International Mr. Leather 2024 2nd runner up is David Mosqueda

International M. Leather 2024

David Mosqueda waves to the crowd during the International Mr. Leather 2024 competition.

David Mosqueda, Mr. Leather Los Angeles 2024, was the second runner up at International Mr. Leather 2024 competition in Chicago May 27. The second runner up was Steven Crespo. Jamal Herrera-O’Malley won the title of International Mr. Leather 2024. Here, Mosqueda shares his thoughts on what the win means to him.

I’ve completed a story here. A few people’s stories. And if you’ve been with me on this journey over the past 8 months you’ve heard it all.

  • For my Mr. Cachondo competition I told the story of my black hat. It was the last thing my grandma bought me back in 2019, just before she passed away. I said “I like to say this hat has been to heaven and back with me, because it has been with me through some of the most joyous moments of my life. Every month I wear it as part of my leather looks, here at Cachondo, with all of you dancing the night away.”
  • At Mr. Leather Los Angeles 2024, “My grandma raised me watching old Mexican charro films, she wanted me to grow up to be just like them. I don’t know if she thought it would look this way, but I feel pretty god damn sexy in it.”
  • And to complete the trilogy, at International Mr. Leather 2024, “My grandma gifted me my first leather, a pair of black charro botines, and the first thing she did, was make sure I knew how to dance in them, and now I’m the sexy singing dancing Latino leather man you see before you.”

Every time I told a story of my life with my grandma I thought, “Well, if I lose here, there would be no doubt how loved I felt by this woman and how she raised me to be a noble, powerful, and respectful man.” And I’ve been fortunate enough to go on speaking about her time and time again. I was told once, “do you have to talk about her so much, don’t you think you should choose a different theme?” If she were yours, trust me, you’d want the world to know it everyday too.”

International Mr. Leather 2024

Jamal Herrera-O’Malley, center, wins the title of International Mr. Leather 2024 in Chicago May 27. David Mosqueda, left, was second runner up, and Steven Crespo, right, was runner up.

I have honored so much of the world she showed me, Infante’s looks, Zapata’s flare, and Solis’s quiet power. But most importantly I’ve honored every memory I have of her. And this beautiful little personality I’ve created by doing so has attracted so many curious people, and inspired so many other Latinx folks who have felt disconnected from their roots to step up in their leather. What an honor. An absolute honor.

But there’s another part of this story. In 2011 when Leonardo Iriarte became the first Latino to win Mr Los Angeles, in a city where Latinx individuals are a plurality and not a minority, he was met with prejudices, biases, and xenophobia. People in the leather community wanted him to be dead before their representation. They called for the removal of his title for not having proper documentation. Through it all he persisted. He endured because his presence was more vital now.

Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2024 explains title, significance

In turn, he has now been a champion in the leather community, starting up events across LA, like Cachondo, the Latino leather/ gear night I am fortunate enough to represent. The only by Latinx for Latinx title to currently exist in LA county. I was the first Mr Cachondo to win Los Angeles, and the first to be sent to IML, and now I’m the first Mr Cachondo to take the podium at IML, coming in third place. A feat I never thought I’d be able to claim, I was happy just to be participating and to share my journey.

In LA, I mentioned a leatherman said to me, “the Latinos came and took over, but we didn’t take over, in fact, we are just getting started!” And let me reiterate that, as I stand on the first podium at IML to have a fully Latinx representation, and as I was told at dinner last night the first time it has been all POC, the reality of us just getting started has changed to us having arrived!

And the full class of IML 46 truly represented that the current of kink of leather and of fetish is shifting to a more diverse, more unique interpretation than what we have seen. I learned so much chatting, well I don’t speak much, more listening to others journeys and feeling inspired by all of my class. Sitting in to listen to the speeches of my class the day after the competition was truly magical. So many emotions and journeys that we didn’t get to see and hear as a full gathering. I encourage us all to reach out to the competitors and ask that they share with you some of their stories. Like I said, They are truly inspiring.

And I stand by what I said on stage this Sunday, “I want to encourage everyone to show up as their most authentic selves, but more importantly, that we be ready to accept whatever authenticity that walks through our doors.”

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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