Friday, June 16, 2000

Web Extra: IML Contests Speak Out About Leather and Domestic Abuse

(Leather Life column published on Lavender Magazine website, Issue #132, June 16, 2000)

PHOTO: 2016A.JPG Jeff Wacha


First it was IML 1998 Tony Mills speaking about being a survivor of domestic violence. Now two contestants from this year’s IML contest, Jeff Wacha of Los Angeles and Lance Gear of San Francisco, are on record as being domestic abuse survivors. Here are portions of their IML speeches:

Jeff Wacha: “I’d like to share with you just a few things that I’ve learned in the past year . . . I’ve learned that no matter how much you love someone, once they raise their hand against you in anger, you can never truly feel safe with them again. In my case it wasn’t a hand, it was a length of pipe that left me unconscious and with a concussion. There are other means—there’s verbal, there’s physical, and there’s mental. But it’s the same end result: You need to get out.”

Lance Gear: “I want to talk to you tonight about a subject that’s really close to my heart. I used to have a boyfriend who liked to hit me. Now, in our community, we can play a little rough sometimes, but hopefully we always remember that safe, sane, and consensual is our creed. But I am not talking about consensual activity here, and there was certainly nothing sane about it. And I’m here tonight to ask you to please, know enough to know the difference. And most importantly, if you find yourself in one of these relationships, love yourself enough to get the hell out. I stand here before you tonight, not as a victim, but as a survivor. And you know that little song, “If they could see me now”? Well, if he could see me now.

“You know, we as a community have a responsibility here too. If your blood brother or sister was being beaten and you knew about it, you would do something. Look around. These are your brothers and sisters. You need to do something. Do not wait until it’s too late if you know something is going on. Do it now, I beg of you.”

(A profile of IML 1998 Tony Mills that includes “Ties That Bind,” his article about domestic violence, is available on the web at

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