FAQ 2016-11-06T08:06:08+00:00

In 1989, a group came together in San Francisco to celebrate LeatherWomen and select a women who represented the community and would be recognized for the work they had done. Judy Tallwing McCarthy was that first International Ms Leather. Over the 30 years since that day, women have stepped up and represented who we are. You can see a history of the IMsL/IMsBB titleholders on the web or catch up with the current IMsL/IMsBB titleholders. Some of us have been political, some community builder but we have all lived out a vision of what the women’s alternative sex positive community.

Those who have held the titles of IMsL/IMsBB represent ALL kinds of diversity and represent the foundation of our mission and beliefs. For example, one-third of the IMsL/IMsBB titleholders have been Leather women of color. The event is open to everyone and we strive to create a community that is inclusive on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, sex, dis/ability, religion, gender expression or identity, class, size, relationship style or family status. When we come together we work to respect all racial, ethnic and cultural issues and have a zero tolerance for language and actions that do not adhere to a standard of respect. Since taking over as Executive Producer, Sharrin Spector, has worked to create a diverse staff. Our outreach for contestants, educators and performers reflects the same awareness and we are creating opportunities for all community members to gain experience to become educators and contestants in future years. Addressing the economic challenges, scholarships have been provided to ensure access regardless of income. Additionally in 2016, three under represented communities will be represented by liaisons (People of Color, Under-35, and Trans Women) on the year round planning staff. We are committed to continue to work to become aware of and inform our decision making with actions that address the “-isms” that impact not only this event but our larger leather community. There will be a special lunch panel on Friday entitled “ISMs in the Women’s Leather Community” We believe in our human and sexual freedom rights and strive for solidarity to achieve that freedom to express ourselves. The weekend creates opportunities to grow our community. We invite your voices to join us at the IMsL/IMsBB weekend and make this community a home for EVERYONE.

We have created this year guidelines to create a common ground of expectations for attendees to use. We come together for a good time and what we know as the leather community is changing. To that end, we need to work together to honor those different paths. We are just beginning to build these guidelines but we will ask attendees to respect each other. We will expect each attendee, staff member, and contest participants to use these key beliefs as a baseline we share as we strive to treat each other with respect. Those who cannot comply with these basic precepts can be grounds for being asked to leave the event:

  • Consensual exchange of power
  • Expectation to be free from harassment and judgement
  • Trusting that as we enter interactions we do so with the best of intent and integrity
  • That our private experiences at the event remain confidential and our story to tell
  • Wanting to share activities with others who are like minded and seek the freedom to be themselves
  • Eroticizing power via dominance & submission
  • Encouraging role playing or fantasy
  • Exploring a full range intense sensory stimulation and/or physical restriction

Be accountable to each other, treat others with dignity and allow each individual to have an amazing time. Please come together for a hot fun time but remember to take personal responsibility to set, maintain and communicate your personal boundaries, and take personal responsibility to remove yourself from situations that exceed those limits for you. We encourage finding ways to enhance trust, communication and intimacy and create your own erotic power![/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What should I bring?” open=”false”]

How many suitcases can you fill up? There are uniform parties, major gala event which you can dress up for, play party space to bring your gear and everything in between. Within the hotel, you need to be “street legal” (see definition) but in the play spaces nudity is totally acceptable. Bring your own toys in case you meet someone you want to play with. Many organizations and groups host hospitality parties and you are welcome to join in those themes. Have another look or image you would like to try out. Bring it! You will see everything form high femme to stone butch so add you look into the weekend.

Hot fun, education, connecting, shopping and much more! The weekend starts on Thursday with Seduction, our steamy celebration of women and those who love them. Friday includes intensive courses all day long, vendor and silent auction opening, play space opening, contest judging and the opening ceremonies where you can meet the 2016 IMsL/IMsBB Contestants. Saturday we are in full swing with more workshops, vending, silent auction and the second half of the contest. Sunday continues with a brunch, workshops, play space, poker tournament, pool party, author book signing and Bawdy Storytelling/Slam. Throughout the weekend will be hospitality parties such as the queer happy hour on Thursday before Seduction and hosted parties by club and organizations. See the schedule for all the events!

Definitely, there are lots of mixers and hospitality parties and the community members who attend are welcoming and you can hook up. Check the schedule for receptions and other events which will be a great chance to connect with other who are attending the weekend. If you would feel more comfortable being there and having a job that helps you meet more people, consider volunteering.

Our educational tracks reflect the range of experience and interests in the leather/kink/BDSM community. Many newcomers enjoy the opportunity to join in our samplers in the play space with hands on skills building by top community members. This year we are adding a Newcomer’s Orientation on Friday afternoon for first time attendees. The staff is always ready to share information as well as the monitors in the play space and on Friday night after the contest, there will be an “Ask Lolita” booth with Lolita Wolf offering to answer your questions and showing you around! If you just want to come and watch that works too as you explore what might be your next fantasy.

You have to pre-register for the event and the deadline is April 8, 2016 at 5:00pm Pacific. Register early and get the best deal. You can select the basic package which gets you into all events, except the brunch, all weekend long. You can also get the all-inclusive package which adds brunch, t-shirt and run pin. Our hotel sold out in 2015 so be sure to follow the links on next year’s web page to book your hotel room at the DoubleTree Hotel. Plan to arrive Thursday and head home late Sunday night or stay for the wind down to Monday for the full weekend experience. Or course, if you want to extend your stay, you can book nights before and after the weekend block! Book your flights into San Jose (SJC) and the hotel has a shuttle from the airport which is 1.5 miles away. If you drive, parking at the DoubleTree will be $6 per night.

To add to your weekend, you can be a sponsor, a vendor, a contestant or a volunteer. Check out the website on how you can expand your IMsL/IMsBB experience and be an integral part of the party. Join our Facebook group, Facebook page, Fetlife, Tumbler, Instagram, and Twitter groups or join our newsletter to keep up on the latest news!

We are committed as an organization to financial transparency and accountability. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine where all the money goes when making a event of this scale happen, so we’re making our complete budget available.

Expenses Category

2016 Budget

Month Bills (storage, bank, supplies)


Admin Costs (Web, LLC, taxes)


Event Costs  
  • Advertising (ads, cards, posters, program)


  • Hotel (insurance, rooms, F&B)


  • Ballroom (sounds, lights, stage)


  • Registration (badges, fees)


  • Awards/Hospitality


  • Contracts/rentals (radios, interpreters)




* Offset by rooms booked at the hotel by attendees (see income)
** Offset in some areas by sponsors/donations/volunteers (see income)

 Income Category

2016 Budget*

Registrations (all levels)


Sleep Rooms (attendees booking rooms)


Sales (merchandise, ads, vendors, contestants)


Sponsors (cash & in kind)




NOTE:  All monies raised at Seduction and Silent Auction/Raffle are donated directly to the IMsL Foundation/Titleholder Travel fund and are not considered as income for IMsL Productions LLC to run the IMsL/IMsBB Weekend.