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An Open Letter to the Mr. Colorado Leather Foundation and Directors of the Colorado Bootblack Title
I find myself in a difficult position writing this letter. As of the time that I’m writing this letter, it’s been a little shy of a week since I heard from the Executive Director of the Mr. Colorado Leather Foundation about concerns I have about a person who announced their entry into the Colorado Bootblack title. In that time, I’ve spoken to the Titleholder, other community leaders as well as a vast number of others who are invested and involved in the Denver Leather scene. Unfortunately, I’ve not heard back from the Executive Director.
I want to begin to say that I have an enormous amount of respect for the titles, the foundation and their mission. For those who are unaware of the mission statement of the Foundation, let me quote here.
“The mission of the Mr. Leather Colorado Foundation is to support other GLBT charities in their time of need and help create a more perfect Colorado. Wherever there is ignorance, need or injustice, the Mr. Leather Colorado Foundation will offer its resources.”
As someone who is deeply involved in this community, such an open and supportive message is one that I’ve taken to heart. It’s a part of who I am, and guided every step of my involvement with this community and will continue to do so.
The reason for this letter is because one of the contestants for the Colorado Bootblack tite, [DasBootMan][ https://fetlife.com/users/603653] is someone who I have serious reservations about and their ability to uphold this mission.
This individual is a person who has a multi-year history as someone who has continually espoused messages of hate and intolerance. There have been multiple incidents of anti-Semitic slurs and ethnic epithets delivered. This is a person who in a 15 minute you-tube rant (which I believe has been taken down) used such language as “kike”, disgusting Jew bush, expressed hate for cultures of color and more. This person has posted public pictures of neo-nazis bearing swastika tattoos and delivering salutes to the Denver skyline because they “thought the image was sexy”.
This is a person who, I’ve been told, has run individuals off from a local educational group, SKALES, and [has just today announced][ https://fetlife.com/groups/3313/group_posts/3604848] that they will no longer be attending because “I am aware of so many people that refuse to come to SKALES because I attend. I have known about it for a long time.” I have exchanged personal correspondence with 3 people who’ve shared their stories to this effect. I know of other educators who have refused to teach there, or considered cancelling classes because of his attendance.
I’ve had people tell me they felt threatened, that they’ve been called stupid and worthless. I’ve seen this person call others the most vile and disgusting thing they’ve seen on this website. I’ve been personally subjected to this individual’s hate speech. Many others have shared similar stories. As recently as THIS WINTER.
He claims to have turned over a new leaf. To be looking to begin again. As one of the people he’s victimized with his hate speech, I even tried to [extend a suggestion for how best to go about that][ https://fetlife.com/users/603653/posts/1440460]. Instead of taking the time and making amends, he’s decided that he’s just going to run for the title. He can’t seem to decide whether he is going to apologize and make amends and own up to his history, or deny that any of it ever happened (the irony is not lost on my with such a denial). Let his actions speak for his character and course of action.
I ask that he be required to take at least the next year to *show* us that he’s changed. To demonstrate this new hate free self that he’s discovered in this last month. That he come back then to the community once he’s shown remorse for his message of hate against those of us he’s railed against. THEN, he should come back to try to be a representative for our community. If he is legitimate in his desire to cast off this history of hate, I will happily support him as an example of someone overcoming their prejudices, but first *we must be shown this new character*.
### I implore you.
If you do NOT want to be personally represented by someone so willing to drive people away, engage in hate speech, or otherwise denigrate other community members, write to the Mr. Colorado Leather Foundation. Ask them to not give a person so willing to speak for hate and violence a podium. Ask the Foundation to keep Colorado a place that is unwilling to be used as a pulpit for injustice, intolerance and bigotry. Please, follow this link to the [contact us page for the Mr. Colorado Leather Foundation][ https://www.coloradoleather.org/Contact.html] and be heard.
I know that it can be terrifying to speak up in a public forum, that seeing others be shouted down, shouted at and called ethnic slurs makes speaking up harder. I ask you, use this private channel to be heard and counted without fear of retribution. If the form itself is too much, please, take time to note the address, email and phone number at the bottom. Please, use one or all methods to reach out and let the Directors know that giving a pulpit such as this to a bigot is to give Colorado’s Leather scene to those who would preach injustice and ignorance.
Sincerely Yours In Leather,