IMLBB to be cancelled for second year

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

International Mr. Leather-International Mr. Bootblack will be back in 2022 after cancelling for a second year in a row.

The event, the largest LGBTQ event in Illinois, cancelled for 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement on Wednesday, the Renslow Charitable Foundation said that this cancellation was because of the logisitics of running the event in November.

Traditionally, IMLBB has been over Memorial Day weekend in Chicago. The event had been rescheduled for November in 2021 before the announcement.

The producers cited the shortened program in November, a smaller vendor market with fewer hours and the financial impact of having the event within six months of the 2022 IMLBB.

The event, one of the largest and oldest leather events in the country, is the major fundraiser for the Leather Archives & Museum. It began in 1979 and is one of the largest annual conventions held in Chicago. More than 12,000 people can go through the vendor market during a typical year.

“Everyone working on and for IML is a close family and we, like many of you, are taking this decision hard,” the foundation said. Our even is truly a labor of love and we know there will be some who passionately disagree with this decision. We understand and respect those opinions, but we have always promised we would return with it was both smart as well as safe.”