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.

Alex ‘Bear’ Conley: Where did you grow up?

Kristine Raye: On a horse ranch in Montana, then moved overnight to Hillside, New Jersey, in eighth grade.

Who is your favorite heroine?

My hero is my ma. She is my ex’s mother but she was my mom, and took care of me throughout my college years, my marital years, and after. Her love, unwavering support, and acceptance of me has been my rock. She had a bad stroke and lives in a nursing home now. She is bed-ridden and she doesn’t always remember people, but she always remembers me.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee for the most part, but I do like southern sweet tea a lot

Star Wars or Star Trek or neither?

Star Wars. I love the storylines and the way it is become multigenerational. But part of it is I always smile when I see/hear the words “star wars” because when my son was young and loved all things Star Wars, he would say “star whores” instead of “star wars” and “lez-beings” instead of “laser beams.” It was quite amusing to see Star Wars laser beams things at Target and hear him raise his voice in sheer delight, “Look, Mommy! Star Whores Lez-beings!”

What is the accomplishment that has made you the proudest not involving leather?

Outside of leather my greatest accomplishment was changing my stars when I took my first steps with my titanium ankle. I had a bone disease and I lived on and off in a wheelchair for 14 years. I had many surgeries and had given up hope. I had an opportunity to have my ankle replaced. As I recovered, a great fear set in that it would not work, and that I would not be able to walk. Terrified, I took my first step … and then the next step … and here I am still walking.

What is your favorite kind of boots?

Boots are a hard thing for me to wear because of my titanium ankle, and I covet many pairs but have very few that I can wear. My Harley boots with a corseted back and zip-up sides that my beloved soulshine Bootblack Ed got me for my birthday a few years ago are my heart boots.

What would you like to accomplish in the next five years?

I want to get my masters in public heath, make effective strides in my advocacy-work goals,, obtain my art-of-erotic-dancing instructor certification, have my allergies under control so I can do a ten-day hike on the Appalachian trail, have a plan for my next titanium ankle in place, and be on the edge of moving to the West Coast.

What is a pet peeve that you have that you wish you didn’t have?

It sounds silly, but crumbs in the bed. I can be obsessively Princess in the Pea-like when there is even one crumb under me. It can way distract me and make me stop everything… even sex.