Toni Solenne, January 27, 2017 Address:
Wow, what fun & wild ride these last few years have been as a #womanofdrummer. For me, this ride started over two years ago as I watched Mike Zuhl purchase an auctioned piece of art from the Jersey Amazons and stand on a stage in Asbury, New Jersey. On that day, he spoke about the women who have supported Drummer from the very beginning. He spoke about women who had significant roles in early Drummer publications and contests, but emphasized how his sisters were there in many roles during the AIDS epidemic. On that day in Jersey, Master Mike purchased the artwork and announced that the bandana flag would be the symbol of Women of Drummer.
I attended the first DNA competition in Florida two years ago. To be quite honest, I attended because I wanted to support my friends, Mike Zuhl, Rik Newton-Treadway and Tina Landi, who were organizing the first contest. I was there to support them because that is what friends do-that is what leather people do. I was thrilled to meet both Doc and Wouter and very impressed that Wouter’s first event as Drummerboy was to participate in my local bar fundraiser in Pennsylvania. I went in to the weekend with friends, but I came out of the weekend with what was going to become my “tribe”.
After the contest in Florida, I would see many of the Leatherwomen from DNA weekend at different events. Some of us played together at IMsL and WILL. We talked about our DNA experiences and came together once again last year in Vegas. We had another round table discussion, fun and hot times-both within our own group and with our leather brothers-throughout the weekend. I came away from last year’s DNA weekend feeling “connection”.
I was not alone. Starting a few weeks later, Fidget and Tina would start hashtagging their social media posts with #womenofdrummer and the group from DNA weekends started to do the same.
[introduce Fidget and show video below]
2016 Women of Drummer Highlights
Women of Drummer are the fierce, sexy, playful, leather, sexual outlaws of North America. We come together to share ideas, collaborate and celebrate who we are. We do not need another conference, we want opportunies to connect with one another. We do not need another contest, but feel a need to encourage our sisters to represent our playful way of life. We celebrate our love for our leather brothers, but this is our movement. We speak with our own voices, walk our own path fiercely with grace and dignity, and enjoy ourselves in our leather. We dance to the rhythm of our own drum. Welcome to the #womenofdrummer movement!
I’d like to invite those who identify as Women of Drummer to the stage at this time. This year, I had the privilege to witness the #fierceness of Tina Landi, the #DNAnagins of Fidget, the #badass-ery of Wish, #fearlessness of Destiny, #playfulness of Margaret, the #leatherheart of Buz and looking forward to experiencing the #mywetdream MsKitty, #Eroticbootmassage of Xayoi and the #hotness of Mickey this weekend!
I am on stage tonight to announce that Women of Drummer will be hosting five regional gatherings before our 2018 annual family reunion in Las Vegas next year. Each gathering will be a one-day event including a morning roundtable discussion, afternoon DNAnigans, #womenofdrummer story time, and womens’ play party. Women of Drummer regions will include: Northeast, Southeast, Northwest, Southwest and Central and gatherings will be held in May, June, July, and August 2017.
I am also here to announce that many Women of Drummer feel a need to rekindle the primalness, traditions and play of self-identified gay and queer leather women. Next year in Vegas, at our annual DNA family reunion where history is honored and diversity respected with our brothers, we will come together to choose our representative for the first ever Women of Drummer Contest. While the Women of Drummer contest is exclusively for self-identified gay and/or queer, leather, female contestants residing in Canada, United States or Mexico, Women of Drummer embrace and welcome our kinky brothers, kinky sisters and queer family to join and participate in the celebration of Women of Drummer. Now is the time, along with our leather brothers, to once again stand up and unapologetically celebrate our sexuality, our leather, and our fierceness. I hope you will join us next year in Vegas for the first Woman of Drummer Contest.
Toni Solenne, Owner, Women of Drummer
Jessica Fidget, Executive Producer, Women of Drummer Contest