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The Leather History Timeline

2015 and Later

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Ambrosio archives historical documents

The Leather Archives and Museum stopped updating the Leather History Timeline on their website in 2014. All entries after 2014 are additions by other contributors.

Time Event
2015 Patrick Smith --- Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2015 --- from Los Angeles, California wins the IML 2015 title.

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2015 According to the LGBTQ History Timeline Reference - GLSEN: Cincinnati votes to ban reparative/conversion therapy of LGBTQ youth.

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2015 According to the LGBTQ History Timeline Reference - GLSEN:

MTV’s critically acclaimed series True Life airs an episode covering the topic of living and being genderqueer, bringing to light for many viewers at home (beyond the introduction to the world outside of the gender binary) how to properly use the singular “they” and other neopronouns.

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2015 According to the LGBTQ History Timeline Reference - GLSEN:

Inspired by Black Lives Matter, students at the University of Missouri began the #ConcernedStudent1950 movement in response to racism, sexism, and other issues in the administration. The movement was led by queer-identified black students, such as student body president Payton Head.

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2015 According to the LGBTQ History Timeline Reference - GLSEN:

The US Department of Health and Human Services issues an official revision that shortens the deferral period for blood donation from men who have sex with men. In addition to shortening the deferral period from a life ban to 12 months, the new revision includes the statement that for the purposes of questioning, gender should be considered on a “self-identified and self-reported” basis.

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2015 Release of the short film Diner Noir Istanbul. The screenplay is by Catherine Robbe-Grillet, the author of The Image.

2015 Release of the film adaptation of the loathsomely bad novel Fifty Shades of Gray. The filmmakers made a heroic effort to produce a mildly entertaining professional film despite the awful source material. The selection of songs in the soundtrack deserves special praise.

SEE ALSO: Philomena Cunk and Barry Shitpeas on 50 Shades (YouTube VIDEO 1:48)

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2015, June 9 The United States Department of Defense adds sexual orientation to the Military Equal Opportunity policy.

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2015, June 26 In ruling on the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court of the United States decides that the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution grants same-sex couples the right to marry. The decision requires all states to license marriages between same-sex couples and to recognize all marriages that were lawfully performed out of state.

The 14th Amendment to the US Constitution states:

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

SEE ALSO: Press ReleaseHuman Rights Watch

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
Time Event
2016 David "Tigger" Bailey, Mr. New Jersey Leather 2016, from Howell, New Jersey wins the IML 2016.

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2016 Release of the motion picture Pet (not to be confused with The Pet from 2007.)

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2016, March Goldstone Books, a charity bookstore in Swansea, Wales, received so many donationed copies of the book Fifty Shades of Grey that they built a substantial fort with the unsubstantial material. In a post on Facebook, the store's manager asked the public to stop donating that tome.

Bookfort viewed from the front

Bookfort viewed from an angle

IMAGE SOURCE: Goldstone Books

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2016, March In an interview with Chris Matthews of MSNBC, Donald Trump, the Republican Candidate for US President, said "there has to be some form of punishment" for women who have abortions.

Later that day he released a statement clarifying his stand:

If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed - like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions.

Political cartoon showing Donald Trump as "Punisher in Chief"

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2016, June 12 Omar Mir Seddique Mateen (November 16, 1986 – June 12, 2016) killed 49 people and wounded 53 more in a mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in the United States. Police shot and killed him.

He had been born on November 16, 1986 in New York to Afghan-American parents. At the time of the shooting he lived in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2016, June 24 US Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump tweets Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.

Tweet by Donald J. Trump on June 24, 2016 stating "Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs."

By more people he might have meant Moslems like Omar Mateen, the Pulse night club shooter.

On July 21, 2016 He would say something similar in his speech at the Republican National Convention where he accepted his party's nomination.

Only weeks ago, in Orlando, Florida, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist. This time the terrorist targeted our LGBT community. As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBT citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2016, June 24 According to the Archives.gov web site:

President Obama designated a new national monument at the historic site of the Stonewall Uprising in New York City to honor the broad LGBT equality movement.

The new ‘Stonewall National Monument’ will protect the area where, on June 28, 1969, a community’s uprising in response to a police raid sparked the modern LGBT civil rights movement in the United States.

In addition to protecting more land and water than any President in history -- more than 265 million acres -- President Obama has sought to protect places that are diverse, culturally and historically significant, and that reflect the story of all Americans.

Earlier this year, President Obama designated the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, a site that has been central to the fight for women's equality for over a century.

By honoring the history and accomplishments of the movement for LGBT equality, today’s designation will be a historic moment in this effort towards a more inclusive National Park System.

SEE ALSO: Announcing the Stonewall National Monument (VIDEO 3:41)

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2016, October 30 Donald Trump waved a rainbow Pride flag baring the message “LGBTs for Trump” at a political rally in Greeley, Colo. Because the text was written upside down (with what appeared to be a shapie), Mr. Trump held the flag upside down so the crowd could read the LGBT community's endorsement.

Jason Miller, Trump campaign spokesman, said "Mr. Trump is campaigning to be President for ALL Americans and was proud to carry the ‘LGBT for Trump‘ rainbow flag."

Chris Barron, founder of LGBT for Trump, called him “the most pro-LGBT Pres candidate ever nominated by either party.”

That was despite of Trump's opposition to same sex marriage, his promise to sign the anti-LGBT First Amendment Defense Act, his statement that he was "with the state" on North Carolina anti-trans House Bill 2, and his choice of anti-LGBT Indiana Gov. Mike Pence for running mate.

Donald Trump holding a gay pride flag with the words "LGBTs for TRUMP" written on it with a large black sharpie

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
Time Event
2017 Ralph Bruneau --- Mr. GNI (Gay Naturists International) Leather 2016 --- from Los Angeles, California wins the IML 2017 title.

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2017 Release of the film Tom of Finland, a biopic about Touko Laaksonen, the erotic artist who became known to leathermen of the world as Tom of Finland. (Died 1992).

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2017 Release of the film Professor Marston & The Wonder Women, a biopic about Dr. William Moulton Marston, Dr. Elizabeth Marston, and Olive Byrne. William Marston wrote the Emotions of Normal People (1928), contributed to the development of the lie detector, and co-created Wonder Woman.
Cast: Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, Bella Heathcote, and Connie Britton
The movie's page on Facebook

According to ANNAPURNA on Youtube:

Details the unconventional life of Dr. William Marston, the Harvard psychologist and inventor who helped invent the modern lie detector test and created Wonder Woman in 1941. Marston was in a polyamorous relationship with his wife Elizabeth, a psychologist and inventor in her own right, and Olive Byrne, a former student who became an academic.

CITE: Youtube

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2017, January 9 US Secretary of State, John Kerry apologizes for the federal government's past discrimination toward employees and applicants based on sexual orientation (e.g., the Lavender Scare.)

From a press statement dated January 9, 2017 on the State Department website:

Throughout my career, including as Secretary of State, I have stood strongly in support of the LGBTI community, recognizing that respect for human rights must include respect for all individuals. LGBTI employees serve as proud members of the State Department and valued colleagues dedicated to the service of our country. For the past several years, the Department has pressed for the families of LGBTI officers to have the same protections overseas as families of other officers. In 2015, to further promote LGBTI rights throughout the world, I appointed the first ever Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons.

In the past – as far back as the 1940s, but continuing for decades – the Department of State was among many public and private employers that discriminated against employees and job applicants on the basis of perceived sexual orientation, forcing some employees to resign or refusing to hire certain applicants in the first place. These actions were wrong then, just as they would be wrong today.

On behalf of the Department, I apologize to those who were impacted by the practices of the past and reaffirm the Department’s steadfast commitment to diversity and inclusion for all our employees, including members of the LGBTI community.

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2017, July 26 US President Trump announced via tweet a ban on transgender people serving in the military.
SEE ALSO: Donald Trump's past statements about LGBT rights

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
Time Event
2018 James Lee --- Mr. Kentucky Leather 2017 --- from Lexington, Kentucky wins the IML 2018 title.

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2018 Jack MacCullum, a Drummer North America (D.N.A.) titleholder purchases the rights to Drummer magazine and its associated events from Martijn Bakker. (Drummer had ceased publication in 1999.)

SOURCE: Race Bannon. 'Drummer' redux: famed leather magazine gets a reboot. The Bay Area Reporter. November 6, 2019.

contrib. Ambrosio April 3, 2023.
2018, September 6 Master Ces (pronounced Chess) Williams of Houston passed away on the morning of September 6, 2018.

I had spoken to her on occasion when she visited Austin or I visited Houston. I was always impressed with how much she cared. She was a lovely person who cared deeply for the Leather and BDSM communities. I admire her, and I regret not making the effort to know her better.

SEE ALSO: Becoming Just Ces by Ces Williams

Clips from An Interview with Master Ces for the WLHP
Master Ces Williams talks about Women's Leatherfest International. In an interview for the Women's Leather History Project.

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
Time Event
2019 Jack Thompson --- Leatherman of Color 2019 --- from Baltimore, Maryland wins the IML 2019 title.
contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2019 Greenery Press closes its new books program in 2019 upon the retirement of editorial director Janet W. Hardy. It stops publishing new titles.

CITE: From "Get to Know Us" section of Greenery's Website (now defunct.)

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2019, Oct. Jack MacCullum resumes publication of Drummer after a twenty year hiatus. The new run of the magazine starts with issue 215.

SOURCE: Race Bannon. 'Drummer' redux: famed leather magazine gets a reboot. The Bay Area Reporter. November 6, 2019.

contrib. Ambrosio. April 3, 2023.
Time Event
2020 The annual IML contest is cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2020 The Twentieth Anniversary of Black Rose

contrib. Chris M. Dec 2022.
Time Event
2021 For the second year in a row, the annual IML contest is cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2021, January 8 In a cringe inducing television interview with Gayle King that embarased Leather Daddies and boys/bois nation-wide, Miya Ponsetto (a.k.a. "Soho Karen"), a 22-year-old woman who was filmed tackling a Black teenager after falsely accusing him of stealing her phone, appeared wearing a baseball cap that read "Daddy." Ponsetto wore the hat despite the advice of her lawyer who subsequently dropped Ponsetto as her client.

In what was mostly likely an unrelated move, Urban Outfitters, the retailer of the Daddy hat, removed it from their inventory.

Gayle King's television interview of Miya Ponsetto

contrib. Ambrosio. December 2022.
2021, May 4 The International Deaf Leather (IDL) organization disolves after 30 years.

SOURCE: Press Release posted to the Leather Journal website on May 4, 2021.

contrib. Ambrosio. April 5, 2023.
Time Event
2022 After being canceled for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, IML returns. Gael Leung Chong Wo --- Mr. Leather Belgium 2020/2021 --- of Ghent, Belgium wins the IML 2022 title.

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2022, Feb. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton releases a formal nonbinding legal opinion that performing certain “sex-change” procedures on children, and prescribing puberty-blockers to them, is “child abuse” under Texas law.

Later, Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate parents who provide this health care to their transgender children.

contrib. Ambrosio. Feb. 5, 2023.
2022, March 9 According to "Florida's governor signs controversial law opponents dubbed 'Don't Say Gay,'" a news story on the NPR web site by Jaclyn Diaz (updated on March 28, 2022):

Public school teachers in Florida are banned from holding classroom instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity after Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed the controversial "Parental Rights in Education" bill.

The bill, which some opponents have called "Don't Say Gay," was signed by DeSantis on Monday. It reads, "Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards."

Supporters of the legislation say it's meant to allow parents to determine when and in what way to introduce LGBTQ topics to their children. It also gives parents an option to sue a school district if the policy is violated.

During a press conference ahead of signing the law, DeSantis said teaching kindergarten-aged kids that "they can be whatever they want to be" was "inappropriate" for children.

He said, "It's not something that's appropriate for any place, but especially not in Florida."

The "Don't Say Gay" moniker comes from critics of the measure who blast this idea and insist this policy will hurt LGBTQ children.

DeSantis and other supporters gathered for the bill signing called this messaging "sloganeering" and referred to efforts to educate students about LGBTQ issues as part of "woke gender ideology."

DeSantis remains defiant in the face of criticism

Studies have shown that LGBTQ youth already face higher health and suicide risks than their cisgender or straight peers. When those kids are given access to spaces that affirm their gender identity, they report lower rates of suicide attempts, according to The Trevor Project.

The Trevor Project condemned the signing of the bill saying the bill erases "LGBTQ identity, history, and culture — as well as LGBTQ students themselves."

The group also critiqued the policy's parental notification requirements. The law requires parents to be the first to be notified of any health or support services offered to their kids in school and allows them the chance to deny those services on behalf of their children.

The Trevor Project says these provisions, "appear to undermine LGBTQ support in schools and include vague parental notification requirements, which could effectively require teachers to 'out' LGBTQ students to their legal guardians without their consent, regardless of whether they are supportive."

SEE ALSO: Encarnación, Omar G. "Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' Bill Is Part of the State's Long, Shameful History." Time (New York City), May 12, 2022. https://time.com/6176224/florida-dont-say-gay-history-lgbtq-rights/.

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2022, June Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office requests from the Texas Department of Public Safety a list of individuals who had changed their gender on their Texas driver’s licenses and other department records during the past two years.

contrib. Ambrosio. Dec. 2022.
2022, June 24 The United States Supreme Court rules in the Case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and as a result effectively overturns Roe v. Wade allowing states to ban abortions.

Many liberals became concerned that this was only the first in many reversals of the court's past progressive decisions including these two rulings in support of gay marriage:
  • On June 26, 2013, in the Case United States v. Windsor, the court found Section 3 of the DOMA unconstitutional.
  • On June 26, 2015, in the Case of Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court had invalidated DOMA and any enforcement it had.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a concurring opinion to Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization indicating his belief that the Supreme Court should reconsider past decisions protecting same-sex relationships, marriage equality, and access to contraceptives. His opinion reads in part:
  • In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold[1], Lawrence[2], and Obergefell.
  • Because any substantive due process decision is ‘demonstrably erroneous,’ we have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents.
  • After overruling these demonstrably erroneous decisions, the question would remain whether other constitutional provisions guarantee the myriad rights that our substantive due process cases have generated.
  • [W]e would need to decide important antecedent questions, including whether the privileges or immunities clause protects any rights that are not enumerated in the Constitution and, if so, how to identify those rights.
(Some observers were critical that Thomas did not include Loving v. Virginia among the cases that the Supreme Court should revisit. That case established a right to interracial marriage in 1967. That right is not named explicitly in the constitution. Thomas was the only Justice who wrote an opinion that didn't cite that case.)

[1] On June 7, 1965 in Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court had decided that right to privacy can be inferred from several amendments in the Bill of Rights, and this right prevents states from making the use of contraception by married couples illegal.

[2] On June 26, 2003 in Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court had decided that the Texas statute making it a crime for two persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate sexual conduct (i.e., the Texas sodomy law) violates the Due Process Clause.

Clarence and Ginni Thomas smiling in front of a Christmas tree
IMAGE SOURCE: Facebook/Ginni Lamp Thomas

contrib. Ambrosio. Dec. 11, 2022.
2022, Aug. 5 Former journalist Kari Lake won the Republican primary for governor of Arizona. Lake had attacked drag queens as "groomers" and dangerous for children despite having been a longtime friend with a drag queen, Barbara Seville. Saville had even performed at Lake's home for her birthday (with Lake's children present) and a baby shower at her house (where Lake introduced Saville to her young daughter.)

Keri Lake's tweet
2022, November 19-20 On the eve of the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, a lone gunman killed five people and injured thenty-five in a mass shooting at Club Q, the only LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States.

The five people murdered were:
U.S. Army veteran Richard M. Fierro, Thomas James, and an unidentified trans woman (or a drag performer) subdued the shooter who was later taken into custody by police.

contrib. Ambrosio. late 2022.
2022, December 8 In response to the US Supreme Court overturning Row v. Wade in June, the US House of Representatives passes the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA.)

(To clarify the difference between these acts: The Respect for Marriage Act defends marriage for same sex and interracial couples, while the Defense of Marriage Act does not defend or respect marriage --- at least not for everyone. The names are confusing.)

contrib. Ambrosio. Dec. 11, 2022.
2022, December 13 President Joe Biden signs the Respect for Marriage Act into law. It requires that all states recognize same sex and interracial marriages.

contrib. Ambrosio. Dec. 11, 2022.
Time Event
2023 On the 100-year anniversary of Sholem Asch’s God of Vengeance being shut down on Broadway, Administrators at the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Florida’s Duval County canceled a student production of Indecent by Paula Vogel. The play examines how the cast and producer of an English language production of Sholem Asch's God of Vengeance were arrested on obscenity charges in 1923.

Madeline Scotti, a student who had been cast in the production, attributed the decision to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. The school district issued a statement that read ‘Indecent’ contains adult sexual dialog that is inappropriate for student cast members and student audiences The statement continues The decision has no relevance to any legislation but is rather a function of our responsibilities to ensure students engage in educational activities appropriate for their age.

contrib. Ambrosio. Jan. 17, 2023
2023, Jan. 19 Brazilian drag queen, Eula Rochard, claims that serial liar and enbattled freshman Republican congressman George Santos performed as a drag queen in Rio de Janeiro under the name “Kitara Ravache" and even competed for the Miss Gay Rio De Janeiro drag beauty pagent. Santos denied the assertion at first. On Twitter he wrote The most recent obsession from the media claiming that I am a drag Queen or ‘performed’ as a drag Queen is categorically false. The media continues to make outrageous claims about my life while I am working to deliver results.

Santos's tweet

But after the evidence continued to mount, he told reporters, I was young, and I had fun at a festival. Sue me for having a life.

What many critics found offensive was not his drag performances but rather his association with politicians who demonized drag shows and drag queens as well as a perceived hypocrisy in his support of conservative social causes including Florida's "Parental Rights in Education" (i.e., "Don't Say Gay") law. In a Facebook video he stated The Left is hellbent on creating a false narrative because they want to groom our kids. As a gay man, I UNAPOLOGETICALLY support this law!

Joseph Murray (Santos’ attorney) released a statement that claims George Santos represents the kind of progress that the Left is so threatened by—a gay, Latino, immigrant and Republican who won a Biden district in overwhelming fashion by showing everyday voters that there is a better option than the broken promises and failed policies of the Democratic Party.

Tweet from Stantos' office showing Jospeh Murray's statement

contrib. Ambrosio. Feb. 19, 2023
2023, Dec 18 Pope Francis formally approves letting Catholic priests bless same-sex couples.

SEE ALSO: contrib. Ambrosio. Feb. 19, 2023
2023, Dec. 29 Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie, who had once opposed same-sex marriage, says his views on the matter have changed.

At a meeting with voters, Christie said I don't have any objection to it any longer. ... I've been convinced. And you know that's part of being a thinking breathing human being. .... You can hold certain opinions at one time and hold them genuinely ... but you know what I was wrong. ... It's still it was a process I had to go through to change the way I've been raised.

SEE ALSO: contrib. Ambrosio. Jan. 17, 2023

End of the Leather History Timeline