Gary Wasdin, Executive Director
Gary Wasdin joined the Leather Archives & Museum in January 2018, bringing with him over thirty years of senior management experience in libraries, nonprofits and the corporate sector. He most recently worked as a Senior Consultant with DJA Consulting, partnering with academic and public libraries on issues such as strategic planning, organizational development and inclusion.
Gary’s work in libraries has focused on making collections and services more accessible. His professional work includes positions at New York Public Library, Omaha (NE) Public Library, King County (WA) Public Library, the University of Alabama, and Wesleyan University.
Gary has served as an adjunct faculty member in the library science programs at Southern Connecticut State University, St. John’s University and Pratt Institute. He holds an MLS and an MA in English from Southern CT State University, and a BA in theater from Augusta (GA) College.
Mel Leverich, Archivist & Collections Librarian
Mel grew up in Salt Lake City and has a Masters of Archival Studies from the University of British Columbia.
Vicente Ugartechea, Patron Services Associate
Vicente is a trans, first generation Mexican-American artist and educator. Drawing from personal narrative, they explore landscapes of constructed normativities, ethnocentrism, and privilege as a way of defining and redefining issues that subsist within marginalized identities. Currently, they are exhibiting work internationally and are primarily interested in queer cruising rituals (both in the digital and physical), bodily language and queer archives as a manner of investigating potentials of sex, sexuality and gender.
Leslie Anderson, Leather Preservation Specialist
Adam Hart, Operations Assistant
Adam W. Hart is a long-time Chicago resident – part of the leather/rubber/kink community – and has been with the LA&M since 2015 (when he started as a volunteer). A poet and writer, Hart is a graduate of Ohio University’s E. W. Scripps School of Journalism, where he also studied film, theater criticism, and Shakespeare. He and his partner run two film/video production companies, and are dads to three loving senior cats (all boys). Comic books/graphic novels, sci-fi, horror, and Indian/Ethiopian food are all good ways to win his heart.
Board of Directors
Bob Behr, President
Joined Board 9/16 Term to 5/19
Bob became president of the LA&M in October of 2017. He is active across the Great Lakes, U.S. and Canada; serving as Judge, Emcee, Contestant Coordinator, Instructor, or simply a spectator at numerous events. Knowing the importance of service and giving, Bob has contributed to curriculum development for the Mr. Friendly Campaign and had supported the LA&M. Bob brings years of not for profit experience to the LA&M Board. As a lover of history, he honors our past and seeks to preserve it while providing meaningful experiences for future generations. Bob’s leadership experience brings fundraising and public outreach skills to build a strong membership base to best ensure facilities and resources are in place to support the mission of the organization.
Harry Harkins, Vice-President
Joined Board 5/15 Term to 5/21
Harry Harkins has served on numerous Boards of Directors including co-chair, Board of Directors, Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund;
President, Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia; Member, Duke University Library Advisory Board. A retired attorney, Harry brings legal skills, nonprofit experience and a passion for both the Leather community and the preservation of LGBT history to the Leather Archives & Museum.
Leon Grossman, Secretary
Joined board 11/06 Term to 5/21
Leon Grossman moved to Chicago in 1998 and became a part of the pansexual BDSM community shortly thereafter. He has participated in the operation of several organizations including presidency of The Next
Generation of Chicago (TNGC), participation in the Chicago Leather Leadership Council, and volunteer work for both the LRA and Galleria Domain II of Chicago.
He helped popularize rope bondage in Chicago with participation in the Chicago Rope and Mummification group and from there has taught a variety of topics from rope bondage to D/s theory at lifestyle events and organizations around the Chicago region and the Midwest.
His fetish and BDSM photography has appeared in Eros-Zine among other respected online publications.
Randall "Bear Man" Klett, Treasurer
Joined Board 9/16 Term to 5/19
Known to his mother and his banker as Randall, the rest of the world knows him as The Bear Man (close friends call him Bear.) The Bear Man has been an S/M player and a top since his first husband forced him to tie him up out in the barn 30 years ago The Bear Man is the CEO of The Werks Company and Stompers Boots in Fort Lauderdale. The Companies leave Florida several times a year to take the store on the road to events like Mid Atlantic Leather Weekend, Bears Bikers and Mayhem, CLAW, IML, and several smaller events. The Bear Man is very dedicated to the success of the company (read “a workaholic”). What little time he spends away from work is spent with his partner Christian, their boy matt and pup grayson.
In addition to his duties managing the business, The Bear Man is active in Fort Lauderdale politics having served on Neighborhood Association Boards and Citizens Advisory Boards. He has also served many years as a member of the Board of The Leather Archives & Museum.
Joined Board 5/18 Term to 5/21
Dionne “Choc Trei” Henderson is Ms. Southeast Leatherfest 2018 and a Director / Southeast Regional Coalition Partner Lead for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. She is the only female Head of House co-founding the Leather Houses of Color Coalition.
Previous community service includes the Executive Director, Vice President & Treasurer roles to re-launch ONYX Pearl South East and the Treasurer of Leather Leadership Conference.
The company she founded, 1st CFI, Inc. is her vehicle to support education, training and health of lifestyle participants. Protection of personal privacy & decriminalizing BDSM practices between consenting Adults are her personal causes. As a Versatile, Choc founded SASS, an All-In Meet Up group with GA and MD/DC teams.
Choc is the Head of the House of Trei, a six person unit in Metro Atlanta, GA established for six (6) years. Her home bar is the Atlanta, Eagle. She is the proud mother of twin girls, both Philharmonic level musicians, one who is Deaf / HOH. She was a teen-age runaway & high school drop-out, who now mentors by leveraging an MBA and two decade career in Finance.
Joined Board 4/14 Term to 5/20
Mike has been active in the Seattle men’s Leather and BDSM scene for nearly twenty years. He has been an active member of Seattle Men in Leather since 1998 and has served on its Board. He has been a member of Delta Brotherhood International since 2007 and has served as Chairman and run coordinator for the past three years. He has led several educational workshops at Delta and for Tribal Instinct, the Seattle Men in Leather's educational program. He doesn’t limit his community activity to the leather community and is active in neighborhood/community organizing and volunteering with the Out in Front Service Leadership Program.
Mike has been in private architecture practice since 1998. His primary focus is on single family residential, small multi-family residential, and medical office architecture. Mike has Masters of Architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-arc), a B.A in Mathematics and Secondary Education from the University of Rochester, Certifications in Servant Leadership, and Project Management.
Mike lives in Seattle, WA with his husband Kelley and their dogs. In his spare time, Mike loves to cook, play an occasion mediocre game of bridge, and working on a plethora of home improvement projects.
Joined Board 5/15 Term to 5/21
Steve Ranger has served on the Board of Directors of Centaur MC for eight years. He has held offices of Corresponding Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President and President. In 2004, Steve won the Mr. Double L Leather contest, which fed into the Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather contest. He subsequently finished in the top 10 at the International Mr. Leather 2005 competition. Steve usually can be found as a patron, volunteer, den daddy or judge at Leather events. When not riding his motorcycle, Steve enjoys DC's Capitol Hill neighborhood, where he and his husband Dan have made a home for 23 years and were legally married on April Fools' Day 2010.
Joined Board 5/19 Term to 5/22
Billy Lane cut his leather/BDSM teeth in San Francisco over 30 years ago, working behind the scenes at Mr. SF Leather, Drummer, Ms SF Leather, and IMsL, and other community events, all the while attending as many BDSM parties as he could find!
After moving to the Pacific Northwest, he won Seattle Mr. Leather 1998 and competed at IML XX as the first out FTM contestant, placing in the top ten. For the past 20 years he has been working for inclusion of gay FTM leathermen in gay male BDSM spaces, clubs, and contests.
Billy is currently IML Judges’ Coordinator, a very active Chairman Emeritus of Delta Brotherhood International, and a member of the 15 Association.
Billy lives Yardley, Pennsylvania with his husband, John. When he’s not playing, he enjoys traveling, trail running, snowboarding, hiking, and bicycling.
Joined Board 11/05 Term to 5/20
Joined Board 7/01 Term to 5/20
Rob was first elected to the Board on November 2001 for a one-year term and re-elected to a full three year term in November 2002, and has continued as an active Board member since that time as one of the representatives of the academic community.
He is a full professor on the faculty of the University Libraries at Northern Illinois University and as such has worked since his election to promote awareness of the collections and mission of the Leather Archives and Museum within the professional library and archival communities. This first took the form of serving as a speaker on the program " Daring To Save Our History " sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association at the Association's annual conference in New Orleans on June 28, 1999. He also represented the Archives as a panelist at " The Future of the Queer Past : A Transnational History Conference " at the University of Chicago September 13-17, 2000.
Within the leather community, Rob has been active since the early 1990s, following an hiatus after his coming out into leather in the early 1980s. With his life partner John Schultz, he helped found the Chicago chapter of the Trident International, Trident International Windy City, in 1992, and has served that organization as secretary since that time. At the invitation of the late Tony DeBlasé, he attended the Living In Leather X and XI conferences in Portland, Oregon in October, 1996 and October, 1997 as faculty on panels dealing with regional leather history and the history of leather publications. He also serves as the official historian of the Mid America Conference of Clubs and has assembled a history of the Trident International as well.
As a writer on gay and lesbian studies , he has contributed pieces to the LAM Newsletter, articles on leather culture and history to Bear Book II and Reader's Guide to Gay and Lesbian Studies, " Children of the Satyrs: Naming Patterns of Leather and Levi Clubs " to the journal
NAMES, and an article on the Leather Archives for the December 2002 issue of the Journal of Homosexuality, " Things Visible and Invisible : The Leather Archives and Museum." He served as a judge of the Mr. Ocean State Leather contest in 1997 and has worked as coordinator of the pin collection. Among his writing projects is the collection of gay and lesbian rhetoric, Speaking For Our Lives: Gay and Lesbian Rhetoric, 1892-2000 , where the leather community is represented by Joseph Bean and the poet John Eric Larsen , and “ Negotiating Limits: The Legal Status of S/m in the United States “ in the groundbreaking collection Sadomasochism: Powerful Pleasures ( Haworth, 2006 ) . He also attended the Espoir Grant Conference “ Speaking About the Unspoken “ held at the Leather Archives in February 2009.
From 2001 to 2011 he inventoried and arranged the Anthony F. De Blase Papers, making the collection available for research. He currently serves on the Edward Mogul Visiting Scholar Review Committee and the Academic Committee of the Board of Directors.
Joined Board 4/10 Term to 5/19
Catherine is an educator and an MCC (Master Certified Coach). She offers classes and focused weekend seminars on a wide variety of subjects. She’s logged 4000+ education hours teaching Servant’s Retreat alone. She has served on both local and national boards, judged contests, staffed conferences in a variety of positions, and emceed and produced events/fundraisers. She is currently the co-producer of SouthEast LeatherFest in Atlanta, GA, a board member of Community Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities (CARAS.ws), and a board member of Leather Archives & Museum (LA&M).
Catherine enjoys both having the opportunity to interact with large groups as well as the one-on-one contact that smaller events offer. She has presented classes at Frolicon, Black Rose, South Plains LeatherFest, Living In Leather by NLA-I, San Diego Leatherfest, Southwest Leather Conference, Leather University, Boys Camp, International Ms. Leather, Leather Leadership Conference, Pantheon, TES, Folsom Fringe, Orlando Bash, Great Lakes Leather Alliance, Tribal Fire, Leather Reign, Floating World to name a few of the hundreds of events she’s been privileged to staff. She was presented with Black Rose's Vaughn Keith National
Educator Award in 2002 and Pantheon of Leather Southeast Region Service Award 2006. She has also written a safety manual in use by more than a dozen organizations scattered from coast to coast. You can download a copy at BDSMClasses.com where the handbook is listed under articles.
Catherine created Servant's Retreat I in 2001 which was the first non-tangible skills weekend intensive for slaves/ submissives/ bottoms. She offers SRII, Nine Fold Path Seminar, and Foundations in Mastery from coast to coast. She is known for life changing weekend seminars. She received the Pantheon of Leather Business of the Year award in 2006.
Joined Board 5/18 Term to 5/21
Gayle Rubin is a noted and widely published scholar of gender and sexuality studies, and of leather history and social life. She has taught at the University of California Santa Cruz, the University of California Berkeley, and Harvard University. She is currently Associate Professor of Anthropology and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan. She has been involved in LGBTQ archival preservation since the late 1970’s. She was a founding member of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society and served in the initial Board of Directors of the Leather Archives & Museum from 1992-2000. She currently serves on the Board of Governors of the Leather Hall of Fame.
As a community activist Gayle was one of the founders of Samois, the first lesbian SM organization in 1978, and she helped found the Outcasts in 1984. She was engaged in the early years of the National Leather Association and participated in the Dallas Conference in 1988. In 1991 she was the first woman to judge a major national gay make title contest (Mr. Drummer.) She was named NLA Woman of the Year in 1988, the 1992 Pantheon of Leather Forbearer, and a Leather Archives & Museum Centurion in 2000. She received the 2000 NLA-I Lifetime Achievement Award, was presented with the key to the Folsom Street Fair in 2014, and in 2015 was given the Leather Alliance Philip M. Turner Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2017 Gayle was awarded an Exiles patch.
Joined Board 11/14 Term to 5/20
Robert (Bob) Miller has worked as an attorney and political organizer. He has supported the Leather Archives & Museum and dozens of community organizations through his leadership of the CLAW organization.
He is also the founder of the Leather Hall of Fame awards. He brings legal, community organizing and fundraising expertise to the Leather Archives & Museum
Chuck Renslow, Chairman In Memoriam
Ask just about any Leatherman or leatherwoman you meet who Chuck Renslow is, and you'll get an answer right away. Here are some of the answers: He was the founder in 1950 and photographer of Kris Studios, one of the
earliest and most durable of the physique houses (and the one where leather always had a place). He was also a noted photographer of the Ballet. His dance photography is now in the Newberry Library dance collection In the “Chuck Renslow Dance Photographs” collection. He opened the first leather bar, the Gold Coast in Chicago, in 1958. He was the publisher of Triumph, Mars and Rawhide Male magazines. He was a founder of Second City Motorcycle Club, the first club not on the West coast, in 1965. He was the founder of many bars and sex clubs since the 1960's, including Mans Country, which has survived for more than 40 years. He was among the earliest member, often among the founders, of many gay liberation organizations and movements. He has sat on the Board of fourteen different LGBT organizations. He was the founder of Prairie State Democratic Club in 1980. He was the former owner of the Chicago Eagle. He is the founder of Chicago’s famous White Party, which almost no one notices is his birthday party. Other answers have to do with his friends and lovers: He was the lover of Dom “Etienne” Orejudos for more than 40 years and, by encouraging him and publishing his work, he is partially responsible for the art of Etienne. He was involved with Cliff Raven, Chuck Arnett and Sam “Phil Andros” Steward and encouraged them in their famous work, too.
Chuck Renslow was inducted into the City of Chicago’s Lesbian and Gay Hall of Fame in 1991 and has received just about every honor and awards the gay and leather communities can give him, including the Leather Leadership Award from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in 2011. He was on the Board of Directors of the NGLTF twice, first from 1978 to 1985 and later from 2005 to 2007. He has served as a U.S. Representative to I.L.G.A. International Lesbian and Gay Association. He is the founder, in 1979, of International Mr. Leather, which grew out of his Mr. Gold Coast contest and the experience he had managing A.A.U. physique competitions. When Dom “Etienne”died,Chuck combined his Huge collection of Etienne's art with his own personal archives from his business and his life. These were the foundation of the Leather Archives & Museum. which Chuck co-created with Tony DeBlase in 1991.