Editor’s note: This column may contain content that is offensive to some people.
With this month being National Pride Month, there is something I would like to reflect on. Although gay Leathermen were visible in the early pride parades, it wasn’t until the mid- to late- 70’s that we started to become more mainstream. Since that time, we have been visible and vocal in many parts of gay society.
As our community becomes more diverse, more and more of these diverse groups are developing their own pride symbols and flags. The Leather community already has its leather pride flag. There are now flags for BDSM, leather boys, bootblacks, boot fetishes, foot fetish, freak pride, kittens, puppies, Master/slave, uniform, rubber, skinhead, switch, and just about any other fetish you can think of.
But what I don’t see and haven’t seen is a Pride flag for Masculine Gay Men (MGM). It was the MGM who helped to start the Leather community back in the late 40’s. It was the MGM who developed, IML, ISLB, and Drummer. It was the MGM who created the various leather social clubs.
And it is the MGM who are a dying breed. As time goes by more and more of the MGM brothers are going back in the closet. We are seeing less and less of them in public. Why is this? There are a couple of reasons. One, the male gay community has become more and more accepted and thus we have become more and more accepting of others into our community.
While this is good, this is also what is driving the men away. As a friend of mine said 30 years ago, “I’m a man who wants a man who wants a man and not a half-baked imitation.” Gay men want and need to be around other gay men. This especially goes for the masculine men. Masculine gay men crave and need to socialize with other masculine gay men (this goes for both gay and straight men).
And another reason is, it’s become more and more accepting for gay men to be and to embrace their feminine side. Again, this is good. People should be comfortable with who they are and in their own skin. But what this has done is to exclude the masculine men who want to just be and socialize with other masculine men.
At one time, there were bars that catered to just masculine men. But as time passed, these bars had a harder and harder time making it because we didn’t frequent them as much (people paired up and stayed home). In order for these bars to survive, they had to open to a more diverse crowd. Because of this, the MGM stayed away even more.
So, masculine men, we have done it to ourselves. If we want a more masculine environment we have got to support it. Today, there are very few avenues for the gay masculine male to go. There is Up Your Alley (break off from Dore Alley, which was a break off from Folsom Street [these break offs were because the parent event became too all-inclusive and the MGM left to start again]). And there’s Drummer NA.
Many of the former MGM events have morphed into everyone attending. IML and ILSb, are a couple that have had this happen. Why is this? I believe that many people find it is very erotically attracting to attend one of these events. On a basic deep down primal point, there’s something extremely alluring for many people to go to an all-masculine male event. The energy that is generated at one of these events is very enticing and addictive.
So, it’s time to start celebrating gay masculinity and stand out proud to be a masculine gay man! We need to rally to our own symbol. We need to stand up and say, “We are here, we are gay, we are masculine and we are proud to be a Masculine Gay Man!” l