McCormick, Mr. Rio Grande, is a female-to-male transgender man who also happens to be in a wheelchair. A self-proclaimed “leather gimp,” he won the title over Memorial Day weekend at IML 2010 in Chicago.
Bearden finished in the Top 20, making Atlanta proud. You can view pictures of the Mr. Atlanta Eagle contest here.
And while I don’t know much about the leather community, I have learned it is not only about what you wear and what you like to do in private, but who you are and how you serve your community.
In his speech, McCormick thanks his leather family for supporting him unconditionally.
“When I first transitioned I was told that I would never be accepted … and I would never be able to take my shirt off in public,” McCormick said. “Standing here as a strong, confident leather man is proof to the contrary.”
Here’s a video highlight of the competition, including McCormick’s full speech. And if you watch when the Top 20 call out comes you can see Bearden give McCormick a warm hug.
I say kudos to all the judges and the contestants for this milestone in leather history, but also queer history. What do you think?
Top photo: International Mr. Leather 2010 Tyler McCormick, the first trans man to win the competition, is congratulated after winning the top honor on Sunday. (Via www.imrl.com)