By Anthony Lowe

My boots have taken me on the most amazing journey representing our leather community. Part of this journey has involved me demystifying some preconceived ideas about leather men.
The other day, a group of young guys asked me why leather men always wore black and wasn’t that boring, all looking the same.
I told them that if you looked closely we proudly showed our true colours from the hankies we flagged out of our back pockets. If you put us all together, we represented every different spectrum in the rainbow.
And in the leather community there is a place for everyone!
This is apparent at the 2010 International Mr Leather contest in Chicago that I am attending.
Most of the leather contestants here show their true colours in other ways by the community cause(s) they promote, some visibly and others in quiet, understated ways.
While I am representing the Sydney leather community, I am also showcasing a project I am strongly involved with, the Hope for Cambodian Children Foundation Inc.
This organisation does tremendous work with orphaned and abandoned children in and around Battambang, the second-largest city in Cambodia.
HFCC has built a centre in Battambang to care for up to 120 children. At the HFCC centre we provide and care for children abandoned by their families and community because they have or are suspected of having HIV/AIDS. Most of the 100 or more children at HFCC are orphans, many of them have HIV/AIDS.
We have a policy of keeping families together. Often when the parents die of AIDS, they leave behind four or more children, and usually just the youngest child is HIV+.
Many of the children have been living on the streets or on the fringes of villages and as a consequence have not been attending school. At HFCC the children are provided with catch-up programs so they can return to school. These programs include after-school classes that are also available to the poorest families in the community.
info: Visit www.hopeforcambodianchildren.org

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