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Talk:Leather subculture


Relation of "leather subculture" to BDSMEdit

I have put extensive work into clarifying the relationship of the "leather subculture" to BDSM in today's major edit, by drawing on Gayle Rubin's academic work on the subject. Once BDSM is properly represented as a part of the leather culture, rather than (as in the earlier version of this page) representing the whole, it turns out to be the part of this article that is most in need of expansion, clarification, and most of all, sources. And this work is badly needed since I notice that elsewhere in BDSM-related articles, links to "Old Guard" and "New Guard" leather point to this page---which has never really provided much sourced data on these topics.

I nonetheless hope that my clean-up, re-organization, and even only preliminary provision of sourced statements for this page brings it closer to meriting the B-grade that it currently has. Cheers to all.Dpmath (talk) 19:35, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

New and Old GuardEdit

In the article it says that the New Guard appeared in the 1990s. I am not an expert on this, so I doubt that I will rewrite anything, but I have read elsewhere that the New Guard appeared around the same time as the Old Guard, in the 1950's or 60's. That New Guard was in fact stricter than Old Guard in some ways, and came as a reaction to what some people saw as sloppiness of the older people. It is possible that I have got this all wrong, but I believe that I have read this. Can someone who knows more about this clarify things a bit, in the article or here in the comments? --Blue Elf 00:05, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

I have read that the terms "Old Guard" and "New Guard" are revisionist misnomers. The article seems to imply some universality to these currently recognized subsets of gay male leather culture. There clearly was a gay male leather subculture in the 50s & 60s, but I've read it was largely underground, and the customs varied widely from group to group. The term "Old Guard" didn't widely achieve usage until the late 1970s. I will research and find some reliable sources on this. Nmwolfboy 20:35, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

The article offers the following description of "The Old Guard," citing Larry Townsend's The Leatherman's Handbook as the source:

"...strict formality and fixed roles (i.e. no switching). Other old guard practices emphasize discipline, honor, brotherhood, and respect, and are said to promote a stricter lifestyle, education, and intra-community privilege based on successive ranks or levels."

I have not read Leatherman cover to cover, so I won't say that it definitely contradicts the above description. However, I have read large parts of it and those parts all describe a world that is the polar opposite of a subculture with "strict formality" and "successive ranks." Men dress in leather and denim, go to leather bars, hang out, meet play partners (often strangers or casual acquaintances), and then go back to one of their respective domiciles for the actual encounter. He's describing a world of free agents, all on equal footing socially, forming and dissolving bonds on a daily basis. There are examples of deference and terms like "sir" and "master" get used, but almost always in the context of a two-person relationship. Townsend does make it clear that many of these leathermen know each other socially and I feel safe in saying that there's evidence of a community, but I see no evidence of a hierarchy. As for the assertion that switching was not permitted under this system, Townsend, in a chapter devoted to the subject of "Assuming A Role," writes "After sampling a number of different situations, most leathermen will begin drifting toward a favorite or most suitable role. For some it will become a firm choice, with little possibility of variation. For a majority, the goal (hence, the role) will reflect a transitory state of mind. I have found few guys who are unable to switch-hit when the circumstances are right." In other words, the majority of leathermen were switches.

I just don't see how Townsend's book can be used to support these claims about "The Old Guard." If anyone can find any passages that do, please point them out to me. I'm using a trade paperback copy of the Silver Jubilee edition. Clay201 (talk) 00:23, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

I have now edited the article. The description of "old guard" is no longer attributed to Leatherman (or to any other source, for that matter).Clay201 (talk) 19:21, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

As far as I can see, Old Guard is a total myth. (Jay Wiseman is a het, but involved in the Janus Society which as the time was dominated by gay men) That material has remained unsourced in the article lone enough and is now removed. --PrettyPoliceman (talk) 02:37, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

Connection with drag queensEdit

I would like to hear more about the connection between drag queens and leather folk. Afterall, it was both who were arrested at Stonewall. According my older leathermen friends, their shared outsider status made them allies. --Tiger MarcROAR! 18:28, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

what does...Edit

"An increasing number of pansexual clubs evolved as well." mean?-- 03:37, 18 April 2007 (UTC)


This, like it seems many wikipedia articles on sexual culture (whether LGBT, BDSM, or whatever) is atrociously speculative and uncited. Really now! Is leather, etc., some sort of obscure culture whose history has been transmitted only through word of mouth, that you have no choice but to make these things the sources for your encyclopedia article?

Come on! Users who wrote all these things about leather culture and its history, sociology, psychology, etc.: How the hell did you come to know this stuff? Did you just hear it from your roommate's cousin's boyfriend this one time, or did you read it from among the reams and reams of reputable essays on topics like this? (There's a museum dedicated to it, for Chrissakes!) If it really is the latter, why not just site it while you're making the contribution? 08:47, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

I agree that this page is WOEFULLY underdocumented. Much of it reflects the usual "hearsay" and mythos of the gay leather subculture---myths whose base in fact seems doubtful. I see a number of books and articles cited in the "Further Reading" section---I would hope that someone would read those, and other literatures, and do this topic the justice it deserves. I'd do it after tenure but I don't think it can or should wait that long. In the meantime, I've tried to clean up some of the information that belongs elsewhere (i.e., details regarding the movie and book "Cruising"; the hankie code) and to rewrite some of the claims so that they're perhaps just a little more plausible given the lack of documentation.Dpmath (talk) 01:07, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Bear communityEdit

Both articles are lacking source based descriptions of their common similarities and differences. --Nemissimo 17:49, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

RE: Goth subcultureEdit

Interesting new information relating leather to Goth subculture. The information deserves a subheading (or even sub-subheading) of its own, I think, rather than appearing only in the opening paragraph (which in any event should be kept very short and introductory, consistent with Wikipedia guidelines). And from what I can tell, this sub-subheading should probably come under the BDSM subheading. The information should also be sourced. If the contributor or someone else doesn't want to clean it up, I'll take it on in a few days. Also, I personally found the information on Goth as it stands is a little esoteric, could it be clarified a bit? Dpmath (talk) 04:14, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. maybe use as tie in to the fashion industry as well. Benjiboi 08:35, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
Additionally, it might be worth thinking about whether the title of the page should become "Leather subcultures" (plural) given the diversity of cultures that are cropping up on this page. Dpmath (talk) 17:24, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
Absent further edits from Thorrstein, I've gone ahead with the changes I suggested, and to which Benjiboy agreed. Dpmath (talk) 18:30, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Paganism Section RemovedEdit

This was rather bizarre, and unfounded. In particular the claim that Alexandrian and Gardnerian practices include BDSM stand without explanation (As someone who is both a member of one of those traditions and also into BDSM I would have to say that there really isn't any such direct connection) and would be irrelevant even if true (Alexandrians and Gardnerians traditionally practice naked, which somewhat rules out much in the way of leather). (talk) 00:13, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:Glennhughes villagepeople.jpgEdit

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I've added a worldwide view template at the top to indicate the near-exclusive American focus of the article. Does the leather subculture even exist outside of North America? After reading the article, I sure don't know! See the guidelines on countering systemic bias

Worldwide ViewEdit

I've added a worldwide view template at the top to indicate the near-exclusive American focus of the article. Does the leather subculture even exist outside of North America? After reading the article, I sure don't know! See the guidelines on countering systemic bias. Elliotreed (talk) 01:53, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

Likely they were commercialized and popularized in the US but similar culture is certainly found elsewhere. -- Banjeboi 02:52, 26 September 2008 (UTC)


Not sure if this will be useful or not, but here's a short article that might be relevant:

rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 02:47, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Tom of Finland?Edit

How has his work effected the leather subculture? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:12, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

Influence on mainstream cultureEdit

This section would be better entitled "popular people who also wore leather." In this paragraph, the only thing that suggests that gay men's leather culture affected popular culture is a statement by Rob Halford, who is not really a valid source on the subject. His only credentials to speak on the issue are that he: 1. is gay; and 2. wears leather.

If someone doesn't substantiate this section with some citations, it needs to be deleted or renamed to "popular people who also wore leather" or something of the like. As of right now, this section attributes leather wearing, in general, to gay men's leather culture, though an earlier section in the article attributes gay men's leather culture to biker culture, which is a more likely to have influenced other leather wearers given the fact that more people associate leather with bikers than with gay men.

Correlation is not causation. It's preposterous to assert that gay men's leather culture motivated Elvis (or other popular musicians) to wear leather without some citations. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:25, 22 October 2011 (UTC)


where did the leatherdykes article go?Edit

A few days ago, there was an article for leatherdykes. I was doing some research to add to it, but today it redirects me here.

How do I find out why it was deleted?

Jackiepatti (talk) 02:00, 4 July 2017 (UTC)jpatti

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