Michigan – Mr. Liberty Leather, Kenn Kennedy

Kenn is 33 years old and hails from Royal Oak, Michigan. The Mr. Liberty Contest was held at the Liberty Bar in Pontiac, Mich. in February. Since Kenn was selected as Mr. Liberty he has held two events at the Liberty Bar, his congratulatory party in February and The Saints and Sinners Party in April. I caught up with Kenn just after IML.

So it’s a third of the way into your time as Mr. Liberty 2016, tell me how the last 4 months has been for you?

I’ve had a great past few months. Not much has changed. I’ve been busier lately but that also has to do with the time of year and that I finished my Master’s degree in Engineering Management. I’ve had a lot more opportunities to volunteer and host events. It’s been a whole lot of fun planning and hosting events with Kent and the rest of his staff at Liberty Bar in Pontiac. It’s nice seeing so many people show up and enjoy themselves at a bar that’s been super supportive of the leather community over the years.

Mr. Liberty Kenn Kennedy and Liberty owner Kent Piatt

Mr. Liberty Kenn Kennedy and Liberty owner Kent Piatt

What was your platform when running for your title, and how has that changed over the last few months?

I didn’t really run on a platform. At Mr Liberty Leather I spoke about the concept of chance and taking risks. I also talked about the cause and effect of social interaction and how a small gesture can influence another person in a large way. None of this has changed for me. I still find it to be true.

Any special events coming up that you’d like to tell us about?

I have two events coming up at Liberty Bar in the next few months:

On Saturday July 23rd at Liberty Bar in Pontiac MI, I will be hosting the Graffiti Bash. Wear a white teeshirt and prepare to write all over eachother. There will be Violet Wand Demonstrations and a bootblack on duty.FB_IMG_1465460421830

I will also be hosting a MML (Mr. Michigan Leather) sendoff party at Liberty Bar on September 10th.  More details will come in that at a later date.

You’ve done some traveling already including CLAW and IML, during your travels who were you most excited to finally meet and why?

So anyone who knows me, knows I’m an information sponge who is boundlessly curious. When I travel around to events I like meeting people with backpatches or titles that I have never heard of so I can ask about them. This has led to some really interesting conversations and ultimately has led me to getting involved with some new groups doing great things in our community.

What’s the next step for you?

As far as contests go, the next step is MML. Michigan has a lot of great men and MML always puts on a great show so I encourage everyone to book their rooms at the Dunes Resort now so you don’t miss out.

I see you’ve started a Facebook page for autism and leather, can you tell me a little bit about why you started this and what you hope it will accomplish?

So the “ASD Leather Folk” group of Facebook is just a place where leather folk with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) can meet each other and talk. I started it because I’m am High Functioning Autistic and appreciate talking to other people who can fully relate with the unique experience that is autism. I figured other ASD people might feel the same way. As far as what I hope to accomplish; who knows. I haven’t given it much thought. First I just wanted to find other ASD people in the community and figured I could see where it goes from there. I’ve already been privately approached by a dozen or so people who have identified themselves as autistic as a result of this group so I have some hope that this will lead somewhere.

What is it like for you, being on the autism spectrum and being in leather? What are some of the things we should be aware of when interacting with you or that may make it more comfortable for you?

Autism is a really complicated disorder. Being on the spectrum is a lifelong struggle to learn how to effectively be understood and how to understand people around you. I would just encourage people to do a little research if they so desire. There’s lots of great material online. A little patience and understanding can go a long way when interacting with ASD folks. Direct communication is reccomended as well because many ASD people do not pick up on non verbal cues and subtext.

Mr Michigan Leather has been won by the Mr Liberty contestant since Liberty was started, those are some big shoes to fill, what do you see as your strengths to help you continue this streak?

Frankly, I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing and hope for the best. I do a really good me. That’s all.

Andrew and Kenn

Andrew and Kenn