Organizers of International Mr. Leather
(IML) Friday announced that its annual gathering, generally held over Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, has been rescheduled to Sept. 24 - 27 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
"(The announcement) comes with some uncertainty as we still do not know what the pandemic will bring in the next few months and if State and local governments will continue restrictions," organizers posted on the event's website
Organizers said this year's IML and International Mr. Bootblack will take a unique shorter format, and added the event will only take place if they can ensure the safety of everyone involved.
The 2020 IML event, which typically draws nearly 20,000 attendees to downtown Chicago, was previously scheduled for May 21-25 at the Congress Plaza Hotel
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.Chicago LGBTQ COVID-19 Resources