Photos on this page by Janet Ryan courtesy of Leatherati.
IMsL returned to the West Coast this year. The program addresses the discussion that had been happening since the previous contest related to the IMsL travel fund. In 1996, $7100 was raised. Then there were bad or bounced checks and disputed auction purchases. Jill, IMsL 1996, and Amy Marie, producer through Bare Images Productions, LLC and International Ms Leather, came to an agreement about the travel fund payment but the topic was “the hot topic of the leather circuit” coming into July 18-20, 1997 in San Diego, CA. The controversy did not deter the silent auction buyers in 1997 who raised over $7000 for the IMsL Travel Fund
The contest was held at Spreckles Theater with Brian Dawson and Miranda von Stockhausen, winner of the 1996 International Ms Luggage contest, as the MCs. The judges were Leslie Anderson, Cool Cat (the first International Ms Deaf Leather), Alan Selby, Stephanie Locke, Thom Dombkowski, Kevin Cwayna (international Mr Leather 1997) and Lisa Sherman (from Ireland). Dr. Gayle Rubin, one of the co-founders of IMsL from 1986 was the head judge. Tally Masters were Daniel Sonnenfeld (International Mr Deaf Leather 1996) and A. Cheli Mohamed.
Eleven (11) women stepped up to compete in 1997 with two returning contestants from 1996, and one returning contestant from 1995:
Beth Downey, San Francisco, CA (2nd time)
Mistress Kendra McClain, Indianapolis, IN
Genelle M. Moore, Lincoln, NB
Schelli Dittmann, Alexandria, VA
Karen E. Matroni, Cape Canaveral, FL
Sharon Kleinman, Milpitas, CA
Lisa Weiszmiller, Los Angeles, CA (2nd time)
Bobbi lei d’courage, San Diego, CA
Diva Marie, Albuquerque, NM
Tammy Resnick, Pittsburgh, PN
Victoria Rose, San Leandro, CA
The Leather Journal reported: Genelle Moore from Lincoln, NE won the International Ms Leather title at the Spreckles Theater in San Diego, CA. Her brother, Ron Moore, was International Mr. Leather 1984 and the duo is the only blood-related international Leather holders to date. First runner-up was Ms. Fallen Angel 1997 Lisa Weiszmiller from Los Angeles, and second runner-up was Diva Marie from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Ron Moore (who died in 1997) as the sixth International Mr. Leather in 1984 was also the first African American to hold an international leather title. Genelle dedicated her run and title year to Ron. Genelle’s focus for the year was summed up with her motto, “With participation there’s education and growth.”
Scooter covered the contest for the Cuir Underground
We need class pictures or any other items from the 1997 contest. We are looking for pictures or videos from those days and especially the contest. If you have any of these, please send them to . Do you know where these women are or have a way to contact them?
IMsL 1997 - Genelle Moore
Sponsor: FLEX (Female Leather Exchange)
Why do you want to be International Ms Leather?
In this society in which we live, people are always willing to take but very seldom are truly willing to give back. I feel that by entering this contest I am stepping up to the plate proclaiming that I am a leather woman worthy of this title. In addition, I truly want to give of myself and my time to further contribute to the tradition and honor of this position. I had the opportunity to watch my brother, Ron Moore, International Mr. Leather 1984 complete his commitment to the leather community. I saw the pride and tenacity that he exhibited as he served the community during the year of his reign. I have that same desire and individual commitment to represent this our Leather Community.
I also bring many positive qualities that will assist me in the completion of my reign. I am friendly, outgoing, cordial and approachable. People who do not know me, find me easy to talk with. I manage people very well and when needed I am not afraid to take charge. I have been a public servant for 14 years; therefore, I am not a stranger to diversity or adversity. I have the ability to bring people together in a very non-threatening manner. I am willing to listen to and consider opinions that differ from my own. However, I do possess my own set of beliefs and opinions that are very deep seated.
Finally, I want to be one of the history makers and history tellers. There have been a number of dedicated brothers and sisters in leather who have moved our leather culture into the forefront of society. From the human struggles prior to the Stonewall revolution, to the current battles that are being waged in the legislatures, it’s now my time to raise the baton, to shout out my commitment and to step forward.