Minnesota Leather Pride 2012: Back to Basics

For almost twenty years, the annual Minnesota Leather Pride celebration has been held in June, the month that also sees GLBT Pride celebrations in the Twin Cities and elsewhere. This years celebration starts Friday, June 15 with a kickoff event celebrating bootblacks, and ends with the two-day Twin Cities Pride Festival in Loring Park on Saturday and Sunday, June 23 and 24 (including Sundays Pride Parade on Hennepin Avenue).

Every year, the community members organizing the Minnesota Leather Pride celebration choose a theme, or sometimes two themes, for the festivities. This years primary theme is “Back to Basics”—basics such as love, honor, trust, honesty, and respect for self and others. These are values that leather has long embraced and are values around which our community is built. Since Minnesota Leather Pride always has a strong educational component, this years theme also pays tribute to the idea of basic training in the military.

Then there are the basics of equality and fairness for everyone: On November 6, Minnesota Leather Pride urges you to vote NO on the Minnesota marriage amendment that would ban marriage for same-gender couples and enshrine discrimination in the Minnesota state constitution. In that spirit, this years Minnesota Leather Pride celebration benefits Project 515 (www.project515.org), a non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure that same-gender couples and their families have equal rights under Minnesota law.

“Esprit de coeur,” this years secondary theme, is a twist on “esprit de corps”, a term meaning group spirit or team spirit. Changing the last word to “coeur”, the French word for heart, does several things: while honoring the terms military origins, the slogan is subtly changed to be less militaristic and more romantic. It pays homage to the heart on the leather flag that members of the leather community will carry during this years Pride parade on Hennepin Avenue—the heart that is at the heart, or the center, of our community. And it again calls for the freedom to love and to marry, to express that “spirit of the heart,” no matter who we are, whom we love, or how we love.

As in years past, Minnesota Leather Pride again has produced a limited-edition, collectible, souvenir dog tag. Designed by Kyle Truss, the dog tag displays the primary and secondary themes of this years celebration. In a reflection of this years primary theme, after several years of collectible MN Leather Pride dog tags with four-color designs this years dog tag returns to a simpler, more basic cast-metal design.

Dog tags will be available, while supplies last, for $7 at 2012 Minnesota Leather Pride events and for $10 at the Minnesota Leather Pride booth during the Twin Cities Pride Festival in Loring Park on June 23 and 24. Wear your 2012 Minnesota Leather Pride dog tag and receive a reduced entry fee to some of this years Minnesota Leather Pride events (noted below).

Minnesota Leather Pride 2012 event listing (for further information, visit www.MNLeatherPride.org):

Minnesota Leather Pride Bootblack Kickoff
Friday, June 15, 8:00pm – 12:00am
Cuppa Java, 400 Penn Ave. S., Minneapolis
(Reduced entry fee with 2012 Minnesota Leather Pride dog tag.)

Knights of Leather Pride Ride
Saturday, June 16, departing at 10:00am
Motorcycles and riders will gather in front of Joes Garage, 1610 Harmon Pl., Minneapolis.

Leather Journey Workshop
Sunday, June 17, 1:00 – 4:00pm
Patricks Cabaret, 3010 Minnehaha Ave. S., Minneapolis
(Reduced entry fee with 2012 Minnesota Leather Pride dog tag.)

BDSM Creative Collective Anthology Publication Party and Reading
Monday, June 18, 2012, 7:00 – 9:00pm
Smitten Kitten, 3010 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis
Readings and exhibits by the writers and artists whose work has been published in this years BDSM Creative Collective Anthology.

Leather Swap Meet
Tuesday, June 19, 6:30 – 9:30pm
Camp Bar, 490 N. Robert St., St. Paul

Atons Cigar Smoker
Thursday, June 21, 8:00 – 11:00pm
Eagle/Bolt Bar, 501 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis

Floggapalooza
Friday, June 22, 8:00 – 11:00pm
Camp Bar, 490 N. Robert St., St. Paul

Leather Pride Booth at Twin Cities Pride Festival
Saturday, June 23 and Sunday, June 24, 10:00am – 6:00pm
Loring Park, Minneapolis
Stop by and say hello. Better yet, stay awhile.

Twin Cities Pride Parade 
March with the giant Leather Pride flag
Sunday, June 24 (meet at 10:00am, parade steps off at 11:00am)
Gather at 3rd St. and Hennepin Ave., downtown Minneapolis

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