Daniel Dumont – A Memorial

#31 Patrick Grady – Chairman Mid Atlantic Leather Weekend, Centaur MC

© John O’Brien

 I always recall Danial as larger than life each time I saw him. He was always so gracious and welcoming and representing the community with such class and passion.

He did help to calm me during the IML judging adventure that we both enjoyed.  I being nervous and wondering what I was doing amongst some of the best in our community.  His reassuring comments of staying within the area of one’s knowledge or experiences allowed me to ask sincere questions of the contestants. His ease of making everyone welcome within many different situations was an art.

He was also so much fun to be around as he loved to joke and laugh and be so real and happy in his life. 

A true renaissance man of the world and always had the best chocolates!

#32 Daniel Rüster – Co-founder of Folsom Europe & Jürgen Rentzel – Co-founder of Folsom Europe and chief editor of BOX Magazine

We met Daniel almost two decades ago. 

It was easy to get in touch with him. He was one of the most sweet guys in our community. Always open to meet new folks and always interested to connect people he knew. He was an early supporter of Rheinfetish in Cologne and Folsom Europe in Berlin. Even if Folsom is no ECMC member club, he spreaded the news about that unique european streetfair whereever he went. 

He loved Folsom - and we loved his presence, his spirit and his passion for it. His bullwhip shows were always a highlight for the visitors. Daniel was a proud european leatherman - and a proud belgian as well. We were always excited like little boys when he came with his presents from Belgium - a box of the finest Leonidas pralinees for his friends.

We will deeply miss him and we will make sure that his legency will always be remembered and honored at future Folsom events and elsewhere.

#33 Michael Byrne – Mr Dublin Leather 2001

© John O’Brien

I first met Daniel shortly after we set up LUBE Ireland (Leather Uniform Bear Encounter) and again during our application to join ECMC.

Initially - as a novice to the Leather community- I found Daniel a bit scary and intimidating with the whip and flogger hanging from his belt. But that immediately melted away as his smile, laughter and that memorising glint in his eye, took up immediate residence in my heart.

Shortly after that first meeting, we had the pleasure of hosting him in our home for one of our LUBE events in Dublin. It was a sheer delight to have him stay with us. He was so easy to be around, warm funny and engaging.

After LUBE went into decline, it was many years before I met Daniel again. But he had the ability to make you feel like it had just been a few days since you last met. Hearing of Daniel's passing felt like a freight train hitting me. It feels like a lifelong friend or close family member had left me. The sadness was intense and stopped me in my tracks.

He will forever live on in my heart; he invaded it so many years earlier. I will always remember his big smile and laughter and of course I will never be able to eat a plate of ribs again without seeing his larger than life presence hovering around the table.

With love and in Leather Brotherhood

#34 Leather & Fetish Milano Board Members Ivan Vareschi, President; Rory Silvistrini, Vice President; and Bob Lee Huffman, Secretary

© Bob Lee

While some of us at LFM have known Daniel for 20 years, he was a very private person and did not often share personal details about himself. However, he had a great sense of duty and love for our global Community as a Leatherman and ECMC Secretary. His past support for Leather & Fetish Milano was appreciated through his attendance at many of our events including the recent Italian Fetishman contest in late January when Daniel was a tally master and also did a whipping demonstration at Bob’s singletail whipping workshop.

We will always remember his kindness and generosity, his smile, hearty laugh, his penchant for cracking his whips with great gusto and his love for Italian food! 

Le nostre più sentite condoglianze. 

#35 Joe King – Mr Leather Europe 2016/2017

© John O’Brien

When I was asked to recall a memory about Daniel I really struggled to decide on one thing that I remember him by: his friendship, his commitment, passion and energy for the global leather community, how he supported new clubs, created connections between people or how his generous and kind spirit helped many of us become part of the leather family. But in the end, I kept coming back to the one thing I picture in my mind’s eye when I think of him, and that’s laughter. He took an irreverent joy with him everywhere he went, his close-to-the-bone, clever wit could always be guaranteed to bring the house down with whoever he was with. I lost track of the times I had to say to him ‘I can’t believe you just said that!’ whilst simultaneously mopping up the beer I’d laughed down my nose a few seconds before.  It is that clever, boundless humour that I think defined him, and it is the thing that I will miss of my friend most of all. 

“Nice Boots”.

#36 Wil Wever – Mr Cuddle Monster

© John O’Brien

I met Daniel in Berlin during Folsom Europe. It was during a time right after I had lost my parents and grandparents and found myself quite alone but had found new family within the community. That year I was invited to Evidence in Nice, where I once again saw Daniel, and where in this more intimate and friendly setting we truly got to bond more. In the mornings after breakfast some of the guys and I would hang out on the large sofa in the hotel Lobby waiting for everyone, and ended up in a big cuddle puddle chatting away. It was here where they jokingly said that I should have a leather title for cuddling and Daniel started calling me his Cuddle Monster.

During a visit to an LGBT centre, there were several gay youth who were shy and seemed intimidated to talk to me, and some wanted to take pictures, so I had embraced them and took photos and after that engaged them in conversation about themselves and setting them at ease. I had not noticed that Daniel had observed this and after that he spoke to me about those kids, a tall guy dressed like me, openly myself and proud about being gay is like a hero and that being kind, generous giving and accepting their hugs really meant a lot. He told me to always be myself and proud. It was after that we really became close friends, and I looked up to him as a role model and family. When Daniel lost his mother, him and I spent a lot of time talking about the experience, the difficulties of dealing with the grief and an elderly parent left behind, as I had also recently experienced after I had just gone through the same, and together we could laugh and grieve and talk about our lives and give comfort and support.

That February I was in Antwerp right after my birthday, and when I met with Daniel and friends, out of his bag he pulled one of the most amazing and sweetest surprises I Cherish to this day, as he had a Leather Sash made for me: “Mr. Cuddle Monster” Although Daniel wanted me to compete for MAL, here I could not think of a more appropriate title that makes me happy whenever I look back at that moment.

 This year with great sadness we lost Daniel. A tireless supporter of the community, a mentor, but most of all we lost a great friend and one of our family. Blood is thicker than water, but leather is thicker than blood. The memories became treasures, and as I look at the sash hanging in my room and our pictures together, I can hear his voice calling me Cuddle Monster and smile gratefully for the times we’ve had. Farewell Daniel. We love you.

#37 Nelson Sousa Da Cunha Pochet – Mister B

© Nelson Sousa Da Cunha Pochet

My first memory of Daniel Dumont; was 2012 and I had been invited in Hamburg to be in the jury for Mister Leather Europe for the very first time. I was quite new on the fetish club scene so I had no idea what to expect. I barely knew anyone but was excited to make new acquaintances, maybe even friends.

The Saturday of the show I was appointed a seat at the jury table. The idea was that you had dinner while the contestants from all over Europe would do a show. I was quite nervous, a bit shy, and to me humour is a way to hide my nervousness. I know that some leathermen take these contests more serious than others but me being a newbie I didn’t want to rub anyone the wrong way. I was all smiles trying to be the best leather social butterfly that I could be.

In front of me was a score card with a list of countries. Suddenly this big impressive fully leathered man, with awesome leather wristbands comes sit next to me just before the show starts.

I was impressed by him and didn’t know how to break the ice.... so nervously looking at my scorecard and then suddenly I look up to him and go: THIS IS JUST LIKE EUROVISION!

And before he could answer the presenter calls to the stage: the chairman of the ECMC, Daniel Dumont! And everybody starts clapping, he gets up and walks to the stage...

For the next 10 minutes he was there talking, all I could think of was: Nelson you fool! You blew it! You made the most stupid joke to the most important person in the room! He will NOT be amused with that joke, he will think you don’t take any of this serious, doom scenarios were popping up in my head and I was sweating in my leather.

Daniel walks off that stage, sits down next to me and says: now let’s fill in these Eurovision scorecards! The ice was broken, he told me about his cat, about his life, we laughed and his sense of humour wasn’t far from mine.... we got along well, we spent an awesome time during a later trip to Poland, we saw each other at many events....

I was never again afraid to make jokes about leathermen, because like he always said, we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously, life is to have fun.

Rest in Peace Daniel, you will be missed.

#38 Jaak Evert – President of LMC Estonia

© Unknown

My first memories about Daniel are from 1999 in Copenhagen. It was my first ECMC AGM where I participated.  Daniel was the president of MSC Belgium and his speeches were soft and expressed the desire to find sensible compromises and workable solutions.

As Daniel was an open and supportive person, he was interested about our Estonian club and how we can manage. Next year he made suggestion to support our small club and he was interested in whether he could become a foreign member of the Estonian club. It was privilege to have such foreign member. Daniel was a member of our Club for almost 20 years.

It created very warm feelings when I saw pictures where Daniel was an IML judge in our club’s t-shirt in Chicago in 2005.

Closer relations with our club developed when he was elected to the secretary of ECMC.  It was his idea to create a fund for supporting East- European fetish clubs.  I am sure as our club another clubs from East- Europe who got financial support what is also important for small and starting clubs. Polish, Czech, Russian and Estonian clubs owe much to Daniel for the attention and support he gave to these clubs in their activities at ECMC and also in organizing and promoting their own events.

Daniel contributed to the success of Mr Leather contests in Poland (Poznan)and Russia (St Petersburg), and by his presence he gave them more weight.

Last contribution to our Estonian club activities was Daniel’s donation for our club contribution for Tom of Finland 100thanniversary memorial plaque in Helsinki.  This donation Daniel made on 23th February 2020, just one month before his sudden death.

Therefore, LMC Estonia & I support the suggestion of Aleksei Grachev from St Petersburg Leather Club to give ECMC East- Europe Support Fund the name of Daniel Dumont. 

In this way we can remember Daniel's work and commitment to the fetish community in Eastern Europe.

#39 Ralph Bruneau IML (International Mister Leather) 2017

© Joe Hogan

I met Daniel Dumont in Chicago, the night I became International Mr. Leather 2017. He took me under his wing and personally introduced me to the leather scene in Europe. He urged me to attend Folsom and Easter Berlin, Nice So Fetiche and Darklands. He not only invited, but, introduced me to some of the most wonderful men that I’ve ever met. He went from my European Leather Godfather to a trusted friend. I am grateful for everything we shared including the birthday dinner shortly before he passed. Thank you, my friend. Till we meet again. Xo RB

#40 Philip Green – Business Officer, Manchester Leather Men

© John O’Brien

I will never forget the first time I heard the crack of that whip, from that moment on I was in awe. Awe of such a prominent man in our community, awe of his look in leather, his mastery of the whip and his personality, a fiercely strong and loyal spearhead for the ECMC, Europe and the world, leather and LGBT+ communities.

Although it took a little time to get to know Daniel properly, when we sat down together and chatted, we clicked straight away, I soon realised that as well as being 'Daniel Dumont'  who I had heard so much about , he was a kind, genuine man with a heart of gold and someone I would be proud to call 'friend'

Some even called him a big teddy bear, and it was true. Daniel was a real softie.

I had the pleasure of spending real quality time with Daniel when we both visited Tromsø for the 2nd Arctic Pilots last year, he was a fascinating man with a wonderful rich history and a wicked sense of humour which he was famous for. I adored his company and helped him navigate the deep snow (he gave me the honorary title of his 'snow helper') which I still smile at. I learned so much from him over that long weekend, he explained to me many things about his take on life and I will cherish these wise words forever, he also gave a wonderful speech at the formal dinner on Saturday night about the importance of keeping small communities alive. 

Well, Sir Daniel; I promise you to continually support as many as I can and continue to spread your message of inclusiveness and community spirit over the world, more so than ever at this dark time.

One final memory I keep, is walking him back to his car after his famous ribs birthday dinner and giving him a big hug goodbye. Although I promised to see him again in Berlin for Easter this wasn't to be…  He lent in to whisper something in my ear...

What did he say you ask?... Well anyone who knew Daniel and his wicked sense of humour can guess so I don't need to tell you 😉

Written by Jeroen Van Lievenoogen

Jeroen is publisher of Alphatribe magazine

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