Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2024 explains title, significance

Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2024

David Mosqueda wins the Mr. Los Angeles Leather competition March 23 at the Falcon North bar in Long Beach.Eagle 563

When I walked into my first leather bar, Eagle 562, now known as The Falcon North in Long Beach, I felt at home.

I just happened to stumble upon the space while the assembled crowd picked their next leather representative. Pup Yoshi was crowned Mr. Eagle 562, and it’s been an honor knowing him and growing closer with him as I embarked on my leather-title journey.

In August, I  ran for my first leather title, Mr. Cachondo Leather, and won. 

Mr. Cachondo is a leather title designed to keep Latinx representation in the Los Angeles leather scene. 

In the months leading up to the Mr. Los Angeles Leather competition, I traveled across the country, and even internationally to Mexico, to be sure the title and its message remained visible. This also remained my platform as well as to maintain looks for leather that were inspired by traditional Mexican vaquero motifs.

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Mr. Los Angeles Leather

For me, leather was a way to put on a superhero costume, and as I started to go to leather spaces, one thing was always said to me by other Latinx folks, “I don’t feel like I belong.”

When I started building my looks, that pushed me in the direction of staying true to my culture. That was the most important thing, even though so many people said that I would lose competitions straying far from the classic leatherman looks.

I won being myself, and I will continue to do so.

It was important to me to stand on that stage in a charro traje, a suit my grandma always wanted to see me wearing through my childhood, hoping I’d grow up to be a mariachi.

I honor her, and I honor my culture through my leather, and I honor all the folks that felt their brownness isn’t welcome in leather spaces

I’m happy to be a Latinx leatherman, and I’m proud to wear the Mr Los Angeles Leather sash. 

Leather competitions were born out of  need in the 1980s and 1990s to raise money for folks during the peak of the HIV/AIDS crisis.

Bars hosted events to fill the room and make the contests entertaining enough to keep people coming back year after year. This tradition continues, and now they work to fundraise for an array of LGBTQ+ causes.

Leather contest categories

The contests have three general categories, and contestants are scored on speaking and presentation. The categories progress by having contestants show up in fewer clothes, but ultimately keeping contestant comfort in mind. 

In the formal look, contestants present their best leather attire, from head to toe, and explain their platform in a 90-second speech. Bar wear showcases what a person would wear on a night out to a leather bar. This may not be so formal, but more casual, still keeping leather as the focus of the looks. This portion also involves contestants answering a “serious,” randomly selected question provided by the judges. 

Jockstrap/sexy wear encourages folks to showcase whatever makes them feel sexy and confident. Traditionally this part was solely meant for jock straps, but the years have allowed for more creativity.

I’m very comfortable wearing little clothes, but it was definitely an experience to be judged in my jockstrap. Still, I kept my confidence up.

This portion also includes contestants answering a funny question to help them break any nerves they may feel standing nearly nude in front of a large audience. 

Then, after it’s all finished, the judges scores are tallied, and a Mr. Los Angeles Leather is crowned. 

After the win

This is where I find myself today, a Long Beach boy that made it all the way to representing the greater L.A. area and all the kinky, leather folks, in a sex positive way. A lot of my work has been surrounding this topic as a supervisor at an organization focused on HIV prevention and care services for Latinx individuals in East L.A. and Boyle Heights.

A lot of my work as a leatherman has also focused on paying homage to why we are here. This means having fun, and also being charitable, how do we as leather folk step up for those more marginalized for ourselves.

For many, leather allows them to live out fantasies and build on a confidence that perhaps is hidden. It’s like we become a true version of ourselves, an authentic version.

As Mr. Los Angeles Leather, I want to be sure that everyone feels encouraged to be their authentic selves and to help our spaces  accept folks as their authentic selves, whatever form that may take.

About the author

David M. Mosqueda

David Mosqueda is a community sexual health worker, author, and filmmaker who was born and raised in Long Beach. He has spoken around the nation on HIV prevention, harm reduction, and queer inclusive care. On a warm weekend, you may see him strolling through the gayborhood or dancing the night away at Falcon North.

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