International Mr. Leather cancelled for 2020

The stage at International Mr. Leather 2017. (Photo by Tom Wray)

CHICAGO —International Mr. Leather (IML) was officially cancelled on Memorial Day.

Normally, the event takes place over Memorial Day weekend. The event, one of the largest annual conventions in Chicago, was postponed until fall back in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, they officially cancelled it for 2020.

In a video announcement on the front page of the IML website, the event staff said out of concern for everyone and because of the uncertainty the pandemic, they were cancelling for the year.

The staff noted that community members are both deeply involved in helping during the pandemic and that many people who would normally attend were also facing economic issues thanks to shut down orders.

In a letter posted with the letter, the event will list the 42nd year as the “year without winners.”

Information about hotel and package refunds will be available on the website after June 1.

IML first started in 1979 as a bar contest. In the 42 years since, it has grown into one of the largest LGBTQ events in Illinois and the country. An average of 12,000 people attended events across the city and the weekend often injects $20 million into the local economy.