International Mr. Leather postponed due to coronavirus

Fri. March 20, 2020 4:32 PM by News Staff

photo credit // anthony meade

Organizers: 'We are doing all we can to ensure IML-IMBB 2020 will not be canceled entirely and our annual Family Reunion will still take place.'

Update: On May 25, 2020, organizers of International Mr. Leather announced the cancellation of IML/IMBB 2020 in its entirety. 

Organizers of International Mr. Leather (IML) Thursday announced that its annual gathering over Memorial Day weekend in Chicago has been canceled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

"Given the uncertainty we are all facing, what we can share is International Mr. Leather Weekend is postponed until a date later in the year that we are still trying to determine." read a statement on the organization's website. "We are working with our stakeholders, vendors, hotels, etc. in order to make the final arrangements for a new date and schedule to be rolled out in the near future."

Organizers stressed IML42 will not be canceled entirely, "our annual Family Reunion will still take place."

The 2020 IML event, which typically draws nearly 20,000 attendees to downtown Chicago, had been scheduled for May 21-25 at the Congress Plaza Hotel.

Matthew Harvat confirmed the IML postponement also includes The Victory Party and Black and Blue Ball, both produced by CircuitMOM Productions. 

IML began as the Mr. Gold Coast bar contest held at the Gold Coast, a long-shuttered gay leather bar owned by Chuck Renslow, a Chicago businessman and newspaper publisher. The contest became so popular it was relocated it to a larger venue in 1979 and renamed International Mr. Leather. The International Mr. Bootblack Competition was added in 1993.

Renslow, best known as the founder of the International Mr. Leather contest and the Leather Museum and Archives, died June 29, 2017 at age 87.

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