Ask just about any leatherman or leatherwoman you meet who Chuck Renslow is,
and you’will get an answer right away. Here are some of the answers: He was
the founder in 1950 and photographer of Kris Studios, one of the earliest
and most durable of the physique houses (and the one where leather always
had a place). He was also a noted photographer of the Ballet. His dance
photography is now in the Newberry Library dance collection In the “Chuck
Renslow Dance Photographs” collection. He opened the first leather bar,
the Gold Coast in Chicago, in 1958. He was the publisher of Triumph, Mars
and Rawhide Male magazines. He was a founder of Second City Motorcycle Club,
the first club not on the West coast, in 1965. He was the founder of many
bars and sex clubs since the 1960s, including MansCountry, which has
survived for more than 30 years. He was among the earliest member, often
among the founders, of many gay liberation organizations and movements. He
was the founder of Prairie State Democratic Club in 1980. He is the owner of
the Chicago Eagle. He is the founder of Chicago’s famous White Party, which
almost no one notices is his birthday party.
Other answers have to do with his friends and lovers: He was the lover of
Dom “Etienne” Orejudos for more than 40 years and, by encouraging him and
publishing his work, he is partially responsible for the art of Etienne. He
was involved with Cliff Raven, Chuck Arnett and Sam “Phil Andros” Steward
and encouraged them in their famous work, too.
Chuck Renslow was inducted into the City of Chicago’s Lesbian and Gay Hall
of Fame in 1991 and has received just about every honor and awards the gay
and leather communities can give him. He is on the Board of Directors of the
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and a U.S. Representative to I.L.G.A.
International Lesbian and Gay Association. He is the founder, in 1979, of
International Mr. Leather, which grew out of his Mr. Gold Coast contest and
the experience he had managing A.A.U. physique competitions. When Dom
“Etienne”died,Chuck combined his Hugh collection of Etienne's art with his
own personal archives from his business and his life. These were the
foundation of the Leather Archives & Museum. which Chuck co-created with
Tony DeBlase in 1991. Chuck is the president of the Leather Archives and
Museum and has been since it’s conception.