Trans Pride at International Mr Leather!

File this under “curiosity” if you will, but I think of it as a breathtaking personal achievement, and a magnificent demonstration of confounding stereotypes and bursting through boundaries. The new winner of IML 2010, Tyler McCormack, uses a wheelchair and was once a female.

For those not familiar with it, Chicago’s International Mr Leather competition is a mega event which fully lives up to its title, drawing competitors and thousands of visitors from all around the world every Memorial Day weekend. These would usually expect to see competitors displaying rippling muscles, impressive pecs and nipples, naked skin, and plenty of “stage presence” – and as usual for all manner of beauty pageants, speeches.

So, a transsexual in a wheelchair doesn’t sound like someone who would start out particularly favoured to win – or even accepted as an entrant. But he gained entry by earlier winning a local equivalent for Rio Grande, NM , and went on to his astonishing victory. Read the story at the Advocate, but whatever you do, you absolutely must watch the video as well – and listen to Tyler’s inspiring speech, which has an important message for us all:

Be the person you want to be!

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