January 30, 2023
The Renslow Charitable Foundation announces that Leather Archives & Museum (“LA&M”) Executive Director Gary Wasdin and LA&M Board President Billy Lane will replace Randall Klett (aka Bearman) and Bill Stadt on the three-person Board of IML Operations, LLC (“IML Operations”), the entity responsible for planning, staffing, and executing International Mr. Leather weekend. We will make all the required filings for this change with the State of Illinois this week.
We understand that people are hurt and disappointed, and that their complaints over the years and over these past two weeks have not been properly communicated or addressed. We apologize for those inactions and hereby assure our commitment to a future where all people involved are heard and everyone’s good ideas are given life.
The Foundation and IML Operations will both be publishing additional communication about these matters in the coming days and weeks.
The LA&M is the sole beneficiary of IML, and IML is the largest source of funds for the LA&M. We are committed to a successful IML, this year and for years to come.
January 22, 2023
To The Global Leather and Fetish Community:
First, and most importantly, everyone who participates in any aspect of IML-IMBB weekend should never feel discriminated against, excluded, or diminished. The IML-IMBB organization has and will continue to be inclusive with our contestants, volunteer staff and guests.
For our past and current IML-IMBB titleholders who have experienced issues out in the community, we have tasked several board members with contacting you directly to share your stories, unfiltered and with the singular purpose to learn of your experiences, especially those related to transphobia and discrimination.
But we also publicly avow our absolute assurance we are stepping up to do the necessary work to effect positive change and will work harder within the confines of IML-IMBB and make clear to those outside of the organization that inclusionary standards must apply to all of our titleholders without exception.
Now, due to the unexpected resignation of the International Mr. Bootblack Coordinator and IMBB staff, The Renslow Charitable Foundation is announcing the cancellation of The IMBB contest for 2023. We will take this year to thoroughly examine the evolution of the contest and solicit community input and interest as well as explore better ways to grow and increase participation in the event. This examination includes exploring the idea of creating a complete stand-alone IMBB Weekend event. For some years, the IMBB team has struggled to find contestants, donations for winner’s prize packages and delivering a quality product and, as a result, has led to less participation. At the same time, they have implemented significant changes which have created a vastly improved IMBB Contest experience, especially for contestants.
This year (2023), we invite bootblacks from around the world to meet, greet and provide shine for the guests in the area that would normally be reserved for our contestants over Memorial Day Weekend. The invitation is open to anyone who is passionate about boots. More information will be available at www.imrl.com in the near future. We also recognize there is much more to be done to increase bootblack visibility in our community and we welcome everyone’s input, suggestions and, most importantly, their participation in this process. We also invite anyone in our community to share these thoughts and/or their ideas on the subject of inclusion at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your participation in this process is vital.
We have heard clearly the message and concerns about inclusion inside and outside our organization and by reaching out across the entire community we can look and learn about ways we can do better. Change isn’t always easy and while we are moving quickly, it is also a process that will take a little time. At the same time, it is not unreasonable to state, as an organization, we have welcomed and worked with our contestants that have experienced exclusion in the community outside of our organization and believed many, but apparently not all of these issues were resolved. And while the direct management and oversight of IMBB was the responsibility of the former team, their departure has highlighted significant issues that demand our attention.
The organization is very proud of our past accomplishments and now, with increased attention, listening and especially learning, we will continue to do whatever work is necessary to better achieve inclusion at our event and across our community. The work ahead is important and we are determined to get it done right. For everyone.
We respectfully ask for patience as we do the hard work that needs to be done.
The Charles Renslow Charitable Foundation