Mr Leather 2019
Buster (AKA Jack) is a London boy, ‘born and bred’. He came to the leather scene through an obsession with motorcycles dating back to his childhood days at Brands Hatch and Silverstone. Buster has been a part of the wider SM scene, UK Pup scene, and the London Leather community as an Alpha Dog and Pup Handler since he was 21.
He says he was drawn to the fetish scene by a deep desire to understand the complicated nature of power within sexual relationships, and over the last decade has grown ‘more than I could have imagined’.
Now, as Mr Leather UK, he plans on bringing his passion and enthusiasm to the role of community ambassador. He describes the title as the perfect opportunity to pose some serious questions about the future of the fetish community and how we can grow together in an increasingly divisive world – and to help bring the scene together to achieve it’s best. He also wants to promote a diverse and inclusive view of the leather community, broadcasting how welcoming the leather scene is to people of all body shapes and sizes, incomes and levels of leather ownership, submissive or dominant personalities, or age.
He is also using his experience within the LGBT charity sector to work with the LGBT+ Switchboard to raise money and promote volunteering opportunities to help their work.
He writes: “In a world where LGBT+ peoples existence is being treated as a ‘moral issue’, we have more of a duty than ever to hold out a hand of friendship to those most in need”.
He works as a sports medicine professional, and takes great satisfaction in motivating people to get up and moving to improve their health.
CONGRATULATIONS ON BEING ELECTED AS MR LEATHER UK 2018. HOW ARE YOU FEELING?
It’s immensely gratifying. To stand in front of a room full of our community’s best and pour my heart about my journey, and my ideas for how to help diversify and strengthen the scene was immensely powerful. To then be told ‘go and make it happen’ was exhilarating. The other candidates, David and Mark, were exceptional and I’m proud to have run alongside them – and since to have welcomed them into my life as friends.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO ENTER?
I feel like the Leather scene faces some challenges which we’ve struggled to collectively address – Firstly that people are feeling excluded, there’s a public perception that the leather scene is only for guys who can afford lots of gear. There’s also been a shift in how we interact as a community – shifting from leather bars to online platforms, that have brought with them a whole new set of issues. I’ve not seen anyone talking about the big picture and how we can work across the boundaries within the fetish scene to tackle some of our common issues.
There’s the old line from Maya Angelou: “What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.”. So I opted to stop complaining and put a year of my time aside to make things happen.
WHAT IS IT YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE AS MR LEATHER UK 2018?
I want to do four things:
- I want to host and set the infrastructure for ongoing regular invitational meetings between community leaders and interested parties to start to tackle some of the Fetish scenes wider problems: rising rents, closing venues; FOSTA/SESTA and it’s impact on social media spaces; diversity and body image.
- I want to show off a diverse and inclusive range of leathermen – showing people who don’t know the leather scene that we are welcoming to everyone who loves leather. Twinks who wants to worship boots, wheelchair users, chunky daddies in full BLUF, trans guys, Asian guys, people with all levels of income – all of these are welcome in our community and I want to demonstrate that in how we present ourselves to the world.
- I want to help get new events going. You don’t need a leather bar to run an event. You don’t need any bar on side to set something up. All it takes is to tell your local leathermen that you’re going to x venue in gear at a specific time. What starts in 2s and 3s becomes large leather socials with bars undercutting each other to offer concessions to your considerable audience. I want to see every major city in the UK have it’s own leather social, and I’m willing to put in the time and effort to support local leathermen as they make it happen.
- I want to raise money for the LGBT+ Switchboard. We live in a time where the BBC can ask whether it’s ‘morally right’ for LGBT+ people’s existence to feature in school relationship education classes.
WHAT ROLE DOES A TITLEHOLDER HAVE THESE DAYS? ARE THEY STILL AN IMPORTANT PART OF OUR COMMUNITY?
A title is a platform. I went for the title because I’m proposing leadership in a way that demands a democratic mandate of some description, and I think that a title is a good way of providing that. It’s also an opportunity to present a face to the outside world of what the leather scene is. I’m really excited to be a Leather titleholder in my early 30s because it shows off to the world that the UK leather scene welcomes the young and dynamic. It can really challenge the narrative, and as such I think if used right, titles can have immense influence.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT LEATHER THAT YOU LOVE?
I came into leather from being a biker. I used to race 125s as a kid, and the smell of two stroke oil and fresh leather was intoxicating to me. It still brings back a memory of feeling like I was completely in control of my own destiny. My leather is a symbol to me of autonomy and freedom from rules and restrictions. In leather, I set the rules that govern my life – with a balance of fun and responsibility. I think it’s a really healthy kind of power fantasy.
MR LEATHER UK 2019’S PLEDGE
During my time in office, I will work to:
- Bring together representatives from the Leather, Rubber, Pup scenes and the wider fetish community, to discuss key issues that affect us in common, working to build cross community consensus on potential solutions.
- Promote alternative leather looks, championing under-represented groups from a wide range of ages, body images, and social groups across the wide spectrum of leather fetishism.
- Raise money, volunteer labour and awareness of the work of my chosen charity, LGBT+ Switchboard.
- Attend both UK and European events to promote and strengthen the leather and fetish community, and our ties with our neighbours.
- Assist and promote any leatherman looking to set up a Leather event in their local area.