Page 258 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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240      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

            kited details (with strings attached) of how to join his primary business,
            “The Leather Fraternity,” and receive—almost as an after-thought—a “free
            subscription to Drummer.”
               In the late 1960s, Larry Townsend was using the United States Postal
            Service to collect nationwide information profiling leathermen, sex ritu-
            als, and fetishes for the book he would publish in 1972, The Leatherman’s
            Handbook. Townsend, well qualified with a degree in industrial psychology
            from UCLA (1957), invented the first market research aimed at leathermen.
            His questions about S&M scenarios helped men uncloset themselves, and
            made his book a vivid expose of the core realities of BDSM in the Swinging
            Sixties decade before Stonewall. Simply called “The Questionnaire,” it pen-
            etrated gay popular culture very like a chain letter that leather guys redacted,
            re-typed on carbon paper in their new versions, and circulated by first class
            mail during the 1960s and early 1970s.
               As a pioneer Leather Heritage “liberation” document, it was as impor-
            tant to me—I filled it out and mailed it to him—as it was to Larry Townsend
            who, if he did not originate “The Questionnaire,” perfected it, and circu-
            lated it through the underground of leathermen in his demographic inquiry
            into leather identity. I unraveled some of the DNA of “The Questionnaire”
            and analyzed it when Larry Townsend asked me to write my Introduction
            to his Leatherman’s Handbook, Silver Anniversary Edition (1997). When I
            was Drummer editor-in-chief, I often used the grass-roots demographics of
            Townsend’s “The Questionnaire” as my “tickle file” to develop, produce,
            and publish formerly subliminal and closeted themes and angles for features,
            fiction, and photography. “The Questionnaire” was a primordial index for
            my version of Drummer.
               In 1969, I added my own list of occult questions to “The Questionnaire,”
            typed my own revised version on mimeograph stencils, and printed twenty-
            five purple-ink copies. I mailed them to leathermen around the country.
            Their responses gave insight into how leather rituals sometimes mixed with
            occult rituals which I reported in my book, Popular Witchcraft, page 115,
            1972 edition; page 170, 2005 edition:

               In S&M psychodrama I dig the following scenes with related gear
               and torture. Check your choice.
               Soldiers ( ) Firemen ( ) Cyclists ( ) Sailors ( ) Marines ( ) Airmen ( )
               Coast Guard ( ) Nazi SS ( ) Policemen ( ) Inquisition ( ) Witch Trial
               ( ) Executioners ( ) Black Mass ( ) Cowboys ( ) Witches Sabbath
               ( ) Leather Types ( ) Doctors ( ) Satanic Coven ( ) Crucifixion ( )
               Hot Wax ( )...

              ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-16-2017
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