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Women of Leather Interviews - Shann Carr

After competing in a leather competition last year, it was brought up to me that I did not know much about the women in the leather community. I decided to change that and get to know a little about some previous title holders and learn things from their perspectives and experiences. With this series of blogs, I will be asking each person the same set of questions. Follow me with this series as I learn about the women of the leather community. Learning allows us to grow and be able to help moving forward into the future.

My first interview was with Shann Carr. It was such a great opportunity to speak with her on the phone and learn about her experiences as a woman of leather. I hope that this is just the first in many talks.


What titles have you held?

IMsL 1988 

Oregon MS Leather 1988


What were you able to accomplish while holding your titles?

Second female title holder, who invited herself to all the leather events that were just men.  Building a bridge to bring women into events.


What are the top three experiences you have had as a person of leather?

Play parties. How to maneuver sexual freedom in a safe sane consensual way.  

Supporting brothers and hiv, created lifelong relationships with gay men that are still here today.  Helping them emotionally and in any way she can.  The commitment of women to men is generations long.


What are the bottom three experiences you have had as a person of leather?

She was being turned away from the men's bar where she was booked to do a fundraising event for HIV.  Palm Springs Leather Weekend - Women are not allowed at pool parties and play spaces.  From other women - she is a complete fembot.  In the 80s females didn't feel she represented them.


Who are your top three people who have had an impact on your life?

Judy McCarthy IMsL #1

Spencer Bergstedt trans leather man, 

Jolanne Tierney in Sacramento had the title for a few years in a row.  Nobody else wanted to run for it. She was a very mainstream gal. She is engaged in the mainstream community.  Was able to combine mainstream life and leather life.


What are three things you see have improved?

Ability to be more diverse in your manifestation of your leatherness.  

The fact that there is more support, financially and community-wise for those taking on titles.

Polyamory is being accepted more.


What are three things you see have gotten worse?

Men want less to do with women because it messes up their vibe.

With so many titles, they lost their value and ability to support them with there being so many

Safe play is less of a priority, with less focus on safe sex play with prep available.


What organizations are you a part of?

Not a part of organizations anymore.  Have attended Desire, a group for women's play party weekend in Palm Springs.  Affiliated with desire, respect what they have created.  They have evolved to include those presenting as female not just afab.


What challenges do you see for the future?

That sense of community.  The coming together that was so cool in the 80s and 90s, is not so cool anymore.  This goes beyond the leather community.  Gay men are picky and can sometimes exclude a particular group, specifically women and straights from gay spaces when they would be infuriated to be excluded from any straight space. 


What projects or events are you currently working on?

Producing a city-wide lip sync battle, bringing together the gay community with police and firemen, city hall employees.  Producing art in the park in the dark, an event in a park that has artists do nighttime art shows with solar lights, laser lights, and glow-in-the-dark art.  Works with pride, and aids project.  Will be doing a thing with groups PALS, people dealing with people at the end of life or dying.  Doing a dark comedy workshop,   doing a show Moms Dead an evening of comedy.  Doing that show helped her and the audience members deal with the pain of loss.  


From the old guard, she has a little attitude about old people.  how young people have issues with old people having issues with young people.  She wants older people to figure out how to embrace change.


During this phone call, we also discussed similar life experiences we have had. It was great to learn how she handled those life experiences and look at how I can apply that to myself and how I can support the women of the community, giving back to those that have done and given so much for us all. I look forward to this series and the wealth of information and experiences I will be learning. Stay tuned for the next installment that will be coming very soon!

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