Continuing for a bit about wearing leather garments, I said in my previous post,
Some people have said that wearing leather pants gives signals about one’s sexual orientation. I will blog more about that issue in a future post.
This is that “future” blog post.
More after the jump…
With regard to men wearing leather pants, I will provide some historical context.
According to a number of internet search results, the leather subculture was born out of the biker culture of the late 40s through the 50s and 60s, but blossomed more completely in the 70s with the emergence in the gay world of Tom of Finland drawings of men in full leather and the origins of BLUF (Breeches and Leather Uniform Fan Club).
In the straight world, 1978 saw the metal bands embrace full leather, starting with Judas Priest and later Iron Maden and some others. Straight guys were seeing heavy metal rockers in full leather and giving a high-energy performance.
It wasn’t too long that the band members wore leather every day, not only during performances. Some say the choice to wear leather every day was about maintaining the image and promotion of the bands. (It wasn’t until 1998 that Judas Priest lead singer Rob Halford came out as gay.)
Simultaneously, though, The Village People came on the scene (1977). One of this band’s members was “the leatherman,” Glenn Hughes. Through parody, The Village People were having a lot of fun teasing with various subcultures, including the LGBT community. Many rumors persisted about the bands’ members, and whether or not they were gay.
It also is interesting to note that the song “Y.M.C.A.” by The Village People was adopted sort of as an anthem by the LGBT community as well.
It is my opinion that this perceived linkage by The Village People to the LGBT community particularly affected straight guys’ decision-making regarding wearing leather, particularly leather pants. Those who were outwardly anti-gay, homophobic, or the “closeted fearful” mocked the appearance, particularly of a guy in full leather.
Another thing that happened in the late ’70s was the emergence of the AIDS scare throughout society. There was a linkage between the gay parody of The Village People and “getting AIDS.” That scare added to the rejection, fear, and hatred of anything linked with “being gay,” including wearing leather garments (particularly leather pants.)
Therefore, my opinion is that this is when “the great divide” began. That is, the divide of “if a guy wears leather, he’s gay” and aversion/rejection to that linkage by straight society was rooted and continue to be fostered for years to come.
It still exists today to a small degree. I can’t tell you how many people have made some comments related to The Village People when they see me in leather pants. Mostly those who say something like, “nice pants… are you trying out for The Village People’s reboot?” think that they’re trying to be funny or quick-witted.
However, as time marches on, there are fewer people who have that history or remember even who The Village People were or what was represented. But they sure had their influence.
Meanwhile, the gay BLUF subculture carries on. There are still “club runs” and events like IML and MAL where wearing full head-to-boot leather is expected and where guys feel comfortable among like-minded men.
I come to today. 2019. Why wear leather pants?
a. They make me look good.
b. If fitted custom or made-to-measure, they look damn good.
c. They are durable, rain-resistant, comfortable, and warm.
d. They work well while riding a motorcycle equally as well as when going to the grocery store with little old ladies.
e. I just like them.
f. I invested plenty of moola in my leather pants, so why NOT wear them more than once-a-year to an event?
g. I am a confident man. I really don’t give a rat’s patootee about what other people think or say if I choose to wear leather pants or jeans.
h. Most comments are along the lines of “cool! they look great!” (or similar.)
Face it, guys. History is the past. Will today be the day you put on a pair of leather jeans and boots to match and step out into your life? Will the world end? I think not.
Life is short: wear leather with a confident smile.