On Saturday, December 4, 2021, I was chosen as Mr. SF Eagle Leather 2022. I had never thought about running for a leather contest; the limelight associated with leather titles held no interest to me. However, after I read an article in the third issue of the Recon.com magazine, it inspired me to run. The article was about a young Asian man who after winning the 2016 Mr. International Rubber contest received many racist comments and messages, even threats of violence, from other kinksters.
This article had a profound effect, upsetting and unsettling to say the least. There was already a lot of news about the dramatic increase in violence against people who looked East and South-East Asians as they were blamed for COVID-19. In many American cities, even in considered safe spaces like San Francisco, Oakland and New York Chinatowns, Asians were attacked and even murdered. The worst violence was when eight people, six Asian women, were shot dead at an Atlanta spa.
Being an Asian Leatherman, the confluence of the article and situation in the wider society affected me greatly. For some time I was unsure about how I could help but then unexpectedly the idea to run in a leather contest came to mind. I started talking to friends to get more information about leather contests. After a conversation with a recent local Black titleholder which he revealed that he had also received racist and transphobic comments after winning his title was when I decided that I must step forward and speak up. By this time, the date of the contest had been published. All the signs were telling me that I must submit to the wills of the Leather Gods. Subsequently, this is what I said at the contest:
Good afternoon everyone, My name is Ghee Phua. I am here today because of an article on a fetish website about a young Asian man who after winning the Mr. International Rubber title in 2016 received many racist comments and messages from other fetish and kinky people. More recently, even a local title holder has experienced racism and transphobia from within our community. I think it is unacceptable that this is happening. As members of the leather and kinky family, we should know better. We know what it feels like to be marginalized and ostracized. I hope you agree with me that we need to welcome all people into our community.
I like to thank everyone for your support. And I want to welcome everyone to the SF Eagle. The SF Eagle for me is more than just a bar. It is my other home and I hope it will be yours too. Please feel free to say hello. Leather Hugs!
The cover photo is cropped from the original one taken by DOT. Thank you for taking the photo!