With his winning smile, bulging chest and biceps and love of community, Lance Holman stands out wherever he goes. And he looks damn sexy in a pair of ass-less chaps, too. All-of-the-above should prove particularly handy come Memorial Day Weekend when Holman heads off to Chicago to represent San Francisco in the International Mr. Leather competition.
With his historic March 6 victory, Holman becomes the first African-American man to win the coveted Mr. San Francisco Leather title. A familiar face at fundraising events throughout the city and alumni of the popular AIDS Emergency Fund Bare Chest Calender, Holman talks community, tradition and about his mom in this week’s Bay Times “Spotlight.”
(Bay Times) What does it mean to you to represent the City as Mr. San Francisco Leather 2010?
It’s a very important part of our community. There is a lot of history with the leather community as far as all that has been done in the past to support members of our community who have been affected by HIV, breast cancer. It’s a very important honor to me and one I look forward to upholding with honor, dignity and integrity. I’m also very excited to get to represent the diversity of our community as the first Black Mr. San Francisco Leather. There have been other men of color, but this is the first time a man who is African-American or Black is Mr. San Francisco Leather. So, I’m the first.
It should be noted that Ms. San Francisco Leather Molena Williams is also African-American.
That is correct! This is the first time also in history that we’ve had both Mr. & Ms. San Francisco be Black. It’s an historic time.
How long have you been involved in the leather community?
I’ve been very active in the leather community for the last two to three years, but I’ve been involved in the leather/kink community for over ten years.
What do you think the biggest misconception about the leather community is?
A lot of people, when they see the leather community, they turn their noses up because they don’t really understand the community. They have to understand the reason why I value being a member of the leather community so much is because everybody supports each others’ rights to maintain their individuality. You don’t have to live my lifestyle, and you don’t have to like the things I like, but the only thing I ask is that you support me in living my own truth and my own lifestyle. I’ll give you the same respect. I think that’s a big misconception people outside the community have. They think we’re just kinky, freaky, but they don’t really understand the respect, the history of how much the community has done for the gay community as a whole.
As part of this win, you’ll be heading to Chicago Memorial Day Weekend to compete at International Mr. Leather, won’t you?
Yes, I’m very much looking forward to representing San Francisco at IML. It should be a really fun weekend.
What does that opportunity mean to you?
It’s an opportunity to go and represent San Francisco to the rest of the world and meet other members of the community from across the United States and world. It’s an opportunity to really get a chance to have a great weekend, share experiences and ideas and, of course, play. (Laughs.)
Your mom is very involved and present in your life. What does she think of your win?
She told me congratulations. I don’t really hide parts of my life from her. I don’t share every last detail with her, but I do let her know important things like this. She’s very proud of me. The reason I respect her so much is that she’s always told me to live my life with honor and integrity – and she always supports me in doing that. When I told her about winning the title, she said “Congratulations” and that she knows I’ll continue to do all of my community work, which is really special to hear from her.
Does she know that her son is a total undercover freak?
(Loud laughter.) I don’t necessarily need to share all of the details with her. (Laughing.) She really respects me for the community work I do, so I really expose her more to that aspect of it. She doesn’t really need to know, just like other people don’t need to know what I do in the bedroom. They just need to see the overall picture.
Prior to this, you were part of the Bare Chest Calendar. Do you feel that helped prepare you for this title?
I think it did, along with everything else I’ve been able to do in the community. Being Mr. San Francisco Leather is about being comfortable with yourself and being able to express yourself, live your lifestyle in leather and kink, but also being respectful of the past, respect the differences and support various parts of the community with community service. Being a member of the calendar made me a lot more aware of that tradition and the important role it played for us now and for future generations.
In recent years, the leather community and the Mr. San Francisco Leather title have gone through some changes as more fetish or kink-specific titles and elements are introduced. What kind of challenge does that pose?
It’s not a challenge. It’s an opportunity. Leather is a fetish in itself. I think we’re just going through a growth period of learning how to have all these different things fit under that umbrella. For me, I think leather is like the ‘umbrella.’ When I think of leather, I think of fetish in general. It’s just a matter of how does the community grow and evolve from the past we have deeply rooted in the leather traditions which started in the biker clubs, moving into a generation which is more involved with interactions via the web and where we have different types of fetishes from leather to rubber to uniforms to sports uniforms. We are trying to be a more inclusive environment while still preserving our history, so I see it as more of an opportunity.