WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU WIN THE LEATHER TITLE OF YOUR DREAMS TO REPRESENT YOUR COUNTRY & 3 DAYS LATER THE WHOLE WORLD GOES INTO LOCKDOWN?
The last official title holder before Lockdown hit being sashed on 13th March 2020…..ouch! Jon Stockton Mr Leather UK 2020 (Who will reign until step down as with most titles through too the Spring of 2022) talks about his lockdown and how it has affected his title year.
Title contests whether they be leather, rubber, puppy, bootblack, bear or whatever happen all year round at bar, association, City and Country level. For many winners it is a life changing experience and great honour leading to a very long period of raising money, awareness, charity work and being a mouthpiece and face for our rites, national and local communities. It usually starts with a fun and productive year fronting Pride marches, doing media interviews, promoting personal causes, endless photos and bonding with all the other sash guys who are now their fetish brothers across the globe. Also, there is the opportunity to compete in bigger contests on a truly Worldwide scale like Mr International leather/rubber/Bootblack/Puppy/Bear or Mr Europe for you individual fetish tribe, Mid Atlantic Leather or even the filter contests like Mr San Francisco or Mr LA. Also, nowadays the old adage of ‘Bringing your sash into disrepute’ by god forbid having actual gay sex has well and truly been buried in the Old Guard locker back in the ‘noughties’ then your sex life will improve greatly too as everyone wants to sleep with a title holder and Stefan Ferris, James Lee, Joe King and Jawn Marques we are looking at you.
COMING OUT ….AGAIN !!
It’s March 2020 and my focus and that of the last year or so has been towards the Mr Leather UK competition, to take place on the 13th, in my adopted home Birmingham, UK I wasn’t the youngest, the prettiest, (although he did have the biggest dick…AT)..but my determination and hopes to bring the community closer together would see me through, it did, and it was one of the proudest moments of my life. At that time this virus was showing its ugly head, but like many hoped it would pass quickly and I could get on with my promises, so calendar in hand started booking weekends away for Pride’s, socials, gatherings, both at home and abroad. The following week it was announced the country was to go into lock down totally alongside the whole World !!
So…what ?? … no socialising, no sleaze, no prides, gatherings ??. Surely by Folsom it would all be over …right ? and in no time we’d be leaning against the wall of New Action, fat gar in hand ? But no that wasn’t to be, everything was and is on hold. So, for many of us used to the bright lights, we carved new directions, and wished by the Summer we had invested in Zoom shares !! For many of us social media was a lifeline, giving us hope outside of our ‘prison cells’
It was a very strange year and all the title holders have a very active social media group which is great but it was never going to replace meeting them in person and supporting them at their contests and step downs which is now very much the International sash brother way. Zoom meetings, quizzes etc are great and i have been on many but we need the vibe, energy and smell that you get when all in the same room. As Mr Leather UK i would have been marching and promoting at the front of the leather contingent at all my many local Prides and it is endless how many events i planned to attend and support raising so much money for charity which i alongside all my brothers had to put on hold. I hope to march this Summer and do so much in my brand spanking new mask at any event i am allowed to get too under UK, European and US understandable Covid restrictions to make up for 2020 lost opportunities. As regards those charities many of which have suffered from the lack of usual fundraising possibilities i am sure all the other title holders like myself will go into overdrive batting for them this Summer and beyond and in the meantime if you have any spare cash maybe you can seek out your local LBGTQ charity or rites group and keep them financially supported fit and well until we are all back together again.
But we ARE here, and there does seem to be a glimmer of light on the horizon, vaccines are rolling out. Event organisers are making tentative plans, albeit more scaled down than we remember.
In terms of Covid, we do need to be careful, and we of all groups understand the importance of ‘safe sex’, this is just another time, another type of ‘safe sex’
So, it seems, we WILL be ‘coming out’ again, we’ll meet and in years to come will look back on a couple of years of fear and uncertainty, that was followed by ones of relief and calm, even if the spectre of it all still looms over us. We have battled storms before, we are a tough gene-pool and always come out stronger.
Not the title year I had planned, but still one I am very proud to have had it.
Jon Stockton’s title year continues and with a large number of Prides announced including his local one Birmingham Pride moving to a September date for just one year plus a lot of fingers crossed for some fetish events from June onwards with great hopes for major the tentpole gatherings in the Fall it is hopeful nay expected that the sashed classes and brothers of 2019/20 and 21 will all be together before you know it and will all be masked up following Stefan, Jawn, Joe and James into the nearest safely managed dark room for research purposes only of course!.