in impact play, floggers, whips, cigar play, social dynamics, and more. If that isn’t well rounded enough, after seeing a very bigoted minister online, Finn became an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church and made TikTok videos called “Sunday Service” to help people with religious trauma and has performed “unbaptisms.” Yes, Finn can tie knots or help you tie the knot.
Finn is one hardworking leather titleholder and May will be an extra busy month. May will include judging the Mr. Mayhem Leather 2023 / Mr. Mayhem Leather Bear 2023 Contest in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on May 4th to 7th and then off to Chicago over the Memorial Day Weekend to represent Maryland in the huge International Mr. Leather 2023 Contest.
I asked Finn what they were doing to prepare for IML. It can be an overwhelming experience to hit the stage in the world’s largest leather contest. Finn has been learning from their many leather titleholder friends in the Baltimore area, even getting a group together to do mock interviews and working on their speech. Although the speech is still a work in progress, Finn says in will center around their motto of “Live like leather, shine together.”
Being a leather titleholder has been a dream come true for Finn. They would advise others to not worry if there is a place for them in the leather community. Attend events. “Jump in, because there is a place for everyone.”
If you want to wish Finn well at IML, stop by Leon’s bar in Baltimore on Saturday, May 20th starting at 9:00 p.m. for Finn’s IML sendoff. Finn plans to do some demos. Don’t be shocked if you learn something!
- 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.