CHC, Cynthia Slater, and John Embry Selected for Leather Hall of Fame

LHOF LogoCLEVELAND – The Board of Governors of the Leather Hall of Fame (LHOF) is pleased to announce the 2014 inductees: Chicago Hellfire Club, Cynthia Slater, and John Embry

Chicago Hellfire Club (“CHC”) (1971-Present) CHC is a groundbreaking and extraordinary leather club. Established in August1971 by a group of thirteen men in Chicago, the CHC was formed explicitly for BDSM interaction, as distinguished the “motorcycle” and “leather” clubs that preceded it. With their annual run, Inferno, the CHC grew to include hundreds of members from around the world.

CHC was also among the first clubs to include education and demonstrations of BDSM at their parties, now done by hundreds of clubs and events. The mission statement of the CHC reads, “The Chicago Hellfire Club is a brotherhood of men who share interests in Gay S/m safe sex. The purpose of the Club shall be to provide education and opportunities for participation in safe, sane, and consensual S/m sex among consenting adult men and to foster communication among such individuals.”

Now in its 42nd year, Inferno is attended by more than 300 men over two 3-day sessions. CHC also has a clubhouse in Chicago where they host monthly play parties and special events. CHC also participates in community events, and they have a charitable outreach called The McAdory Fund.

Cynthia Slater (1945-1989) A pioneer in pansexual S/m in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970’s and 80’s, Cynthia Slater remains one of the most important figures in the social mobilization of kinky people. Cynthia co-founded the Society of Janus in 1974. A professional dominant, she was an influential sex educator who ran her own classes and presented SM workshops and programs. Cynthia coined the term “S/m 101”.

Cynthia created connections and community, first through the Society of Janus and later through the Catacombs where her presence opened the door to women and mixed gender populations. Cynthia contributed to making the sex education and sex therapy community S/m positive through her work with San Francisco Sex Information. She also promoted awareness and sensitivity to bisexuality issues while creating a series of mixed gender, mixed orientation play parties in various locations, including gay male bathhouses and sex clubs, and her own apartment and private dungeon.

Cynthia’s activities over the course of two decades helped build one of the earliest variably gendered and diverse BDSM communities which became a national role model for similar efforts in the 1980s and 1990s. Cynthia loved and played with both men and women, counting many gay men among her play partners and significant others. Upon learning her HIV positive status she became active in AIDS education. She was a pioneer in developing and disseminating kink friendly safer sex technologies. Cynthia Slater died from AIDS related complications in 1989,

John Embry (1926-2010), John Embry was the founding publisher of Drummer magazine, the iconic monthly that he ran from 1975 to 1986, during which time it became the most important leather community periodical to date. Drummer published ground breaking images of masculine gay men, against the stereotypes of the time. The magazine contributed to the creation of the international leather community by providing art and information to gay men in metropolitan areas and small towns alike. Hundreds of thousands of leather men learned about each other and themselves through the pages of Drummer magazine.

Embry was born in Winslow, Arizona and attended art school in Los Angeles. He served in the Army, followed by a career in advertising. Prior to founding Drummer, Embry lead the fight against police entrapment and arrests of gay men in the early 1970’s as president of the Homophile Effort for Legal Protection (H.E.L,P Inc.) in Los Angeles. The organization secured bail and sympathetic legal counsel for gay men caught in police raids leading to gay victims of entrapment winning cases, thereby breaking the cycle of raids on gay establishments in Los Angeles.

The magazine name, Drummer, was based on the work of Henry David Thoreau and the independence of the man who “hears a different drummer.” In addition to Drummer magazine, Embry also created the Mr. Drummer Contest, and was influential in the formation of California Motorcycle Club and Carnival. John Embry died on September 16, 2010.

LHOF was formed to honor and preserve the legacy of the extraordinary men and women who have significantly impacted and shaped the history of the Leather/BDSM communities worldwide since 1950. Nominations can be made by anyone in the community, and the three inductees are selected by LHOF Board of Governors. The previous inductees are Tom of Finland, Chuck Renslow, John Coutts, Tony DeBlase, The Satyrs MC, Frank Olson/Don Morrison, The Eulenspiegel Society, Leonard Burtman, Bob Milne, Guy Baldwin, Sam Steward, Irving Klaw, Monique Von Kleef, Alan Selby and Dom Orejudos (Etienne). Learn more about all the inductees at the Leather Archives & Museum or at

The Leather Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies and Brunch will be held at CLAW 14 in the Orion Ballroom at the Sheraton Cleveland Airport Hotel in Cleveland, OH on Sunday, April 27, 2014 at 11 a,m. We invite all leather people to join us to celebrate and honor the lives and accomplishments of these great inductees. Advance tickets required. Find out more and order your tickets now at