Pre-Philly Leather Weekend Interview with Scott Daddy

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

Scott Mallinger, who also goes by the name Scott Daddy, has had an interesting year as Mr. Philadelphia Leather 2008. He has been involved with the gay community before that—he is the former publisher and editor the local gay newsweekly Au Courant. He’s also written for national magazines like The Advocate and Instinct. As he got involved in the leather community, he continued his writing tradition by starting up a leather column/blog and audio podcast called Leather Bound. When he won the title of Mr. Philly Leather, he used it to document his experiences as a leather titleholder.

With his year as a titleholder coming to an end, Scott is preparing to be one of the judges at the 26th Philadelphia Leather Contest, where there will be competition for both Mr. And Ms. Philly Leather title. He was gracious to take some time from his busy schedule to do an interview for PhillyGayCalendar.

I start the interview by asking Scott what made him to decide to run for the Mr. Philly Leather title in the first place.

“I always wanted to feel like a part of something larger than myself, and part of something that was personally meaningful to me,” he replied. The more I began to identify as a leatherman, the more I wanted to feel like a part of a larger leather community. So running for a title seemed like a good way to achieve that.”

When asked what was the highlight of his year as Mr. Philly Leather, he replied: “For me, the highlight was the actual contest itself! It was pushing myself through my comfort zone and coming out stronger for it. I felt like a winner just for getting through it–the title was just icing on the cake.” As for the lowlights, “dealing with some incredibly negative forces in the national and local community who seemed hellbent on creating infighting and bitterness in order to promote themselves or their events.”

Is the blog and audio podcast difficult to put together? “It’s actually surprisingly easy to do the podcast, and a great way to increase an audience. I’ve found so much support along my journey through the Leather Bound column and podcast, and it’s really reinforced for me how common my struggles and my victories are– we’re all in this together.”

I ask him how and where does he see Philly’s leather community fitting into the city’s larger gay community. “I suspect that Philly’s leather community is probably much more charity focused than most of the community at large, much less self-centered. Perhaps we are trying to counter sex-negative messages by proving our worth… or perhaps we just use raising money as an excuse to get together… but we definitely seem to be more focused on raising funds and educating than most community sectors I’ve been associated with or encountered.”

Scott is looking forward to judging the 2009 Philly Leather Contest. “Leather contests are always fun, so I’m definitely looking forward to it. It’s great to see old friends and new faces, and to encourage new leadership and opportunities to shine among our own. And my stepping down speech will be my last public speaking gig for awhile, so I look forward to getting that over and done with!”

So what are planning to do after you step down on November 15?

“I’m looking to move (though still in the Philadelphia area), so most of my energies will be focused there for awhile… but if our next titleholder(s) are interested in a mentor, I’d be very happy to stay involved but in the background. I have learned that the spotlight is definitely not for me.”

I ask him if he has any advice for men or women starting to get involved in the leather/fetish/S&M community. “Join a club. Get out and meet people OUTSIDE of online chat rooms and hookup sites. Learn history. Learn techniques. Get referrals about playmates. Be smart, be safe, and be open to an amazing world of fellowship and mind-boggling sex.” As for anyone looking to run as a contestant in the various Mr/Ms Leather contests, he replied: ” Be yourself. Represent who you truly are. You’ll have more fun, you’ll keep your respect, and it really is a great opportunity for people to get to know you in a new way. And if you win, there’s always the promise of sash-chasers! (Although in my experience, they are as mythical as unicorns!)”

Finally I ask Scott if he thinks that the gay community has been complacent in the past decade, given that there has been some loud protesting and backlash in the wake of the anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 referendum passing in California last week. Not since the glory days of ACT-UP and Queer Nation in the late 80’s/eraly 90’s has the gay community been in such an uproar, I take note.

“The only thing that unites gays is sexual orientation. AIDS had a powerful impact because it made us fight for our lives, not just equal rights. And not surprisingly, the leather community was one of the first groups to respond strongly and powerfully and clearly on the need to protect ourselves and each other, and to provide support to those in need. Prop 8 did seem to generate a good deal of buzz, but California was only one of three states that rejected gay marriage rights. I don’t know if we’re complacent as a community, but I think we need to better frame our desires and demands. Prop 8 might have been on the surface about gay marriage rights, but what made us passionate about it was what is behind it all–gays still do not have equal rights and protections under the law. Until we can better frame our arguments, I suspect we’ll continue to fail in small battles, but I’m still hopeful that we’ll win the war. It starts with building community, and community is not only gays but our friends and allies and supporters of all civil rights.”

The Philadelphia Leather Contest Weekend starts with the contestants and judges’ Meet and Greet at the Bike Stop on Friday, November 14 at 10:00 PM, following by the annual Kinky Karnival at the Top of the Stop (where the proceeds go to the contest winners’ travel fund). The 26th Philadelphia Leather Contest will be held at the Top of the Stop on Saturday, November 15. Doors open at 6:00 PM and there is no entry fee. The contest goings on will be video-broadcast live to all floors. On Sunday, November 16, the Philadelphians MC will host their annual Victory Social for the winners and all the contestants at the Bike Stop from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

Read Related Posts...