Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend Events Postponed

Less than a week after announcing that the annual Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend events would take place as scheduled in the nation’s capital from January 13-17, the organizers of the MAL events released a statement on Friday announcing that on All but one weekend events have been postponed indefinitely.

The earlier announcement said this year’s MAL would be hosted in a partnership between the Centaur Motorcycle Club, which started the MAL events, and a team of local event promoters called KINETIC. The 2021 MAL has been canceled due to COVID-19. Organizers say several thousand have turned up for the annual MAL events in 2020 and previous years.

“As the number of COVIDomicron cases continues to rise, KINETIC has been evaluating our ability to ensure community health and safety at the official celebrations for the upcoming Mid-Atlantic Leather 2022 weekend,” the organizers said in a statement.

“After consulting with our partners, government officials in DC, and community members, we have made the difficult decision to postpone our parties and offer refunds to individuals and 2022 Weekend Dance Pass holders,” the statement read.

“MAL is an important part of our community, with a rich history of camaraderie and brotherhood,” the statement continued. “The important work of the Centaurs and the funds they raise through these events will directly benefit our community and local non-profit organizations,” it reads.

“As such, KINETIC will continue to support the Centaurs for a reduced Thursday [Jan. 13] BOOTCAMP fundraising event where all proceeds benefit directly the charities selected by the Centaurs,” the statement read. “The decision to limit this year’s celebrations to BOOTCAMP is a difficult one, but your support at this event will ensure we are able to give back to the local community, even during these trying times.”

The decision to indefinitely postpone all but one MAL events came at a time when some prominent local advocates of the LGBTQ community expressed concern about attending the MAL events due to the rising infection rate of the omicron virus. tribe in DC.

One of those who was concerned was Dr. Stephen Abbott, the director of the medical site at Whitman-Walker Health’s Max Robinson Center in Washington.

“I have attended MAL several times in the past,” Abbott said in a statement from Whitman-Walker. “People will gather close together, masks will be removed to drink a cocktail or kiss a new friend, in the lobby of the host hotel and in the market, hundreds of people will come and go,” he said. “The risk of exposure to the highly transmissible omicron variant is extremely high and an event like this could contribute to the current wave of cases.”

Gay retired DC Police Department Lieutenant Brett Parson, who served as director of the DC Police Department’s LGBT liaison unit, expressed similar concerns.

“After personal consultations with several trusted epidemiologists and public health experts, I have decided not to attend any MAL events this year,” Parson told the Washington Blade earlier this week. “I don’t want to unknowingly contribute to the growing spread of COVID-19 in the country’s capital and around the world,” he said.

“Hopefully anyone planning to attend MAL will understand that DC is a COVID hotspot,” said Peter Rosenstein, DC’s LGBTQ rights advocate. “Personally, I would have recommended canceling out of caution,” Rosenstein said in a Jan. 5 message to the Blade. Other community members expressed similar views in Facebook posts this week.

“This decision was not an easy one to make,” the organizers of the MAL said in their statement on Friday announcing the postponement. “We recognize the fatigue many of you are experiencing with COVID protocols and the hope that this year’s celebrations would signal a return to normal times,” the statement said.

“Unfortunately, until more people choose to be vaccinated and we are able to stay ahead of the virus, we will not be able to adequately ensure the health and safety of our community at so many large-scale events,” it says. “We look forward to seeing you on Thursday [Jan. 13].”

Previous information released by MAL organizers says the Jan. 13 BOOTCAMP dance was to take place at DC’s Soundcheck nightclub at 1420 K St., NW at 10 p.m.

Leave a Comment