Dave Rhodes

Dave Rhodes - 2023 Historian

Journalist, Editor, Publisher - The Leather Journal


Dave Rhodes is an amazing journalist covering the Leather community here, there, and everywhere we are.  He is the founder, owner, and the publisher and editor of, The Leather Journal, since May 1983.  The Leather Journal is the publication of record for the Leather community, and it is the longest running Leather community publication still operating under its original publisher. All of the others have disbanded or have changed owners over the years.

Dave is the Founder of the Pantheon of Leather Awards which have seen almost 900 individuals, clubs, businesses and organizations receive honors and nearly 10,000 nominations for consideration since 1991.  (Full disclosure, LHPW was honored with Pantheon of Leather Small Event of the Year, 2018)  Pantheon of Leather 1992 has been the only Leather show with live orchestrated music from the beginning of show to it's conclusion, by a professional musician, Eddie Gordon, of Spaghetti Western fame.

Not content with founding TLJ and the Pantheon of Leather awards, Dave was also the founder of the International Mr. and Ms Olympus Leather contest in 1996.  He created the "Fetish Image" category for Olympus Leather, and many title systems have added this category to their scored categories since that introduction. Fetish Image is an evaluation of a contestant's behavior from the opening meet and greet until a few minutes before the staged portion of the contest. Much of the good and bad in a titleholder's year is done off stage, and Dave felt that the Fetish Image category was needed to reflect that.

Over the years he has judged close to 450 Leather contests including (but not limited to):  International Mr. Leather four times, International Ms Leather twice, Mr. and Ms National Leather Association five times. He has judged International Drummer and Drummerboy, International Deaf Leather four times, Mr. International Rubber five times, the American Brotherhood contests twice, International LeatherSir/Leatherboy twice, International Master/slave and so many regional, state city and bar titles.

These are what Dave considers his most valued honors received over his nearly 40 years of Leather community activism: Jeffrey Payne IML Lifetime Achievement Award, National LGBTQ Task Force Leather Leadership Award, National Leather Association Lifetime Achievemen Award, Dick Michaels Media Award by Christopher Street West, ONYX Media Award and dozens of others.  He has been a member of, and held offices for many clubs.  Highlights include Somandros - president for three terms, vice president one term and corresponding secretary one term; Avatar Club Los Angeles - board member at large, two terms. Member of Avatar, associate member The 15 Association since 1986, associate member of Chicago Hellfire Club since 1986  

Dave has received numerous honorary club memberships, as well as certificates of service from many local, state and national elected goverment officials.  And in 1986, he organized a fundraiser which netted over $12,000 to help defeat Lyndon LaRouche and his anti gay stand in California.

"I like to create or invent things which leave a lasting and positive impact on the world." - Dave Rhodes