Trans Wheelchair User Wins IML 2010

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com June 01 2010 3:00 PM ET

Tyler McCormick took home the title of International Mr. Leather in Chicago Sunday, setting precedent in several ways for the 32-year-old global contest.

A female-to-male transgender man who uses a wheelchair, McCormick, who was Mr. Rio Grande of New Mexico, beat 50 other contestants for the title.

"When I first transitioned, I was told I would never be accepted and that I would never be able to take my shirt off in public," he said during the speaking round of the competition. "Standing here as a strong, confident leatherman is proof to the contrary."

McCormick also urged people to have a sense of humor about life, as he does.

"There's a reason I go by 'Leather Gimp,'" he said in a post-win interview. "You're not going to offend me if you use words that are in your heart, but if you're trying to be [politically correct], then lighten up a little."