Jo King (her real name) told Sydney Star Observer she was honoured to accept the title from a community she considers her home away from home.

The award is presented as part of Leather Pride Week and was awarded to King at last Sunday’s Fair at Prince Alfred Park. The honour is presented by Sydney Leather Pride Association in recognition of exceptional contribution of a member of the leather community.

For King, this means previous work on the board of SLPA managing education and art events, but also through her work as a leather designer and owner of Karnal Leather.

King told the Star her shop also operates as an informal community resource.

We get visitors coming in from overseas asking us where can I go and do this and meet people -¦ We also get a lot of people that come into the shop that just need advice on things and it’s not necessarily anything to do with anything we’re selling, King said.

King added that although visitors are sometimes surprised that there is no exclusive lesbian leather venue, she enjoys the mixed nature of Sydney’s community.

There are avenues for gay girls to get together, like the Bad Girls mailing list and Gurlesque. Also the boys at Manacle have Sunday [mixed nights] and their Bent recoveries, and there’s of course the Indulgence parties at the Midnight Shift, King said. We learn so much from the guys, it’s good when we mix. I think a lot of people need to realise that everyone can get along really well if we’re just open to each other.

Leather Pride Week continues until this Saturday 15 May with the Inquisition XII party at Fox Studios. Tickets are still available from Karnal Leather, Sax Leather and Radical Leather. Visit www.sydneyleatherpride.org for more information.

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