Page 22 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 22

4        Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

               Drummer was a home and a home run. For thirty years, among the
            millions of leatherfolk in North America and Europe, there was hardly a
            player alive who had not heard of or read Drummer. Years after Drummer
            closed, readers continue to report that as teenagers they had managed to
            find Drummer, even in Iowa and Arkansas, and that the assertive primer
            that was Drummer had mentored, shaped, and emboldened their gender and
            kink identities. There was political empowerment in erotic representation.

                                   MARCHING ORDERS
                               Printed on the Contents Page
                                 in every issue except 4-12

                   “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it
               is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music
               which he hears, however measured or far away.
               —Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods (1854)

               The liberal beauty of Drummer was its social permissiveness anchored
            in marching to one’s own drummer. Self-reliance was the Drummer phi-
            losophy. Drummer was descriptive—not prescriptive—about leather behav-
            ior. Descriptive  Drummer  was non-judgmental in simply reporting how
            grass-roots leather lives were actually lived without commandments. Even
            though the Drummer editorial voice was a “Top” seducing subscribers who
            mostly liked to read from a deliciously overpowered “bottom” point of view,
            Drummer was no domineering Dutch uncle demanding, “Thou Shalt” or
            “Thou Shalt Not.” Drummer never prescribed that there was a politically
            correct way to live leather because while there may be rules around sex,
            nobody’s sure what they are.
               Drummer was never Old Guard or New Guard.
               Drummer was always Avant Garde.


            For those aching with a personal nostalgia for the Auld Lang Syne of Leather,
            think of where you were when you first read Drummer.
               For those born in 1980 as the speeding Titanic 1970s cruised into the
            iceberg of HIV, you were nineteen when Drummer closed; but if you have
            intellectual or emotional or erotic curiosity about the way we were, and how
            high we flew, during the last twenty-five years of the twentieth-century,

               ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—post: 03-14-17
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