Whether you’re partaking in Leather Cocktails, a high-end formal event where participants don their finest leather apparel, or watching “pups” wrestle, sniff and bat around balls in a padded play area. Whether you’re catching up with friends from distant shores whom you see only once a year, or cheering your favorite at a contest that will produce a triumphant winner. Whether you’re there for the kink or for the camaraderie, Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend is like no other three-day LGBT event in Washington, D.C. From the sights (harnesses, furries, septuagenarians wearing little more than a strap-on) to the smells (a swirl of cigar, a waft of latex, a note of freshly-buffed boot) to the sounds (boisterous hellos, woofs of approval, the gentle slap of a flogger), it’s a weekend on full sensory overload.
There is, in fact, so much to take in — from SigMa’s S&M Demos, offering keen insight to how to deploy an electric toothbrush on places other than your mouth, to the Leather Marketplace, where international merchants showcase gorgeous handcrafted leather, rubber and fetish gear — that it can all feel a bit overwhelming.
Yet at its core, MAL Weekend is simple and direct. It’s about the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood. It’s about the freedom to express who you are — no judgement allowed, only universal acceptance. It’s about discovery. Exploration. Fun. Most of all, it’s about the bonds of friendship — those sturdy and decades old, and those newly-forged from a passing glance.
Indeed, MAL is a weekend like none other, one that, like a fine leather harness, only improves with age.
Additional photography by Todd Franson
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