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"Gay leather fetishists gather to celebrate skins and substance"

on Tuesday, 18 January 2011. Posted in Media Updates

The Washington Post

Saturday night in Las Vegas was the 90th annual Miss America. The winner was a sweet 17-year-old blonde from Nebraska.

Sunday afternoon at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill was the 26th annual Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather contest. It is the highlight of the Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend, the largest East Coast gathering of gay leather fetishists. The winner travels to the International Mr. Leather competition in Chicago, where he mingles with thousands of men who have managed to replicate every authority-based uniform - policemen, soldiers, umpires - in leather.

"I meet the nicest people through leather," says contestant Frank King, who elects to pair a leather vest with a red lumberjack shirt for the casual portion of the competition. "Doctors, lawyers. Just everyday people."

King, who owns a resort in Rehoboth Beach, Del., is new to the leather scene. His grown daughter wanted to come see her dad in the competition; he convinced her that he wanted to go it alone his first year.

"People say this lifestyle is about whips and chains," says contestant Tim White, the reigning Mr. Connecticut Leather, who, in what is considered a celebrity romance in this community, is dating the current Mr. New Jersey Leather. "But it's about heart. There is so much nurturing in this community." 

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