As a community, we have been around for a lot of years. We check out the workshop and keynote speakers and see our women’s leather history. We have seen efforts by many groups and individuals to collect our history and make sure we capture the lives and stories of those who have helped to create who we are today.
This year WILL is honored to have Liza being
interviewed by Sarah Humble during Inside the Leather Jacket.
Liza Sibley began her life’s journey in Rochester, NY, spending her youth riding horses and learning the essence of mastery at her Grandmother’s knee. From these beginnings, it is not surprising that she now expresses her leather as a Master and as a pony trainer. Living in her Grandmother’s home with a full complement of servants, Liza experienced hierarchical relationships Victorian style and learned first-hand that service is a gift and those who serve are deserving of great respect. Complementing this, Liza learned discipline and team work in Pony Club flying over fences on horseback in the grassy fields and “dancing” with her horse in a sandy arena doing dressage. She also learned to appreciate the value of sharp uniforms and polished boots in Pony Club and the hunt field. Liza came to power at Woodstock and has been kinky ever since.
As a young woman, Liza attended college at the “real” USC (University of South Carolina) studying Chemistry and Math while spending her summers in Colorado living her own version of Brokeback Mountain (except it was with her lesbian lover, and she wrangled cattle not sheep). As a real-life cowgirl, Liza artificially inseminated over 1000 cows! (Your image of elbow-length latex gloves is pretty accurate.)
Having always thought she belonged in California, she went to graduate school in Chemisty at UC Berkeley working at the Lawrence Berkeley lab on “organo-actinides”. In time she decided she did not want to glow in the dark and was concerned her research could be weaponized so she spent the next few decades raising two children, several dogs, and a few cats while working as an animal health technician. Somehow she found time to continue her riding, serving as a Regional Supervisor and National Examiner for the United States Pony Club.
Around the time her children reached adulthood (about 15 years ago), Liza found her slave, Jody, on the Planet Out dating site. She and Jody broke all the online dating rules and proved they were true U-haul lesbians by moving in together on their first date. Within weeks, Liza collared Jody. Shortly thereafter, Liza became active in the Exiles and served as the Coordinator of that organization during the time of their change in the gender policy, making the Exiles open to “anyone other than male”.
In 2004, when Gavin Newsome allowed same sex couples to marry in San Francisco. not only were Liza and Jody in the first wave of those to marry in this Winter of Love, but Liza was appointed a deputy marriage commissioner, marrying over 400 couples, including several from the leather community.
Soon after this, she and her good friend Mike opened the Complete Bear and Twisted Bear, an online Bear emporium.
Meanwhile, Liza was jumping into the San Francisco leather community with both boots. She was active in both MAsT Greater San Francisco Bay Area and MAsT San Francisco. Liza also served on the Steering Committee of Leather Levi Weekend – an annual queer leather camping run. She served on the Board of the Bears of San Francisco for several years, first as their Quartermistress and later as Treasurer. Liza also served as the Bears' representative to the San Francisco Bay Area Leather Alliance, working on Leather Alley at Pride, the Leather Alliance Weekend, and many smaller events. In 2009, Liza (with help from her slave and several friends) brought back the Ms. San Francisco Leather contest and continues to serve as its Executive Producer. With all of this, Liza somehow found time to continue her riding, having taken a thoroughbred off the race course and retrained him to do dressage and cross-country.
Around this time, Liza noticed that many of the Master/slave titleholder couples didn’t reflect her dynamic, so she decided to take Jody on the wild ride of competing for and serving as Northwest Master and slave 2010. The ride continued with competing for and serving as International Master and slave 2011. During their title year, they traveled all over the US and down under to Australia, making many fast friendships all around (and snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef, one of those bucket list things).
In 2011, Liza and her slave began producing their annual Master/slave Retreat, an event with no presenters and no keynote speakers (but a very big hot tub), just opportunities to share deeply with others engaged in hierarchical relationships. Also around this time, she joined the Board of MAsT International and currently serves as that organization’s deputy director and treasurer.
After living in San Francisco for over a decade, Liza moved in 2013 to Portland Oregon, where she is a member of MAsT Portland, the PDX HERD, and the Portland Bad Girls. She enjoys the many wonders of the great outdoors of the Northwest (but it always rains here, so nobody should move here).
Liza has received numerous awards, including San Francisco Bay Area Leather Alliance Woman of the Year 2009, the Spirit of the Bear in 2011, and MAST International’s 2012 Presenter of the Year (co-held with her slave). Liza is proud to be Mama’s Horsewoman. Always interested in teaching and training, her pupils have included horses, dogs, dolphins, children, inmates and people interested in the lifestyle.
Women’s International Leather Legacy (WILL) in partnership with the IMsL Foundation and IMSL have collaborated to create a series called Inside the Leather Jacket. The goal of the project is interview in depth those women we have heard about for years and can now get a chance to get to know them better.
This project will continue at IMsL April 19-22, 2018 in San Jose.