There’s something about a man in leather that harkens to the deepest desires of a gay man. Leather can butch up even the most flamboyant little man. It speaks a promise of adventure, sexual exploration and a night to remember.
In writing this article I found that I know two things about leather culture. The first is that I don’t know that much about leather culture, the second is that I’m turned on by it.
Apart from a few drunken nights at The Eagle where I wandered into the leather shop downstairs, I haven’t had much experience with guys who were into it. Despite my best attempts at persuasion, I have never been able to get any of my boyfriends to wear a collar or harness.
The origins of gay leather culture go back to the end of WWII becoming more popular in the 1950’s as gay motorcycle clubs grew on both coasts. The new movement challenged the “Gay Fairy” stereotype with a more rugged male. I remember coming across a Tom of Finland book as a kid and being in awe. Images of dominate and masculine gay men decked out in chaps and leather hats. I would come to find out later that not all men were as visually appealing or hung as those I had come to gauge my sexuality by, but it still stands as a memorable entry point.
The rise of the leather culture gave way to homomasculinity, which has boomed in current times. Suffice to say, Bears are in bitch. Which makes me happy because body waxing can get extensive and expensive. Personally I prefer the natural bush popularized in the 70’s and 80’s. There’s just something about a hairy chested Mary that gets me going.
Leather Pride is more than just hot men wearing leather. The culture has provided the gay community with mainstream images that reflect the variety and celebrate the differences that fill our colorful society. It challenged the standards of beauty built within gay stereotypes. We aren’t all perpetual boyish figures, we are men in any shape or form.