By Timothy Roberts

When I nervously walked down the staircase to the Mineshaft bar for my first BootCo pub night in May 2014, I never imagined that less than a year and a half later I would be representing our club as the 2015 Queensland Leatherboy. At the time I didn’t know that such a distinction existed between men in the leather community, nor did I understand the realm of pups and their handlers, the diaspora of dominant and submissive relationships, or the majority of kinks and fetishes. I was simply a historian, trying to understand how this club had survived through thick and thin over the past 25 years, and how best to share that history in an understandable and engaging way.

As I started my history research I began to see the richness of this club. Sifting through 25 years of magazines and ephemera I found a club that had evolved as it audience did, and which pushed the boundaries when it was needed. I benefited from introductions to new members, regular members, and retired members, who shared fond memories with me and gave me an insight into what it is to be a part of BootCo. I met people who showed me through their kinks, some of which didn’t do it for me, and others which turned me on. Over time, I realized that I was no longer a passive observer of the club, and I was actually enjoying my journey.

Historically speaking, the term ‘boy’ is one that has never reached consensus in the leather community, and subsequently affords a broad range of definitions and interpretations. For some, identifying as a boy may refer to a lifestyle decision, a relationship dynamic, or a state of mind. For me, the term ‘boy’ references where I see myself in my journey in the leather and fetish community. Since joining BootCo. I have learned a lot, and with the generosity and assistance of many men I continue to learn more about myself every day.

When I decided to enter the competition, I considered what I could offer the title and our club over the next twelve months. My predecessor 13 Bootblack has been a tremendous advocate for our club, promoting us nationally and internationally, and making our own events special with his time, energy and ever-welcoming smile. As 2015 Queensland Leather Boy I intend to continue the history research, and am proud to say that I will be speaking about BootCo’s history at the 2015 Australian Homosexual Histories Conference on 13-14 November in Adelaide.

I’m committed to assisting with BootCo’s fundraising activities, which has dispensed about $50,000 worth of donations to a variety of charitable organizations over the years. Remembering the nervousness and intimidation that I faced when first attending pub nights, I want to do my best to make it easier for new members to explore leather culture, by sharing the knowledge that I have gained and being approachable at BootCo. events and in the wider community. If you see me out and about, stop by and say hi!

The next twelve months will no doubt introduce me to a wealth of new experiences. I look forward to the challenges ahead, and would like to thank all of those who have kindly introduced me to leather culture and nurtured my interests. I look forward to seeing you at a pub night in future and representing our club proudly at home and abroad.