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  • 08 Oct 2017 8:28 PM | Lee (Administrator)

    This is Lee, your Membership Liason! Our last newsletter was quite full of events, and didn't really give us on the committee much space to discuss a couple of important pieces of information regarding our upcoming AGM, and your membership. This news post is here to update you on these subjects, so please read and make sure you're across the information!

    We have also provided this information as an email to our members.

    Annual General Meeting

    As we mentioned in our previous two newsletters, our AGM is coming up this month on the 27th October. Our AGMs are an important part of the running of the club, since we want to do what we can to maintain communication with our members, and make sure that, should you have any concerns regarding the club, that you have an open venue to discuss those with us. To make that easier, we will be providing a copy of agenda after 6pm of the 25th of October to all members in another AGM/Membership update (see below for why it will be sent on this date).

    We hope to see you there, but in the event that you cannot attend, you can choose another member to attend and vote on your behalf. We have a proxy nomination form available on the new Forms and Policies section of our website (in the About section above), that you can download, fill out and sign, that allows you to do so. The form can work entirely digitally, and accepts digital signatures (for those PDF programs that support that), so you can fill the form out electronically and email it to your proxy so they can bring it to the AGM (of course, physical signatures are still fine!).

    Our AGM is also where we conduct our elections for the VicLeather committee for the next year. We'd like to extend an invitation to our members, that if you would like to contribute more to VicLeather, we would love to get your nomination! The committee nomination form is now also available on our website, and has been also recently upgraded to work entirely digitally (including digital signatures) as you may need. The form instructions are on the form itself. Please be aware that in order for your committee nomination to be accepted, we need it no later than 6pm on the 25th of October, as we need time to make sure ballots are printed and that details of members up for election are available in the AGM agenda.

    Code of Conduct

    In the last month, in light of some recent events in the wider Melbourne kink community, we in the committee chose to go through VLI's code of conduct, and make sure it's updated and fully available to our members and the public. We've now completed that process, and the document is available on our website (including a printable version that we can take to events as needed). It's located on the Forms and Policies page in the About menu of our website.

    Please do make sure you take the time to read through the Code, as this is the expectation for behaviour at our events.

    Membership Dogtags

    We have had a number of members ask us regarding membership dogtags for this year, so it is clear that our communications around this have been lax. We'd like to provide full details on dogtags for this year to all our members.

    In short, our dogtags are intended to be used year-on-year - once you have your dogtag, unless you lose it, you should not ever need a new one so long as you are a VicLeather member. The intention with our dogtags is that, once you have renewed your membership, you can bring your dogtag to any of our events, at which we will stamp the new year onto the tag. If you're a member that finds it hard to get to our events, but still want to get your dogtags restamped, you can also send your dogtag via mail to us. We will stamp the new year, and then send your dogtag back to your address. If you wish to do this, the address to send your dogtag to is:

    Victorian Leather Inc
    PO Box 13165
    Law Courts, VIC 8010

    From hereonin, we'll be making sure that this process is much more transparent for our members, and the details will be provided on the membership renewal email from now on.

    As an aside, if you have lost your dogtag, please do not hesitate to contact myself (at lee@vicleather.org.au) or the committee (info@vicleather.org.au), and we can make sure a new dogtag is sent to you.


    That's all for this update. If you have any questions regarding your membership, please do not hesitate to send me an email (at lee@vicleather.org.au), and I'll be happy to assist.

    Yours in Leather,

    Lee,
    Membership Liason

  • 07 Aug 2017 9:37 PM | Lee (Administrator)

    As we mentioned in our last newsletter, on the 30th July VicLeather held a private "Wear Your Leathers" screening, at the Palace Kino cinema, of the Tom of Finland biopic movie, about Touko Laaksonen a who became the iconic Artist "Tom Of Finland". We were absolutely floored by the level of interest in the film, and it was wonderful to see so many of our members and supporters come out to support our fundraising for the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives The generosity of the Community raised $900.00 for the archives!

    Tom of Finland's art had and has still inspired many of the Leather people I had spoken to at the event, regardless of gender. The movie was well shot, well acted and nuanced. The underlying story of being who you are is brave and the difference between a homophobic community like where Tom was living in Finland, versus life in San Francisco in the 70's was one that hit home for a number of people, I saw more than a few tears at points in the movie and laughter at other events that may have been lost on those who aren't a part of the Leather/Queer/Kink community.

    Thank you to all who attended to make this event so great, taking over a venue with the scent and creaking of Leather, watching a movie together was pretty amazing!! Super special thanks to Committee member Lee for arranging and running such a wonderful event. Thank you to Corey aka Pup Zak for the Pics.

  • 17 Jun 2017 9:03 AM | Lee (Administrator)

    This is Lee, Your Membership Liason! Our new yearly renewal process has now started, (if you've not received an email yet, you should in the next day or so). As we are on a new system this year, I wanted to answer some questions a few members have already been asking me, to take a bit more of the work out of your renewal for this year.

    For easy reference, this FAQ has been emailed to our members as well, however in the event that you miss the email, we want to make sure you have the details available here.

    How long do I have to renew?

    Officially, your renewal is due on July 1st, as that's when your previous membership started from. However, we have built in a grace period into our systems, that you have 30 days after that date to complete your renewal with us before your membership lapses. We will be sending reminder emails during this period, so if you need some time before you can renew, we will be keeping in touch with you during this period.

    Something's gone wrong! Help!

    If you're having issues renewing under the new system, I am here to assist! You can email me at lee@vicleather.org.au and I can help get you back on track. In fact, if you're having issues with any part of our website or membership system, I'm the committee member in charge, so you can always send me an email with any issues you might be having.

    I'm not comfortable paying online for my membership. How else can I renew?

    We absolutely understand that some members may not want to pay their membership renewal online. We will be making sure that committee members are available at our next few events to take payment for those who wish to pay in person.We are able to accept either cash or eftpos/credit card in person for renewal.

    Our next event on our calendar will be Gear Up, on Friday, 23rd June at the Yorkshire Hotel from 7pm onwards. We will, as always, keep our members posted on new events as they are organised. If you're not likely to be able to get to our events, we're happy to help make other arrangements, so please give me a contact at lee@vicleather.org.au to do so.

    I'd like to change my membership type while I'm renewing. How do I do that?

    If you've recently moved into/out of Victoria, or if you're both now part of a couple or larger family, or are now able to claim a concession, now is an excellent time to change your membership type. You can either do so via your VicLeather Profile online, and this will create a new invoice that you can pay as per normal. We will then be able to void the previous invoice for you.

    For changing to/from a Couple or Family membership, the process is a little more involved (As we'll need to help you move the other members to the new membership type as well). Please do not hesitate to contact myself at lee@vicleather.org.au and I will be happy to help you complete the process.

    I'm part of a Couple/Family membership. How does renewal work for us?

    In your case, there will be one member who will be receiving invoices and renewal notices - the other members in the membership don't need to worry. If you're a Couple/Family member and aren't sure who's the contact, or (as above) your family/couple has changed, please contact myself at lee@vicleather.org.au, and I'll be happy to assist.

    What if I've already decided I don't want to be a member anymore?

    If you've made the decision that VicLeather is no longer for you, this saddens us greatly, but we do understand. Again, you can contact myself at lee@vicleather.org.au, and I can make sure your membership lapses early, so you can avoid any further email reminders. Alternatively, you can simply not complete the renewal process, and your membership will lapse automatically around August 30th.

    If this is the route you are going, we would appreciate any feedback you've had regarding your membership. If you've had issues with us, we'd love to know why so we can continue to improve VicLeather for our members. (As a note, we're not shy about feedback in general - members are always welcome to send an email to the committee at info@vicleather.org.au if you have any feedback for us).


  • 12 Jun 2017 4:17 PM | Lee (Administrator)

    The International Mr. Leather and International Mr. Bootblack competition in Chicago was just last month! We're privileged to get a special report from VicLeather member Alex, who was in Chicago to support our competitors:

    On the weekend of the 25th-29th of May the International Mr. Leather and International Mr.Bootblack (IML/IMBB) contest took place at the Congress Plaza Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. The event starting on the Thursday of the Memorial Day long weekend, is centred on the contest however for those attending there were also many other directly and indirectly associated parties and events including the vendor market, Kink U education sessions run by Titans of the Midwest, various Puppy events and workshops, cocktail nights, BLUF social, and dance parties.

    Throughout the weekend there were displays from the Leather Archives & Museum celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the International Mr. Bootblack title along with Women’s Leather History Program Reception with run by Mel Leverich (LA&M Archivist/Collections Librarian) and slave angie, (International slave 2014), who hosted a space for women, trans, and gender-diverse Leather folk at IML.

    The feeling of walking through the corridors of the hotel and into the lobby with Leather folk atevery turn was quite special. For some people, this was a first-time experience whereas for many others at the hotel, IML & IMBB is an annually attended event.

    Both international titles have their own separate judging panels. International Mr. Bootblack 2017 included IMsBB 2017; Elisa and IMBB 2016; Erick Joseph. Erick had previously been in Australia to judge the Australian Leatherman and Australian Mr. Bootblack 2017.

    The IML contestants are judged on their interview in front of the panel (60%) and then the they are judged on their stage presence, better known as “Pecs and Personality” (40%). On the night of the International Mr. Leather Contest, the Top 20 finalists were announced on stage where they each gave short speeches to the crowd that filled the Auditorium Theatre and of course another display of their fine selves in their more revealing leathers.

    The IMBB contestants are observed and evaluated by the judges during Open Polishing which was 19 hours over three days (50%) where contestants’ interactions with the public, speed of Bootblacking and results were considered, while the public could cast their ballots (20%). The interview of the Bootblack contestants (10%) is conducted in front of the judging panel however the stage presence at the Bootblack Party with their impromptu questions and answers comprised the other 10% of the contest scoring.

    Running this year for International Mr. Leather from Australia were Gerry Ebert (Australian Leatherman 2017) and VicLeather member Brad Redmond (Laird Leatherman 2016). They were among the 63 other contestants from the USA, South America, Canada, UK and continental Europe. For International Mr. Bootblack 2017, our Australian representative was VicLeather member Rhys (Australian Mr. Bootblack 2017).

    After all was done, the winner of International Mr. Leather 2017 is Ralph Bruneau (Mr. GNI Leather 2016) from Los Angeles, California! The First Runner-up is Geoff Millard (Mr. San Francisco Leather 2017) and Second runner-up is Joe King (Mr. Leather Europe 2016) from the UK. For International Mr. Bootblack 2017 is Ryan "Pawlish" Garner-Carpenter (Independent Candidate) from Cincinnati, Ohio. Our own Australian Mr. Bootblack 2017 Rhys was our national representative in the 25th International Mr. Bootblack contest and did us proud, winning the IMBB First Runner Up! Even prouder, Rhys was voted by the IMBB 2017 contestants as the winner of the Brotherhood Award, bestowed upon the most helpful and friendly contestant that year! Well done to Rhys for his incredible run!

  • 06 May 2017 8:13 PM | Lee (Administrator)

    Our President Hunter has just recently returned from the US, where he, MissKit and our Treasurer Annie attended the International Ms Leather and Bootblack competition! Annie even took the honour of hoisting the Australian flag during the opening ceremony! For those of us not fortunate enough to attend, Hunter has offered the following report:

    On the weekend of the 20-23rd April the International Ms. Leather and International Ms.Bootblack (IMsL/IMsBB) Contest Weekend took place at the Doubletree Hilton in San Jose, California. The Competitions are the spine the weekend is anchored around, but there are many things to do, with vendor markets, workshops, pool parties, hospitality suites, room parties, bootblacks and huge dungeons!

    There is something lovely about pulling into a hotel and seeing many leather-clad folk inside and outside as you make your way through to your room and registrations. That the non leather folk are the unusual ones for the whole weekend, a kinky oasis. For many this event is an annual trip, and it's incredible seeing so many happy leather women and men cruising, flirting, talking and generally being fun and welcoming to everyone.

    It's not just for women! it was happily noted by a number of folks I spoke to that there were more men attending this year, and they were warmly welcomed, with a "Men Of IMsL" T-shirt even being available at registration. The Leather Archives and Museum were in attendance, and fundraising for the Women's Leather History Project and for the Leather Archives themselves. It was wonderful to see young leather folk actively wanting to know about their history.

    On Friday everything started in earnest. Workshops, parties and of course, the contests!

    International Ms Leather is wonderful in its ability to bring people from all over the world to attend and compete. This year's international contestant was Fiona Horsley from South Africa, who was competing in the IMsBB contest. An Aussie was on the judging panel for the IMsL Class, Ms Lydia Joie Divine (Ms Sydney Leather 2013/14), who when spoken to after the judging was completed said "It was a very hard choice, they are all wonderful competitors"

    The contestants in the each contest are judged by a group of judges, with Olympic style scoring, with IMSL and IMsBB having separate judging teams.

    The Ms Leather contestants are judged on an interview and short teaching presentation (40 points), hot-wear and pop question (10 points), fantasy performance (20 points), and speech and formal wear (20 points).

    Ms Bootblack contestants are judged on technical knowledge and skill (30 points), a personal interview (30 points), pop question and bootblack image (10 points), and speech and formal wear (20 points).

    The competition actually starts many weeks before the competition, from the moment contestants send their registration, with competitors given deadlines to get things sent back to the competition, and then they contestants are busy all weekend from the Thursday through to the Saturday late evening, with interviews, photos, appointments, silent auction arranging and so on. It is so much more than just a one night thing.

    The winners are announced on the Saturday night after the Pop Question and Fantasy section. The Winner of the International Ms Leather Title was Girl Complex, from Oakland, California, while the Winner of the International Ms Bootblack Contest was Elisa, from Detroit, Michigan.

    Hopefully we can get them to come and visit us here in Melbourne, like Sarge (IMsL 2015) and Meghan (IMsBB 2016) have done.


  • 27 Jan 2017 5:14 PM | Lee (Administrator)

    This Sunday is Midsumma's Pride March, and we're strong encouraging any member that wants to to march with us this year! This post is to prepare anyone who wishes to march on Sunday, so that things run as smoothly as possible!

    How to get there

    Due to the large crowds of people and less parking than usual due to the closure of Fitzroy St, we're strongly recommending people arrive by Public Transport if that's an option for you. The 3a, 16 and 96 trams will be running normal schedules until 1:30pm, after which they'll stop running down Fitzroy St until 5pm (although they will still run, please see this link for further details), and the Route 12 trams to Park St/Fitzroy St St Kilda will operate to a normal timetable. Please be aware that Fitzroy St will be closed between 1:00pm and 5:00pm, so people choosing to drive in should plan their routes accordingly. There is a drop off zone for people at the mustering area on Lakeside Dr (see the map below), but there is no official parking for marchers, so again, drivers plan accordingly.

    When & where to meet

    Our marching group will be in Wave C, Group 10 (so C10). All marchers will muster at the Oval nearest St Kilda Sport Club, near the corner of Lakeside Dr and Fitzroy St. You are NOT required to register yourself at the Sports Club this year, so simply head to the Oval and come and find us. There will be marshals on the day to help you find us, so if you do get lost feel free to ask a marshal!

    The VicLeather committee contact on the day will be Lee, so if you have any issues, you can give him a contact on his mobile, 0401 304 434. You can also contact him before the day on the same mobile, or email the committee at info@vicleather.org.au.

    All groups are required to be at Muster by 1:30pm, so please make sure to allow extra time so you can get there before the deadline, and Lee will be making sure he's at Muster by 12:15pm. To help you out, here's a map of the muster area:


    What to Bring & Wear

    We strongly encourage members marching with us to proudly wear their Leathers for this march, but wearing your Leathers is not required. If you're not wearing your leathers, we'd like to ask that you try to wear Leather colours (so Black, White, Red and Blue) to try and keep our section well-coordinated. Whatever you decide to wear for Pride March, please make sure that it is street legal.

    Current weather forecasts are saying that the weather on the day will be partly cloudy, with a top temperature of 28°C, although it appears that the march itself will be happening before the maximum is reached. We're recommending people bring their own water, and to stay sun smart - make sure to bring sunscreen! There will be places to refill drink bottles at the muster.

    You are welcome to bring Leather Flags if you have any, or anything else you'd like to use to celebrate (but again, keep it street legal), and we will have a number of flags available for people to carry on the day as well. Again, we'd recommend that people bring water, as conditions will be reasonably warm and there will be little shelter on the muster oval. Since we are marching, we'd recommend that you otherwise try to pack light for the day where possible.

    After the March

    After the march there will be an family event at Catani Gardens from around 3:30 onwards, which we'll be hanging around for. If you want to see us on the day but aren't up for marching, you're welcome to come find us at Catani Gardens. There will be food and music, so do come down and enjoy the festivities! Also, for those interested, one of our members Erin Kyan will be giving a short speech at the Gardens at around 4:25pm.

    We're looking forward to see our members at the March, or after the March! Again, if you have any concerns at all, please contact the committee at info@vicleather.org.au, or contact Lee on 0401 304 434. If you're planning to go to our January Gear Up tonight (Friday 27/01/17), Lee will also be on hand there to answer any questions you might have! We hope to see plenty of our members there!


  • 14 Dec 2016 10:12 PM | Lee (Administrator)

    It has recently been brought to light that News Corp is one of Midsumma Festival's Gold sponsors, and there has been a lot of talk in the LGBTIQA+ Communities about whether they were going to attend or support Midsumma.

    On December 7th, SameSame reported the following:

    Midsumma said in a media release: ‘Midsumma Festival would like to inform LGBTQIA+ communities that after robust consultation, Midsumma will continue the current media partnership with the Herald Sun and Leader publications for the remaining 2017 Festival period.’

    The Midsumma festival is one of VicLeather's favourite times of year. However, for the upcoming year (2017) we will not be running a stall at Midsumma Carnival as a response to the Midsumma Board keeping News Corp on as a Gold sponsor. After the way News Corp publications have attacked the Safe Schools program and other parts of the LGBTQIA+ Community in articles and commentary in the Herald Sun and other Leader publications, the standing Committee does not believe that we should be contributing money to Midsumma for 2017. The values of News Corp and VicLeather are not aligned.

    We will, however, be marching in Pride March as visibility within the greater community is an intrinsic part of VicLeather's goals. We are proud to wear our Leather, We are proud to create safe space for our leather community members to march with us, as Pride March is a celebration and is a political act in and of itself. The Leather community has often been the mortar to help others stand strong in the LGBTQIA+ Community and helping them feel safe. From Leather to Drag and all in between.

    If you are interested in marching with us at Pride March, Please email us info@vicleather.org.au.


  • 28 Jun 2016 7:48 PM | Hunter (Administrator)

    VicLeather Members, Please check your membership email with regards to our upcoming SGM.

    Date: Friday July 22nd 2016

    Location: Piercing HQ 1B/12 Hoddle St Abbotsford

    Time: 6.30pm for a 7pm sharp start

    We ask for your support and attendance at the SGM to implement this important change to the VLI constitution.

    It is our intention that this will be a short meeting in order to attend GearUp at the Yorkshire immediately following its completion.

    In Leather,

    The Vic Leather Committee

  • 11 Jun 2016 3:17 PM | Hunter (Administrator)

    Members, Please check your email to see if you have an email from us regarding log in details for our new website. If you don't, please check your spam folder/s and then get in contact with us at info@vicleather.org.au.

    In Leather,

    Hunter.

  • 09 Jun 2016 12:41 PM | Hunter (Administrator)

    Winter is here! There is nothing like the scent of warm leather..... join your Leather Community for Dinner/Drinks by a warm fire on a cool winters night before heading out to the rest of your weekend! In Melbourne there is always a lot on for the kink community. 

    Gear Up is Vic Leather's once a month catch up for the Leather and Leather curious parts of the Kink community to meet and talk in a relaxed, easy atmosphere. All genders and sexualities welcome.

    if you are new and wishing to join us - look for the group of people in Leather, or the Leather Pride Flag.

    Where: The Yorkshire Stingo, Abbotsford. 48 Hoddle St.

    Wear: Leathers, Casual, Street Legal

    When: 24th june, from 7pm till 10ish

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