Community has come a long way since the 1980s
Mr. Long Beach Leather Nicholas Keith, right, chats with Michael Butler at a fundraiser at the Mineshaft tavern in Long Beach recently. © SGE Inc.
MR. LONG BEACH LEATHER Nicholas Keith, who is heading to Chicago next week to compete in the International Mr. Leather competition, recently held a fundraiser at the Mineshaft tavern in Long Beach.
Keith, who has lived in Long Beach for about 12 years, says it is all about fun. “And, it’s for a good cause,” he said.
Among the many organizations for which all the contestants raise money, Keith has done so for AIDS Project Long Beach.
I managed to pull him out of the event at the Mineshaft for a few moments to share his thoughts about the entire year during which he has held the title Mr. Long Beach Leather.
(Watch the video below the fold as Keith tells you all out it in his own words.)
KEITH is eloquent, passionate and articulate about his cause. “It’s all about our community,” he said. “We have a great love the community in Long Beach. We don’t need to go to Los Angeles to party,” he added with a big grin.
Gregarious, outgoing and a social butterfly, Keith is perfect for the part.
At the event at the Mineshaft, his partner, Bert Simon, road captain of the Satyrs Motorcycle Club of Los Angeles, manned the front desk collecting donations from the patrons that evening.
Among those attending was the empress of Long Beach, known officially as Sabreena, but in her other identity as Butch Keeling. As you can see from the picture, she was fabulously attired for the event.
One has to be really motivated to present such a stunning image. Keeling admitted that it took several hours for her to complete her outfit that night.
The Empress of Long Beach, Sabreena, is seen with Bert Simon, road captain of the Satyrs motorcycle club at the fundraiser held by his partner, Nicholas Keith, at the Mineshaft tavern. © SGE Inc.
The leather community has come a vast distance from the days when I discovered it first. Back in the 1970s and 80s, it was regarded as an outlaw, underground and marginalized subsection of the larger gay community.
Over the years it has risen in prominence and come out of the shadows. Today, it makes valuable contributions on many levels.
It is much more than just another form of drag. Leather is an expression of values. Of non-conformity. Of caring. And of contributing.
I salute all the participants who will be representing us in Chicago. May the best man win.
Watch the video and let Nicholas Keith tell you all about it in his own words.