was involved with the Tarheel Leather Club during the "Beat Jesse" campaign.
He lived in San Francisco in recent years, acting an "Ambassador at Large"
for the club. Gary died from AIDS complications in December, 1995. He
will be missed.
material (c) 1995, CCD. All rights reserved.
is an Ambassodor at Large?
Ambassador at Large is anyone who has been a full member of the club and
is going to be moving for job reasons or other specific reasons to another
region of the country or even the world and is elected on by the membership
to retain full member status as an ambassador, much as we have an ambassador
to France from the United States, they have an ambassador to San Francisco
did you first come to TLC?
I was working in Charlotte at the time and had gotten a job offer from
a department store in Greensboro and the people that had sort of pushed
for me to get that job were members of TLC and one of them still is. When
I got the job offer from the company in Greensboro, they offered for me
to come up and stay with them. I had already known about the Tarheel Leather
Club prior to that and decided to join it because I found alot of fellowship,
brother and sisterhood in Leather.
are some of the aspects of TLC's work that you feel are important to the
community at large?
of the things that really got me excited about TLC was their wanting immediately
after they formed the club to jump into the political arena with the Beat
Jesse campaign. I enjoy getting out there and fighting for what I believe
in and this gave me the opportunity to do just that. When Jesse Helms
was going up for reelection, I couldn't sit back and watch him be reelected
without trying to do something to keep him from continuing his bigotry
and hatred campaign.
me about how you connect spirituality with Leather. GH--I have been exploring
Native American spirituality. For myself, it has alot to do with rituals,
rituals both in spirituality as well as sexuality. There are rites of
passage, as it were, in both the spiritual context and the sexual context
and Leatherpeople are able to express that through their own rituals where
I am not only able to do that sexually, but also in my spiritual life.
It's very enlightening on both ends of the spectrum.
RAR--What do you think the appeal of Leather is
for some people, what draws people to it?
guess that the smell, the look, the feel, that all has something to do
with what may initially attract someone. The spirit that's embodied in
wearing the leather, not necessarily the leather, but just the shear emotion
and raw energy that is produced by Leather and Leatherpeople is something
I've never felt before. It's amazing, the connection that you can have
with someone through that raw energy. It blows your mind.
would you compare someone's vest or colors to a kind of personal history?
I think there's a huge comparison between the pins on a vest and someone's
history. It shows the people that they have come in contact with, it shows
events they've been to, the places they've been, things they've done.
There are alot of pins on here that have nothing to do with Leather-related
functions for me--it has alot to do with my life as an individual. I am
an individual first then everything else falls into line behind that.
Being a Leatherperson only is a part of that, being a Gay man is a part
of that, having AIDS is part of that--it all encompases, along with a
number of other things, who I am.