Dedicated to Mamma Vi, who inspired us to find out who we are and who we want to be. With love, from your Mid-Atlantic girls.
Before deciding to start a Mid-Atlantic chapter, our original coordinators embarked on a mission to find out exactly what this Girls of Leather movement was….. and how that resonated with them. What follows is the beginning of our story. We’ll add to is as we go.
What we learned from Mamma Vi:
In 2003 an international Leather Girl Network was started by the American Leather Girl Sheryl Dee, in response to the need to find a space where girls could connect, feel safe, and harness their girl power.. The group intended to mirror the already well-established leather boy community, started 8 years before. Definition of that group was limited to bottoms, service types, etc.
In 2004, San Francisco girls decided to put together their own troop, headed by girl Lori, the 2003 San Francisco Leather Dyke girl (a contest that no longer exists), and girl Hayden, the 2004 title-holder. They intentionally left the definition of girl open to allow for individual interpretation. The initial group grew to about 30 members and laster 3 years, engaing in service, charity, volunteer work, and occasional girly times. Former members say that eventually the negative attitudes, biased expectations, and confusion over the definition of “girls” wore down on moral. By early 2007 the group was down to five members who elected to deband the group and nothing more was heard for a 3 years.
It was at the 2010 International Ms. Leather competition when Pilar decided to donate the leftover SF girls memorabilia and Leland started asking questions that SFgoL started back up, and the movement for girl space gained traction.
How we started:
In 2012 Mid-Atlantic Leatherwoman Toni hosted women’s round tables all over the mid-atlantic region (and beyond). Theatricaltoy, Dawn Marie, and Coco all attended a round table, in separate cities, and during conversation Toni brought up the GoL movement. Each of them were intrigued, but the timing wasn’t right yet. Tt spent the next two years asking GoL members what it was about, for them and being teased along the lines of ‘are you ready yet’ by some folks who shall remain nameless.
Right before IMsL 2014 Coco moved back to the mid-atlantic area. Coco and Tt talked at IMsL and in the weeks following, and decided they wanted to pursue this idea, but neither had time just yet. That summer, DawnMarie also moved back to the area, and the girls got together and decided that they were ready. They asked around, heard interest from other leather girls, and decided to go for it, after they had a little more history under their belt. At the Master/slave conference over Labor Day weekend of 2014 Tt cornered Vi Johnson in the Carter Johnson Library (she was actually quite polite, but this makes a better story) and asked for Mama Vi’s advice. Mama Vi graciously made time to sit down and tell Tt about the history of the girls movement. In their conversation Mama Vi requested that the girls make a point of recording their history.
Having now committed to moving forward, the whirlwind of contacts began. The girls reached out to a variety of local and national leather elders, local club presidents and members, and friends to request advice and discuss how best to come forth. Everywhere they turned there was support for this endeavor, and so, with the gracious support of many, it became.