Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Gay male BDSM leather culture grew out of post-WWII biker culture. This subculture is epitomized by the Leatherman's Handbook by Larry Townsend , published in 1972, which essentially defined the Old Guard leather culture. This code emphasized strict formality and fixed roles (i.e. no switching), and did not really include lesbian women or heterosexuals.
New Guard leather culture appeared in the 1990s, as a reaction to the restrictions of Old Guard style. New Guard, or new leather, embraced switching and often combined spirituality with their play. An increasing number of pansexual clubs evolved as well. There was a time when the organized SM community was mostly a gay thing. That doesn't mean that if you aren't gay you aren't SM. Leather was a SM thing, not a gay thing. Today, while some may still use the term strictly in the old fashioned sense (confusing it with old guard, the "leather community" or "leather culture" includes all BDSM practitioners, gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, or pansexual whether high or low protocol).
Related, interestingly enough, to the leather culture is the chains and leather or denim and leather look espoused by heavy metal bands. The first practitioner of this look in a heavy metal context was Rob Halford, the lead singer of the influential NWOBHM band Judas Priest, who wore a leather suit on stage as early as 1978. Halford, a gay man, picked up the image from leather-culture bars on tour. The rest of the band quickly joined in, and so did subsequent metal bands.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details