Gay State Rank: 4/50
International Mr Leather (Chicago) 2021: International Mister Leather (IML) is an international, though largely American, conference and contest of leathermen held annually in May since 1979 in Chicago, Illinois. The International Mister Leather conference is a multi-day and activity event to recognize International Mister Leather. Shared interest events, such as speakers, socials, themed dance parties and a leather market are part of ways in which the competitors become known to the evaluating committee and enthusiasts, including the BDSM community, can share in the experience.
IML is an international recognized distinction with an informal relationship with how contestants qualify: contestants must either be a winner of a lower level feeder competition of a bar, local or regional leather contest or be sponsored by a leather-related bar, business, club, or organization.
The forerunner of the competition was the 1970s "Mr. Gold Coast" bar contest held at Chicago's Gold Coast leather bar, owned by Chuck Renslow and his then-partner, Dom Orejudos. The "Mr. Gold Coast" contest became one of the bar's most popular promotions causing the need to locate the competition to a larger venue (1979), and title change to International Mr. Leather. The International Mister Bootblack Competition was added (1993) to the IML program. The Leather Archives and Museum has placed IML in a trust (May 2009) with event profits to benefit the museum.
IML established (July 2009) the policy that IML Leather Market participation would exclude "any entity which promotes barebacking or distributes/sells any merchandise tending to promote or advocate barebacking."
In 2010 IML was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.