The 20 finalists had to write and deliver a 90 second speech as part of the 2003 "International Mr Leather" contest.
A few people have asked for a transcript of what I said, so here it is:

Colour photo of John giving his speech at the International Mr Leather Contest, taken May 2003
Photo credit: Dave Harris
Before I realised I was gay I spent seven years in a fundamentalist religion.
Do you think I should send them a video of this contest?!

Although that was a long time ago, I'm still amazed at the similarities between organised religion and our leather community:

  • We like to meet up on a weekly basis
  • There is fellowship between members
  • Some parts of our community have choirs
  • And a large number of you enjoy spending time on your knees

Unfortunately the similarities don't end there.

Just like organised religion our community suffers from major disagreements, for example:

The reasons for these disagreements are the same:

We are broad communities and do not choose the background of our members.

The solution is to remember that WHAT UNITES US IS FAR GREATER THAN WHAT DIVIDES US.

So treat one another with respect.


And whatever your values: live up to the clothes you're wearing.

Thank you.

A year later I returned to Chicago to deliver a step-down speech. You can read the transcript here.

Copyright © John Pendal 2003. All Rights Reserved.
You are welcome to link to this page but text must not be reprinted without permission from the author.

To my home page To the full index To the next column