Chandler Bearden, 32, heads up community outreach for the MISTER project at Positive Impact, an organization that provides culturally competent mental health resources and prevention services to those affected by HIV. He is also the very sexy Mr. Atlanta Eagle 2010. This weekend, he will pass on his title to a new Mr. Atlanta Eagle as part of the Eagle’s 24th anniversary and the celebration of Atlanta Leather Pride.
GA Voice: Where were you born and how long have you lived in Atlanta? Chandler Bearden: I was born in Savannah, adopted at two weeks and moved to Gray, Ga. I lived there until I was 16 and then moved to Atlanta.
When were you diagnosed with HIV? How does your status affect the work you do at Positive Impact? I was diagnosed with HIV at the age of 23. I believe my status helps me to better identify and relate with the epidemic, and that my work at MISTER allows me to help those in need of related services and to educate those not infected.
What do you love most about being involved in the leather community? I love the ability to be myself with no fear of judgment about the lifestyle I lead. Compartmentalization of an individual’s personality can lead to fractured esteem — this should never be the case no matter how you live your life. Everyone should be as complete as possible at all times.
What words of advice do you have for the new Mr. Atlanta Eagle? As I said in my speech at International Mr. Leather, “I stand before you as the most authentic representation of myself as a leatherman.” This is what I wish for the new Mr. Atlanta Eagle to be able to do.
What’s the favorite tattoo you have and what does it mean? My favorite tattoo is still in progress. It’s a representation of passage into the Egyptian afterlife. It is that moment where it is believed one can become united with all life and death to become a part of all creation. It’s being worked on by Jenny at Timeless Tattoo.
Is there a difference between pleasure and pain? What is it? Yes and no. Finding that difference is a journey taken on each time I enter a scene.
What’s been your favorite thing as Mr. Atlanta Eagle? Becoming a part of the IML Brotherhood. It’s been one of the most touching things I’ve experienced in my life.
How old were you when you came out? Who was your first same-sex kiss with? Officially? I came out in Atlanta at the age of 16 … Unofficially I was kissing boys at 14 back in Gray, Ga. His name was Sedrick.
Describe your dream wedding. Simple. Outdoors. Pagan. (Followed by a private, intimate ceremony in a much darker venue).
If you could choose your last meal, what would it be? Fried chicken and hot sauce.
What would you like the title of your autobiography to be? Strange, I’m actually writing this … the title still eludes me.
What was your last Facebook status update? Had a great time at Royksopp last night with the gang…
How many piercings do you have? 12.
Top photo: Mr. Atlanta Eagle 2010 Chandler Bearden (left) with 2009 Mr. Atlanta Eagle Alan Penrod (by Dyana Bagby)