Have you ever wondered how the hell you became friends with someone? I wondered about my friendship with Troy, it’s not like we just “hit it” off. In fact I always thought that Troy was snobbish, stuck-up, and a bitch. You have to understand that while we knew many of the same people we never conversed. From what I can remember he just sat next to me and said hi, and to be honest I thought this bitch is going to put a knife in my back. However, like most of my friendships they just happened, I don’t go out and seek people to be my friends, they just happen.
Since then I do consider Troy to be a close and dear friend, and I enjoy his company. He comes across as shy and reserved, but once you get to know him, he’s really a true friend.
Troy is currently the President of the Lords of Leather in New Orleans. A position he takes very seriously and with determined dedication. He has been involved in the leather community for 30 years (he joined the Lords in 2010). For him it’s about the freedom of expression, the ability to be himself. The friendships he has built over the years, and it’s more than wearing leather it’s about a community. When he won the title of Mr. Louisiana Leather, it allowed him to engage with the LGBT community. His platform was giving a broader exposure to local LGBT organizations. When he went to IML (International Mr. Leather) in Chicago, It wasn’t about winning but about making his community proud (placed 25th out of 53).
"I am a really nice person, just don't assume I'm a pushover. People who see me in my street clothes would never guess I'm into the leather scene". Troy Powel
Troy is currently the 2017 Mr. Gay Pride New Orleans. An honor that he says surprised him and stated “the fact the board of Gay Pride thought enough of me is truly an honor”. He admits that he has a short window of opportunity to fight for a cause, but regardless of what he does he is still honored to be a representation of the LGBT community here in New Orleans.
Asked what advice he would give someone who is interested in the leather community, he states “learn where the traditions sprang from and the meanings behind them, earn your leather, and be true to yourself”. When asked about the Mr. Louisiana Leather sash he commented that he is “very protective of the sash; it means something, and it’s an honor to wear it”.
Troy will admit that having a high profile in the local LGBT community places high expatiations, and thus can wear on him at times. But he also understands that this is price you pay if you want to affect change.
Regardless of what anyone thinks of the leather community, I’ve learned that it’s a tight knit community. Friendships and respect are earned, and basically about self-expression. Troy is a member of this unique community, something he never takes for granted. I am honored that I took the time to get to know him, and understand his point of view.
Images are the property of Troy Powell and cannot be copied and/or reproduced without written permission.
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