Meet Mr. and Ms. Utah Leather SL❤UT 2018

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On May 20 at The Metro Music Hall, the inaugural Ms. Leather SL❤UT and the 2nd annual Mr. Leather SL❤UT competition was held following the first Utah Leather Pride Festival.

Four contestants were competing for the Ms. Title, and three for the Mr. Title. The contestants completed judges interviews, pop
questions, speeches, and entertained the crowd during the contest.

After the judges’ scores and crowd ballots were received and counted, Leftenant Fox was named Ms. Leather SL❤UT 2018 and Nicholas
Cendese was named Mr. Leather SL❤UT 2018.

When asked for asked for comment, Fox said, “I’m still in a bit of shock. I didn’t expect to win, only to convey my love of the
community and my authentic self. I’m very happy and grateful for this title that affects the community I live in. I know that I’ve been entrusted with a community service title and I must make sure that’s honored by ensuring the communities I participate in are heard and empowered to serve their own authentic expression and radical self-acceptance. I want a better world and I want to create the space for everyone to accomplish that.”

Cendese added, “Winning the title has been a wonderful experience and has given me an opportunity to talk about our leather community to many others who may not know about us. My “vanilla” life came out in major support, and what a wonderful feeling that I’m truly accepted and welcomed for who I am. Going to International Mister Leather on the heels of winning the title was an experience all its own — you have no idea of the real provocative power of Mr. Leather SL❤UT [sewn] on the back of your vest until people start calling out at you on the street.”

Nick Cendese shares his aspirations as Mr. Leather

It’s been two months or so since the competition, and it’s been exciting to see where things are going. Both Leftenant Fox, Ms. Leather SL❤UT 2018, and I have been making the rounds and working hard to show up for the many events going on in town. I know one of our primary goals for the year is to be visible and present in our community. By doing so, I know that people will see the pride we have in our leather identities and, hopefully, encouraged to embrace themselves fully.

Fox is working hard on some wonderful community health initiatives. But for me, I’m trying to take things one week at a time. I’m currently working hard to launch a new group call GearUP SLC — a group open to everyone who loves gear of all kinds.

The thought behind the group — open to all identities — is to get together once a quarter and head out on the town in our gear. I want to create events that show our gear-kink pride to the LGBTQ community in Utah and hopefully others, instigate conversations with non-kinky folks, and be out in the world as a group. I’m looking into launching the event as soon as the weather cools down. And hopefully, I can get local businesses on board and plan fun events that allow Salt Lake’s amazing kink/fetish/leather community to collide with the incredible arts and culture we have in Salt Lake City.

Beyond this first initiative, we’ll have to see where things go. Right now, I have a million and one ideas and don’t know where things will settle or what is the next project.

Kassie Robison “Leftenant Fox” on her goals as Ms. Leather

On May 20, 2018, I was entrusted with the Community Service Title of Ms. Leather SL❤UT under the scene name of “Leftenant Fox”. It’s the first title for women of its kind in Utah history. I hope, throughout the following year, that my fundraising for local organizations will empower and better the LGBTQA+ communities of Utah.

 I’m writing this letter to those interested in joining me during my service year. I’m seeking people who can donate time, services, space for events and fundraisers, and provide information about the Leather scene.

 But what is Leather? A member of our community, Mina Hart, summed it up well, “Leather is about the freedom to express oneself authentically and without judgment. Leather is about honoring oneself and others, keeping our history close to our hearts while forging on, creating new experiences and traditions. Leather is about integrity and holding on to your beliefs and values no matter what storms you may weather. And Leather is about respect for me, my community, and for the beliefs and traditions of others.”

 To me, Leather is about wholehearted authenticity, awareness, and education. As a LeatherWoman, I’m contributing to a world of people not only encouraged but empowered to live their lives unabridged, unedited, and unencumbered by shame or hatred.

This title is a mechanism for me to elevate what I already choose to do. I will seek to unite sex-positive Utahns; I will pursue not merely tolerance of our differences but also acceptance and increased understanding of one another. And I will devote myself to promoting authenticity and love for people of all identities, titles, and labels.

I believe that genuine compassion and understanding comes through lives lived authentically. My thirst for knowledge drives me to improve every day. My devotion to empathy fuels my motivations for a meaningful network of support. And my volunteering and organizing among the pagan, LGBTQA, polyamory, and LeatherPeople populations are how I can affect and improve the well-being of individuals for the benefit of all. I will strive toward this better, more compassionate, unified, shameless future.

My mission, summed up in one word: Accessibility. Accessibility is being visible, participating, and being active at local LGBTQA+ and Kink events around Utah and the Intermountain West. This visibility will help the process of destigmatizing and normalizing the lives of so many genuine and honest people. Some of the goals I set are:

  • Create LGBTQA+ volunteer groups to conduct service in the SLC community.
  • Co-host “Gear-up Salt Lake City” with Mr. Leather SL❤UT, Nick Cendese, where groups share a meal, attend various performances,  and socialize as proud Leather individuals.
  • Support and network with Mr. Leather SL❤UT, The Royal Court of the Golden Spike, Rocky Mountain Person of Leather, Rocky Mountain Puppy and Trainer, Utah Bears, Inc., Transgender Inclusion Project, and other local and regional titleholders and organizations with their service goals.
  • Created a community health program, “Healthy Pride Day”, held at the Utah Pride Center 1 to 3 times a year.
  • Create increased accessibility to accurate STI, HIV/AIDs testing and education, plus sex and health education through partnerships with the Utah Aids Foundation, the Huntsman Cancer Institute, Clinic 1A, the Transgender Health Clinic at the Madsen Clinic, ARUP Volunteer Phlebotomists, and several others.
  • Created a “Gender Level-up Day” happening in November 2018. It’s to build stronger, affirming communities by putting together Gender Affirming “starter kits” with gift certificates for accessories, clothing, and makeup, given away at the Gender Level-up events and the Youth/Trans support programs.
  • Host events to teach transgender and genderqueer individuals about makeup, hair, and styling skills at UPC.

My ultimate mission is to create unity through accessibility in the LGBTQ+ and Sex-Positive communities of Utah. Because our most important work is never done alone.

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