The History of MDHL

MDHL (Male Dominant Het Leather) is a movement begun in 2003 by The Monarchs, a brotherhood of Dominant men in Los Angeles.

The Monarchs recognized a need, within themselves and their community, for definition, discussion, and communication around the issues particular to them and their relationships. Their goal in defining MDHL was to provide a set of principles that shape healthy, empowering and mutually gratifying relationships in the context of power and authority exchange between Dominant men and the women who submit to them.

In 2012, with the creation of the MDHL name and flag, MDHL was given its current public form. In doing so, they found that they’d created something that expressed more than identity; it expressed a dynamic. In order to
explore that dynamic, in concert with the creation of MDHL, The Monarchs began BOLD – a three-day conference held annually in Los Angeles.

BOLD was conceived in 2009 and, after several years of planning, the conference’s inaugural year (2012) was devoted to the theme of ‘Defining the Dynamic’. For a weekend in February, men and women came together
for classes, community and engagement in discussion with their peers.

What emerged was the sense that MDHL is defined by the authentic, honest and thoughtful expression of who we are as a collective, committed to power and authority exchange in Male Dominant/female submissive relationships. And, that the strength of the MDHL community as a whole is directly attributable to the strength of its individual members, just as the strength of any relationship is dependent on the individuals within that relationship.

That realization provided the jumping off point for the second annual meeting of BOLD, solidifying the concept further. From authenticity and expression of self, the dynamic gained strength, providing BOLD 2013’s theme: Strong Men, Strong Women, and Strong Relationships.

MDHL focuses on the specific and particular issues that define and are defined by Male Dominant and female submissive interactions. Those interactions are determined by authentic and honest engagement with each other in a dynamic defined by respect and strength.

Core Principles of MDHL

In exploring the tenets of MDHL we are committed to initiating discussions around the history, meaning, and what it means to practice a leather lifestyle as heterosexual Dominant men and submissive women, beginning with identifying four key principles: Honor, Integrity, Tradition, and Respect. Our belief is that these terms, while important aspects of any mature, adult, healthy relationship, incur special burdens within the context of our interactions.

In the context of MDHL:

● Honor is the principle that your actions are above reproach in terms of intention, consent, and dignity. To behave honorably means that you act in ways that are within the boundaries of your peers and community and that you are accountable to those who share your commitment to similar ideals, practices and beliefs. Honor is about consistent, appropriate behavior in both speech and action toward others.

● Integrity is one’s own moral calling and the ability and will to act according to principles that one knows are right even in the face of obstacles. Integrity is the personal moral compass which directs our actions and justifies our behavior. It is accountability to oneself. Integrity is about consistent behavior in both speech and action in relation to one’s own personal moral and ethical beliefs.

● Tradition is the path by which we acknowledge those who have come before us, both for their contributions, and their sacrifices. Tradition honors those who have helped set the ideals we aspire to and who have opened doorways to allow us to live our lives more openly and freely than our predecessors.

● Respect is the principle that we judge others on the basis of their actions rather that by criteria such as race, creed, religion, sex, gender, or orientation. This includes tolerance of difference, avoiding uninformed judgment, and acceptance of others’ choices regarding relationships, styles of play, and other aspects of BDSM.

By committing to and holding these beliefs, MDHL can continue to evolve in productive directions, focusing on connected, mutually gratifying relationships and establishing standards for honor, integrity, tradition and respect that will allow us, as individuals and as a community, to grow and flourish.

Starting an MDHL Chapter

MDHL is a dynamic that exists in and across a wide range of practices and relationships in the BDSM and Leather worlds. MDHL does not preclude one from participating in any kind of power or authority exchange from Master/slave to casual play. What makes a relationship MDHL is an attention to the Male Dominant/female submissive dynamic and a commitment to the principles we adhere to: Honor, Integrity, Tradition, and Respect.

In order to begin an MDHL Chapter in your area you must:

1. Hold regular meetings open to members of the community who define themselves as MDHL.
2. Register with MDHL Online ( and provide meeting times, location information, and contact information for your group.
3. Agree to the Statement of Principles found at the MDHL website.
4. Only use officially sanctioned MDHL patches and logos for your group.

MDHL and Leather Titles

MDHL is not a Leather Title sponsoring movement or organization. We do not endorse any particular Leather Titles nor do we sponsor or sanction any title contests.

We do, enthusiastically, support MDHL members who choose to run for Leather Titles and participate in state, regional or national leather competitions.