This coming weekend, the Washington State Leather Organization (WSLO) celebrates its 40th Leather and Bootblack contest! 2023 also marks the addition of WSLO’s first gender-neutral Mx. title. Further adding to the excitement of this new leather title, the milestone anniversary – and the fact that this contest will be the first since 2019 – brings a full week of leather/fetish/kink events designed to bring the community together.
As a member of the WSLO board, in addition to serving SLSC, I am excited to spend the week celebrating a post-COVID milestone. Below is our guide to what’s happening during Leather Pride Week. We look forward to the community coming together again for this year’s contest, and we hope to see you at some or all of these events!
Also: First time at a contest weekend? Check out Brian “Bolt” Donner’s “10 Things To Know Before Going to Your First Leather Event.”
Saturday, March 18, 11:00a – 1:30p
Where: Seattle Public Library, Capitol Hill Branch
What it is: The first meeting of SLSC’s book club for kinksters. Info and RSVP at the link above.
Who it is for: Kinksters and leatherfolx who want to meet and engage in meaningful discussion with their peers on relevant community topics. This one is a great choice if you want to connect with people outside of the usual apps and bars.
What to expect: Expect to meet other kinky readers who enjoy a brainier take on leather and fetish as you have a collaborative discussion on the book Unsafe Words: Queering Consent in the #MeToo Era by Shantel Gabrieal Buggs and Trevor Hoppe. Note that this is NOT an official program of the Seattle Public Library.
Sunday, March 19, 3 – 4:30p
Where: Capitol Hill, address given upon registration.
What it is: A workshop and discussion-based class led by transmasculine leatherman Hawk and his genderqueer sub, Boy Andrew, covering the basics of trans male identity and how to be a good ally and playmate. See link for info and registration.
Who it is for: People who want to date and/or play with trans men, and who want to make sure they do it right. Cisgender people are especially encouraged to attend this class, but all gender identities are welcome.
What to expect: A safe space for all your questions – even those that may be uncomfortable or “not politically correct.” You’ll leave the class knowing how to be a better ally and play partner to trans men.
Hawk and Boy Andrew will share some of their gender journey and invite you to bring your queries and stories to share, as well.
Tuesday, March 21, 6 – 9p
Where: Wildrose, 1021 E Pike St, Seattle 98122
What it is: A leather “bar invasion” of Wildrose, the West Coast’s longest-established lesbian bar. No RSVP required.
Who it is for: Kinksters who like tacos, especially queer women (though all are welcome and encouraged to attend!)
What to expect: Expect to meet and socialize with other kinksters and leather enthusiasts over tacos, with specials on Tecate and Bud Light Lime.
Wednesday, March 22, 6:30 – 8p
What it is: The first in a two-part series on body play by Miss Beca (she/her), this class introduces proper techniques for massage. See link for info and registration.
Who it is for: Submissives who want to give a better massage to their dominants, dominants who want to reward their submissives with massage, or anyone who wants to make massage part of their play repertoire.
What to expect: A room full of interested kinksters learning the do’s and don’t’s of massage from Miss Beca, who is a licensed massage therapist focused on deep tissue and sports medicine.
This class demonstrates massage as an interpersonal connection through service and relaxation. She will demo on her (in our opinion, very lucky) bottom, Angie, and there will be massage tables available for you to practice what you learn.
Thursday, March 23, 7 – 10p
Where: Diesel, 1413 14th Ave, Seattle 98122
What it is: SLSC invites leatherfolx and kinksters to Diesel, Seattle’s bear bar, for drinks, food, and connection. Info at the link, no RSVP required.
Who it is for: All community folx are encouraged to attend. Also, if you’d like to meet those of us involved with SLSC and learn more about our organization, this is a great place to chat with us!
What to expect: Strong drinks, fried everything, music, and lots of queer fetishists and kinksters in and out of gear (there is no dress code requirement). Kick off the contest weekend right!
Friday, March 24, 7 – 10p
Where: CC Attle’s, 1701 E Olive Way, Seattle 98102
What it is: The opening event for the Washington State Mr./Ms./Mx. Leather and Bootblack contests. More info at the link.
Who it is for: People planning on attending Saturday’s contest or who just want to meet the contestants and current/past titleholders.
What to expect: Expect friendly bar staff slinging drinks to contest organizers, judges, contestants, past and current WSLO titleholders, locals, and people visiting — and, I hope, you too!
The current WSLO titleholders will “step down” at this event, which usually means a heartfelt speech about their year holding the title. Mingle with this year’s contestants and figure out who you want to cheer for on Saturday.
Saturday, March 25, 5 – 9p
Where: The Comeback, 1950 1st Ave S, Seattle 98134
What it is: The annual contest determining who gets to represent Washington State as Mr., Ms., or Mx. Leather and which local bootblack will reign supreme in 2023! This year also marks the contest’s debut at The Comeback. More info at the link.
Who it is for: Everyone in the local queer leather/kink/fetish community.
What to expect: A large and diverse crowd representing all parts of the local Seattle and greater Washington leather community gathered together in their “formal leathers” or best gear to celebrate and cheer on their favorite contestants running for a WSLO title.
The contest has several parts, including a Q&A section where contestants are posed serious and not-so-serious questions, a Washington look section where contestants get to express creativity in their state pride, and a speech section for contestants to voice what’s important to them.
Sunday, March 26, 11:30a brunch, Noon – 3p awards
Where: CC Attle’s, 1701 E Olive Way, Seattle, WA 98102
What it is: A brunch celebrating the winners of Saturday’s title contests and awards ceremonies by WSLO and other community organizations honoring those doing work for the community, often behind the scenes. Brunch is $15 and limited to the first 100 through the door, but if you’re not eating, you’ll still get in. More info at the link.
Who it is for: Let’s be honest; this is for people who aren’t hung over from Saturday or are otherwise obligated to go. But you’re welcome to join them, especially if you want to see the “who’s who” of local leather organizing.
What to expect: Expect to celebrate the perhaps sleepy – but certainly satisfied – winners, alongside the other contestants, judges, organizers, and local community members.
The Leather Emerald Awards are presented by WSLO, and additional community awards are presented by the Knights of Mantra, Seattle girls of Leather, and other leather community groups.
They will also add names to the Leather Memorial Plaque, currently at Doghouse Leather, which pays tribute to those who have gone before.