ONYX is an organization formed and operated by People of Color who enjoy the leather lifestyle. Our goal is to provide an informational and social organization to address issues specific to people of color who chose to project the positive aspects of the leather lifestyle and support our community and economic initiatives.
Support, spirituality, safety and saneness are keys to attaining our goals. Toward this end, it is the principle aim of ONYX to develop in its members the highest standards of loyalty to the laws and established code of ONYX and to treat all in society with honor, unselfishness, and tolerance.
It is the responsibility of each member to uphold the traditions, standards and practices of this organization as well as the time honored principles of democracy on which this country was built.
It is the fundamental belief of this organization that no finer means is offered for the achievement of these aims than the brotherly association of persons with similar tastes, inclinations and goals.
The Mid-Atlantic Chapter (ONYXMA) is centered in the District of Columbia / Baltimore area and covers the territories of DC, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
ONYX was founded in 1995 to provide education, fraternization and serve as a bridge for Men of Color to the greater Leather community. Mufasa organized the founding members. The founding fathers of ONYX were: Mufasa, David M., Steve B., Nate G. and Wes G. They formed the first Board of Officers with Mufasa (President), Nate (VP), David ( Pledge Master), Wes (Secretary) and Steve (Treasurer).
The Board spent the first year creating the name, colors and initial by-laws for the organization rather than adding new members. As part of this effort, by-laws from other organizations were reviewed, including Trident, ICON Detroit, Asians & Friends and Omigos Latinos. The colors were designed by ONYX brother Charles C. of Caliber Leathers. To begin attracting members, advertisements were placed in print media, such as the Windy City Times, Nightlines and Gay Chicago. ONYX’s first pledge was William (“Bill”) H.
ONYX has had a long standing reputation within the Leather Community with members nationwide and internationally. We are the longest existing Leather club for People of Color and are known for our hospitality and our infamous annual ONYX Leather Dance at International Mr. Leather Weekend in Chicago and our Cocktail party at Mid Atlantic Leather in Washington, DC. In fact, it was ONYX that first introduced “dances” to IML and MAL. The first IML dance was hosted on the 3rd floor of the hotel in the Florentine room.
ONYX celebrates it’s anniversary each Columbus Day Weekend with the ONYX Blackout Weekend Run.
ONYX (www.onyxmen.com) has always been involved in charity work. Much of our early charity work centered on HIV/AIDS, homelessness and the support of children in the LGBTQ community. The chapters Deep South (based in Ft. Lauderdale), Great Lakes (based jointly in Detroit, Cleveland), Lone Star (based in Dallas), Mid-Atlantic (based in Washington DC / Baltimore), Midwest (based in Chicago), Northeast (based in NYC), Northwest (based in San Francisco), Southeast (based in Atlanta) and Southwest (based in Los Angeles) all are involved in contributing back to the Leather, GLBT and People of Color communities. HIV prevention, community care organizations and those that aid youth have always been of note.
After the founding of ONYX Midwest, the first several chapters created were (in order): ONYX Southeast, ONYX Northeast, ONYX Mid-Atlantic and ONYX Southwest.
Our motto evolves around: EDUCATE | EXPLORE | EMPOWER
Education and Community Service are important aspects of each ONYX chapter and critical components of our mission. Members are in service to the organization and to the greater LGBTQ+ community, particularly for Men of Color.
All who support our cause may become members of ONYX. We thank the elders in the People of Color Leather Community for paving the way in order for us to exist. ONYX honors that tradition and looks forward to many more years.
To learn more about the history of ONYX we share the videos below. To see additional videos, checkout our youtube page: https://www.youtube.com/ONYXMen
History of ONYX
Fireside Chat with Vi Johnson (Mama Vi) and Mufasa
To view a video of the ONYX 25th Anniversary Celebration (from December 6, 2020), click below: