Sir, yes, sir!

Gear­ing up for At­lanta Leather Pride.

GA Voice - - Front Page - By DYANA BAGBY

Get your gear and get ready for At­lanta Leather Pride, the an­nual week­end fest that cel­e­brates all thing leather—and this year, all things rub­ber.

Fetish wear, har­nesses, chaps, chains, and whips are all wel­come at the At­lanta Ea­gle the week­end of April 10-12 as leather and gear en­thu­si­asts and their ad­mir­ers strap on their uni­forms for a week­end of fun and ca­ma­raderie.

The top event of the week­end is the Satur­day night Mr. and Ms. At­lanta Ea­gle con­test. Also, new this year to At­lanta Leather Pride week­end, is the con­test for Mr. Southeast Rub­ber.

“This is the first year for Mr. Southeast Rub­ber to be part of the event. Mr. Southeast Rub­ber has been around for many years, but we are re­ally ex­cited about bring­ing it to this week­end,” says Nitro Hank­in­son, In­ter­na­tional Leather­boy 2011 and an or­ga­nizer of At­lanta Leather Pride with Sir Alan Pen­rod, In­ter­na­tional Leather Sir 2011, and G-Man, Mr. In­ter­na­tional Rub­ber 2011.

“We’re re­ally ex­cited about bring­ing Mr. Southeast Rub­ber to the event. It brings a whole other part of the com­mu­nity in and why not bring ev­ery­one to­gether,” Hank­in­son says.

Ap­pli­ca­tions for the com­pe­ti­tions will be taken un­til 5 p.m. on April 11, the night of the com­pe­ti­tion.

Hand­ing over the sash to the new ti­tle­holder will be Mr. At­lanta Ea­gle for 2014, John “JP” Pa­que­tte. No Ms. At­lanta Ea­gle was crowned last year and or­ga­niz­ers are hop­ing for com­pe­ti­tion in this cat­e­gory this year.

Judg­ing cri­te­ria

There will be the same cri­te­ria for each of the ti­tles: contestants will be asked to com­pete in three cat­e­gories:

• Bar Wear. Contestants will be judged on how com­fort­able they look in an out­fit they would wear out on a night at the bar.

• Fetish Wear. This is a very broad cat­e­gory, says Hank­in­son, leav­ing the contestants to de­fine fetish wear as they want.

• Play Gear. This is also open to what the contestants want to de­fine, but does show gear that they like to “play” in. As part of this cat­e­gory, contestants will have to pick a grab bag filled with sur­prise items that then they will have to use to cre­ate a brief, im­promptu play scene.

“This is my fa­vorite cat­e­gory and al­lows contestants to show hu­mor and spon­tane­ity,” he says.

Week­end benefits fund to help hear­ing im­paired

The roots of the leather com­mu­nity be­gan in re­sponse to the AIDS cri­sis strik­ing the na­tion in the 1980s. Leather­men and women came to­gether to throw fundrais­ers to help those in need and to help or­ga­niza- tions serv­ing their friends who were dy­ing.

That tra­di­tion con­tin­ues to­day and this year’s At­lanta Leather Pride will be rais­ing funds for the Sharon St. Cyr Fund, or the SSC Fund.

This fund benefits peo­ple in the leather com­mu­nity who are hear­ing im­paired, Hank­in­son says.

“There are quite a num­ber of peo­ple who are hear­ing im­paired within the At­lanta leather com­mu­nity. This fund helps those who need help to pay for hear­ing aids. And for event pro­duc­ers, the fund pro­vides grants to Amer­i­can Sign Lan­guage in­ter­preters at an event, he says.

“This is a great or­ga­ni­za­tion with very low over­head and we have been for­tu­nate enough to re­ceive grants for ASL in­ter­preters at our events so this is our way of giv­ing back,” he adds.

Close-knit com­mu­nity

This year marks the 28th an­niver­sary of the At­lanta Ea­gle and the sixth an­niver­sary of At­lanta Leather Pride.

Be­fore the ti­tle com­pe­ti­tions on Satur­day, there will be a meet-and-greet on Fri­day as well as some BDSM demos to “get the blood flow­ing,” says Hank­in­son.

On Sun­day, all those who want to will gather at Roxx on Cheshire Bridge Road for a fam­ily brunch.

“The leather com­mu­nity is typ­i­cally a very close-knit com­mu­nity. That’s not to say we are ex­clu­sion­ary be­cause we al­ways wel­come new peo­ple,” Hank­in­son says.

“But we are very much a fam­ily. I’m closer to many peo­ple in the leather com­mu­nity than I am to my own blood fam­ily.”

Any friend­ship is what you make of it, he adds, and trav­el­ing the world as part of the leather com­mu­nity has helped him de­velop an ex­cel­lent sup­port struc­ture of oth­ers who are mem­bers of the leather com­mu­nity.

“Ev­ery com­mu­nity has its own dif­fer­ent fla­vors, so to be part of bring­ing that to­gether is great. I speak for Sir Alan and G-Man when I say we do what we do to give back. We want peo­ple to be proud of our city and proud of our com­mu­nity.”

At­lanta Leather Pride week­end in­cludes con­tests to name a new Mr. At­lanta Ea­gle. There will also be com­pe­ti­tions for Ms. At­lanta Ea­gle and Mr. Southeast Rub­ber. (File photo)

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