“Rebel: D.C. Leather Pride Weekend” kicks off Thursday, May 11 with a meet and greet at the Green Lantern. Other events slated for next weekend include:
• Rebel Heart on Friday, May 12 at the D.C. Eagle
• “Rebel Without a Gown,” a drag/leather event at Cobalt on Saturday, May 13
• R2, a rubber/gear social at the Eagle also on the 13th
• Rebel Yell, a Distrkt C party also on the 13th at the Eagle
• The Bad Reputation tea dance on Sunday, May 14th at the Eagle
Weekend passes are available. Full details on all weekend festivities at dcleatherpride.org.
David “Tigger” Bailey was crowned International Mr. Leather over Memorial Day Weekend in Chicago last year. He moved to Washington this year after several years in Jersey Shore to be with his “chosen family,” which includes partner Dan Ronneberg.
He got into the gay leather scene in the mid-‘80s and says he “felt instantly at home.”
“There was a visible sense of sexual rebellion coupled with an unspoken sense of order,” the 52-year-old Boston native says. “There were also men who looked like me — jeans, boots and shirts. It was casual and very erotic.”
His leather title — he’s only been competing since 2015 — was “entirely unexpected,” but he says he wants to “do my best and be of service.”
Bailey lives in Alexandria and works by day in retail. He enjoys the leather community and volunteering in his free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I’ve been out since 1984 when a fraternity brother introduced me to the gay bars of Boston.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Harvey Milk, Divine, Guy Baldwin and anyone with the guts to live in the public eye.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
The Eagle, both D.C. and Baltimore.
Describe your dream wedding.
Oh, that’s a boundary I’m keeping intact, at least for now.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
I’m only passionate about LGBT issues. The need and threats are too great to dilute energy and resources.
What historical outcome would you change?
Obviously the election.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
“Will & Grace.” For those of us who grew up in the ’70s, I think we can fully appreciate what a milestone that was for our community.
On what do you insist?
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
A sneak peek at some new custom leather motorcycle gear for IML, and an “I love you, all the way” text to my leather family.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“I’m Not Defective”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Not a damn thing.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
After 11 years of sobriety I’m convinced there’s something greater in the universe. In physics the principal holds: energy is neither created nor destroyed, it merely changes states. What that energy looks like is beyond me and I’ve become comfortable not having to have all the answers.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Remember what worked during our last fight for our lives: Act Up, Speak Out, Silence = Death
What would you walk across hot coals for?
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
“Straight acting.” It screams of shame and homophobia. It’s actually incredibly sad when a gay man uses it to describe himself. WTF does that mean anyway? You can’t dance, dress yourself or give decent head? Yeah, not hot!
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
Tie between “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” and “Boys in the Band.”
What’s the most overrated social custom?
I’m not sure social customs that identify us as a culture and a community can be overrated. If anything, they should be preserved with intent.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
My IML contestant medallion.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
That I’m not genetically defective, that I’m not alone in the things I like and that I’m lovable just the way I am.
To be with my chosen family.