Family ties

Mr. Long Beach Leather poses with his adorable Pakistani grandparents

Meet Ali Mushtaq. The 27-year-old Pakistani-American is the current reigning Mr. Long Beach Leather. And his family couldn’t be prouder.

Mushtaq has lived with his grandparents, Ruby and Abdullah Atcha, in Anaheim since he as 11 years old. He came out to them when he was 15.

Though it took some time for him to get used to it, 73-year-old Abdullah says his grandson’s sexuality is a non-issue these days.

“I don’t think it’s easy to be a gay person anywhere in the world,” he tells the Los Angeles Times.

And as for the whole leather thing, that’s not a big deal either.

Related: PHOTOS: Leather Daddies, Rubbermen And Kinksters Take Over Chicago For International Mr. Leather

Mushtaq recalls the first time he came home from college with a bag full of leather gear.

“My grandma was like, ‘Why do you have ropes?’” he says. “’Why are you going to the hardware store all the time?’”

“We are learning from Ali,” Ruby chimes in. “Everybody learns from everybody else. Someone else learns from you, and it keeps on going. Even though we are old, we are still at that phase of learning and understanding this generation.”

At the end of the day, Mushtaq’s grandparents say they’re proud of their grandson’s achievements, including being crowned Mr. Leather and working towards his PhD, because he exhibits their four core values: Being true to oneself. Being good to others. Working hard. Getting an education.

“As long as you have an education and can stand on your own two feet, you don’t worry about anybody or their opinions,” Ruby tells her grandson, dotingly. “We don’t worry about those people.”

Related: Mr. International Leather’s Inspiring Speech Will Have You Cheering “Yes, Daddy!”

“People right now have this idea that Muslims … are the enemy, the devil, that they’re this vilified group that’s out to take out democracy,” Mushtaq says. “And it’s like, no, we’re here, we’re equally part of this country, and we’re here on the forefront of progressive change in our communities.”

“I couldn’t be the out and proud leatherman I am today without the support of my family.”

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  • Xzamilloh

    Ugh. This is beautiful and I applaud his grandparents for being open minded (although I can only go so far because I don’t give kudos for people simply not being a-holes). but we don’t listen to the “All Muslims” people because most of us know it’s not all Muslims that believe A or B, but Islam, much like Christianity, has irredeemable parts of it, and unfortunately, an uncomfortable amount of Muslims believe in those parts. I mean, if this were an article coming out of Pakistan and not Long Beach, this would be even more admirable. As it is, American Muslims are more open then fundamentalist Christians regarding homosexuality. Kudos on evolving beyond the doctrine, but these aren’t the Muslims I take issue with.

  • Kangol

    Beautiful story, and he’s a hottie too.

  • osman

    I am a muslim and we need America to see that you cant tarnish everyone with the same brush !

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