To live is to be judged. I’m not sure who said that but the reality is that this is a familiar way of life, it doesn’t matter what choices you make there will always be those who don’t agree with your decisions and those who choose to censor the way that you and I live and navigate our way through the world.

I have been reflecting on what it means to be a titleholder. It’s an interesting concept. When I ran for MQL I was very clear that my motive was not to win. It was to challenge myself in my leather journey, to raise visibility of men like myself who have fought to be the men that they are and continue every day to face discrimination and ignorance from some factions of the gay male community, it was to attempt on some small level to make some difference and to demonstrate that many, many leather men are well rounded individuals who contribute in many ways to the wider community. I am now 5 months into my journey as MQL and the lessons I have learnt and continue to learn are immense,

The sash is a source of pride and it is a responsibility. More than ever before actions need to be reflected on as the visibility of a title holder is significant. My mission was simple but the dynamics that surround this never are for any of us.

The reality is that I shared that stage with 4 amazing men who all contribute in different ways to the leather community. They all have put in hours of time in their own fashions and to their own ability to serve some aspect of our community – With less recognition!

That in itself is an immense responsibility for a titleholder. To sit with the knowledge that there are others who are just as worthy who didn’t take out a title, it makes the moments when you are tired, when you feel like a rest instead of a photo shoot, when you are just wanting to be human, a difficult experience.

The reality is that I came to this place very early on in my leather journey but I am continuing to try and do the best I can to promote the wonderful club I am part of, I am very excited to now be prepping for IML and to be marching alongside my Sydney leather community to in the Mardi gras this year, this is my first Sydney Mardi Gras ever and to be doing it in my leathers with the sash is such an immense honour. I am so honoured to be me in this moment in time. I am also looking forward to mentoring the conversations for those men to come for the MQL contest this year in the way my brothers have mentored me so far. Please feel free to come and talk to me about your interest in running for the title. I can honestly say this journey had changed my life in so many ways and I am so grateful for that.

Thanks and until next time.

I’m Maximus.