Page 26 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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8        Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999


            John Rowberry, John Preston, and Jack Fritscher.” (Susie Bright’s Journal, “A
            Brief History of On Our Backs, 1984-1991,” November 15, 2011)
               Leather pioneer and historian Viola Johnson, founder of the resource-
            rich Carter/Johnson Leather Library, recalled a delightful gender friendly
            story in her C/JLL Newsletter, March 2011, about kink-identified women
            in Greenwich Village discovering Drummer in the 1970s during what hap-
            pened to be my three-year tenure as editor-in-chief creating issues 18 to 33,
            March 1977 to December 31, 1979.

               In the...1970s, Jill and I sporadically read hand-me-down copies of
               Drummer. Yes, I was a woman married to another woman, but I
               still loved looking at the male form. Beauty is beauty regardless of
               sex or gender. I knew the date and the time Drummer would hit the
               only newsstand in the Village that sold it....I couldn’t wait to get my
               hands on the latest adventures of Mr. Benson and his slave Jamie.
               Then one night after a Eulenspiegel (TES) meeting a group of us
               went out to eat and one of the dominants at the table asked if any-
               one would loan her their Drummer.... Within a few minutes all the
               women at the table, dominant and submissive were talking about
               Drummer and what they liked or read in the magazine. We were all
               surprised to know that there were other women who read Drummer
               also. It didn’t matter that Drummer was a gay men’s magazine. We
               read Drummer, learned from it and enjoyed it.



            MAGICAL THINKING, TOM OF FINLAND, AND THE
            ALGORITHM OF THE MARLBORO MAN

            Masturbation is magical thinking. So, initially, what we did to make
            Drummer pulsate hard was add realism and availability to the spank bank
            fantasies of one-handed readers who wanted a virile magazine that made
            the frontiers of newly liberated sex seem possible, accessible, and bound-
            less. What they wanted they found in the homomasculine media image
            of themselves as newly minted leathermen come alive in the cinema verite
            stories and the reality-show photos and drawings reflecting what gay men
            really did at night.
               Drummer changed the homophobic image of queers into the Platonic
            Ideal of the masculine-identified new gay man. And the algorithm of the
            new label “Leatherman” went viral in American popular culture, films, and
            fashion.


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