In the Pit
Mo Williams: Strong, vibrant and outspoken
Published Thursday, 13-May-2010 in issue 1168
Recently, I have been focusing a bit more on the women’s leather community. All over the country our sisters are making a positive impact on our lives as they walk the fine line between working with their male counterparts and establishing and maintaining a community of their own that satisfies their needs. The women of San Diego have successfully revived the Ms. San Diego Leather Contest and have represented well whether at home or on the road. With Mother’s Day coming up, I have decided to introduce you to the highest ranking titleholder of the women’s leather community, which I hope will inspire more San Diego women to get involved and join our sisters who are making a positive difference. Meet International Ms. Leather 2010, the strong, vibrant and outspoken, Mo Williams.
Gay & Lesbian Times: San Diego is a community where the men’s and women’s community work together but need to maintain individuality. Do female and male titleholders have different responsibilities to the community?
Mo Williams: In most ways, no. All titleholders are to represent their communities, serve as ambassadors, and help encourage the next generation of titleholders to step up and serve. In some other ways, yes, women’s contests are newer and don’t have the same history as the contests within the men’s community. Even the structure of contests is different. Women’s contests do not include an element where the contestant’s scantily clad physique is judged. By the time women’s contests gained momentum, titleholder’s focus was on community service and fund-raising. I think there is a bit more pressure on female titleholders because the women’s titleholder system isn’t nearly as organized, extensive and well-funded as the system within the men’s community. We have our work cut out for us to keep the energy and desire for titles among the women’s community growing and thriving.
GLT: Lately there has been an increase in the number of strong leather women. What do you believe is the reason?
MW: I think visibility is the key! When I first became involved in the BDSM/leather community, I didn’t see much in the way of women who were submissive and out in front, representing what it took to be a submissive, a slave, and be fully present. I felt these women were the exception rather than the rule. I believe that the more egalitarian access to information and networking provided by the internet had given us a new type of power. While we can, as women, be kept out of the inner circles of some leather communities, no one can stop me from doing my homework and footwork that can help me do the soulwork that can lead to a deeper knowledge of and broader connection with my sisters in leather.
GLT: What drives a woman to be active in her community?
MW: I can only say what drives me to be active. My core desire is to educate...not just other leather folk, but the world at large. I love sharing my story...our stories...within and beyond the community. I feel that activism around topics I love is one of the best ways for me to express the passions I feel about life, and passion is the key to being driven and motivated.
GLT: At what point did you know you wanted to be International Ms. Leather?
MW: The run for International Ms. Leather was compulsory: as the winner as Ms. San Francisco leather, I had to run for a national or international title. So, it was duty, initially. Then I had a series of epiphanies around the idea that wanting something like a title meant one had to be arrogant, or self centered. I wrote about that realization on my blog (http://www.mollena.com/at-35000-feet/), and in it, I mentioned the following: I didn’t think I would want to run for a major leather title, but I am, and now I want it. I want to take it and break it open and feel it and inspect it and invite the world…the whole world…to see what this is like. I want to feel my feelings, and tell people. I need to know that I can be honest, and open, and free, and that it is OK.
GLT: Any advice for leather women who want to be involved more in their community?
MW: Find whatever it is that sparks your passion and channel it into your service. Are you a chef? Cook for fundraisers. Do you write? Edit a kink or leather publication. We all have talents that can be channeled into the community. Plodding along on a track out of a sense of obligation that isn’t grounded in joy will lead to resentment and frustration. Serve in a way that brings you joy, and you will find your opportunities opening up in front of you in miraculous ways!
GLT: Any last thoughts?
MW: I am excited to have this year to explore and push my boundaries...and challenge the worldwide community to explore theirs as well. I am excited to see so many people of color stepping up to the plate and serving in public roles. I am excited that my sashmate, Mr. San Francisco Leather, is the first black man to hold that title. I am excited that Master Obsidian and Slave Namaste are a black master/slave couple who won the International Master/slave title for 2010. I am excited that I travel around the USA and see so many more people of diverse backgrounds joining me in celebrating our leather and BDSM lifestyle. I am excited to see such change and such growth, and I am excited to watch it continue and blossom!
BigMuscle.com is back at Rich’s on Saturday, May 15. LL Bear will be host the world Premier of DJ Bill Bennett’s new music video appropriately titled, BigMuscle. There will also be a live performance by Quentin Elias. The doors open at 9:30 p.m. Since this is LL Bear and BigMuscle.com, we know the men will be hotter, hairier and sweatier than ever!