Page 215 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
P. 215

Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                 195
                Leather liberated masculine love from the depressive drag stereotype.
                Townsend helped define masculine-identified homosexuality in
             terms of the pop psychology that is the guywire of our media conscious-
             ness of self. Leather is a sock-to-the-jaw statement that, contrary to the
             straight stereotype, gay men are not faux females driven to dresses. Just
             as female drag had once been the town queer’s way of signaling blowjobs
             to sailors, suddenly drag divided and alternated; and leather became the
             new semaphore advertising a new, open man-to-man sex encounter.
                Leather was a welcome way out of the closet for masculine men who
             in larger numbers than anyone ever suspected thanked the gods that the
             New Leather Culture allowed them to do their Father’s Act rather than
             their Mother’s Act, and in doing their Father’s Act to excel beyond the
             father.
                The sign on the ceiling of the Tool Box said, “No Tennis Shoes,”
             which nixed limp wrists, fluffy sweaters, and the passe code slang of the
             “Friends of Dorothy.”

             SAME WAVE-LENGTH, SAME TURF:
             6 DEGREES OF LEATHER
             Nothing happens in a vacuum. So parallel is the leather universe, that, in
             1971, the year before the publication of The Leatherman’s Handbook, I had
             no idea that “The Leather List” was anything but just another samizdat
             folk document circulated as jerk-off material, but informational enough
             that I quoted the anonymous questionnaire as a grass-roots source in
             my own nonfiction book, Popular Witchcraft: Straight From the Witch’s
             Mouth,  published  at  the  same  time  as  Larry’s  Leatherman’s  Handbook
             (1972).
                This Popular Witchcraft was the first modern uncloseting, analysis,
             and mix of homosexuality, leather, and satanism.
                In my own participatory research, I connected samples of 1960s
             leather-heritage DNA: Satanic S&M Black Masses in Greenwich Village,
             gay conjure-magic at Fe-Be’s bar in San Francisco, and the rituals of the
             gay S&M coven called “The Order of the Sixth Martyr” in LA. I included
             quotes from William Carney’s book, The Real Thing (1968), because Car-
             ney codified how-to-do and how-to-live the leather lifestyle. I’ve often
             thought that pioneer Carney in 1968 inspired pioneer Larry Townsend
             to begin his S&M survey published four years later. All of us participated
             in the same zeitgeist. Leather was “happening.” [Author’s note: Without
             knowing one another, several Drummer types were pursuing the same
             analysis of leather on a tight timeline: Carney’s The Real Thing (1968); my
             novel, I Am Curious (Leather) (1968) with my nonfiction book of inter-

           ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
                HOW TO LEGALLY QUOTE FROM THIS BOOK
   210   211   212   213   214   215   216   217   218   219   220