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Chicago street renamed in honor of IML founder Chuck Renslow

International Mr. Leather celebrates 40th year

Chicago, IL — An honorary Chicago street name celebrating the life of gay rights champion, business man, publisher, International Mr. Leather (IML) and Leather Museum & Archives founder Chuck Renslow was dedicated on May 19.

Chicago street renamed in honor of IML founder Chuck Renslow :: owen keehnen
Chicago street renamed in honor of IML founder Chuck Renslow 
credit :: owen keehnen
The City of Chicago and Full Kit Gear, along with Renslow's family and longtime partner Ron Ehemann, unveiled the brand new Chuck Renslow Way street signs that now mark the section of north Clark street, between Ainslie and Winnemac streets.

Renslow was an out Chicago businessman in the 1950s who, in the early-1960s, opened the Gold Coast, one of the first openly gay businesses in the city and one of the first leather bars in the world.  He also published GayLife in Chicago.

Renslow opened Kris Studio in 1954 and began publishing a variety of male physique magazines.  In addition to founding the International Mr. Leather (IML) competition and Leather Museum & Archives, his career also included owning the Chicago Eagle and Man's Country, an iconic gay bathhouse located at 5015 N. Clark in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood. 

Man's Country closed last December after 44 years. A four-story brick and glass building condo building to be named after Renslow will replace the old structure. 

Renslow, who was also active in city, state, and national Democratic Party politics, passed away last June at the age of 87 with many LGBT community leaders praising his life and achievements and calling him a "giant of our community" and a "true champion."

"This really is the beginning of an amazing week," Ehemann told the crowd. "But this is the 40th anniversary of IML. I think the street sign is pretty cool, because people are going to see it. But, truthfully, I think 40 years of IML is a lot cooler."

The worldwide IML competition will kick off it's 40th year of events and competition in Chicago on Thursday, May 24.

The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce and 47th Ward Ald. Ameya Pawar helped to get the street dedication confirmed.

2018 International Mr. Leather weekend events
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