”THE TABOO ON LEATHER SHOULD BE A THING OF THE PAST. IT IS A LIFESTYLE.”
Text: Paul Hofman
Photo: Remon van den Kommer
Video: Paradox Productions
Pan-sexual Suzanne van de Laar (45) thinks it’s ‘cool’ that she has been asked to be one of the Pride ambassadors this year. Her resume is impressive.
At seventeen, she was captivated by leather, and became obsessed with it for life. Gradually, she got to know the leather community through and through. Soon, she was completely familiar with it. In her daily life Suzanne is a photographer, mother, activist, councillor for the municipality of Almere, and advocate of the interests of the leather community. “Leather feels so good to the skin. It is pure, tough and sexy,” Suzanne notes. Three years ago, she was elected Miss Leather Netherlands. “I was so happy to be the first woman to win this title.”
She is there at every leather party. It takes her to countries such as the United States, Great Britain and Israel. “I really enjoy these trips.” She thinks it odd that leather is still such a taboo in some circles. “People think that leather world is mainly about sex, but that is certainly not true.” She stresses that leather is so much more than that. ‘That layer of leather can be a fetish, but it is also a look – it smells good, gives you confidence and is exciting. It radiates power.” She continues: “As leather fetishists, we are very involved with each other.” She emphasizes that leather gets into your heart and soul. “It’s almost family and certainly a lifestyle.” Yet she regularly encounters prejudice within the LGBT community. “I hate to be pigeon-holed”. However, she will remain committed to the leather fetish community in every way.
Her ambassadorship is the crown on her work for the learning community. “As an ambassador, I will fight prejudices. I will also give school lectures”. Campaigning is in her genes. “We still have a long way to go, but all together, we can do it. It can’t go fast enough.” Her secret? “I’m still me. And visible whenever possible. I’m the one who needs to make it happen. That’s what I’m all about as a human being. Period.”
Pride ambassador since 2022