Gay leather magazines
Gay magazines originated in the early nineteen fifties from the physique magazines that already existed in the forties.
Left: 1947 Health and Strength.
Right: 1962 Modern Adonis.
Contrary to more liberal European countries like Denmark, Sweden or even Germany, gay magazines especially in the US have long been "disguised" as 'health' magazines, due to the strict laws on pornography. In such a climate it is hard to publish pictures of models in leather. Even though frontal nudity and plain pornography were already allowed in Denmark and Sweden in the mid 1960's, the specific gay magazines targeted at a leather audience came much later, in the late sixties and early seventies.
More gay than straight magazines in this Swedish cigar
shop in Stockholm. The Playboy cover is from March 1965,
so this picture must be from about that time.
Early leather pictures
But as there was a gay leather scene developing from the nineteen fifties, there must have been a demand for leather pictures. Sometimes they do appear in magazines for gay men, luckily there was always the motorcycle to account for the leather gear.
Left: Amsterdam mid 1950's.
Center: pic from Modern Adonis mid 1960's.
Right: photo by Bob Mizer, early 1960's.
Above, far left: a picture from a series about Amsterdam leathermen in the 1950's, taken in the center of town. Center: Picture from an English magazine "Modern Adonis", taken from an issue of the mid sixties. Right: an early sixties photo by well known American photographer and publisher Bob Mizer. Although this picture was taken in the early sixties it was published much later, in 1974, in his magazine "Physique Pictorial".
English leather pictures
The pictures below originate from a magazine published in London, called 'Sir Gee'. From about 1968/1970. The magazine consists of, so it says, "the best material from physique photographers past and present, selected for their quality and appeal." And they brought the pictures with humor.
London, circa 1968-1970.
In these pictures we also see a number of guys wearing jeans. Now a very common sight, but at the time rather unusual in Europe and to a lot of gay men tight blue jeans were highly erotic.
From London Magazine Sir Gee, circa 1968-1970.
Early gay leather magazines
In the mid nineteen sixties, the first magazines that were specifically targeted at a leather loving audience started to appear in Denmark. Because of the liberal laws in that country, we see a lot of frontal nudity in the pictures right from the start, even more than leather...
Different laws in different countries produce different magazines.
Above left: Danish magazine MANège from 1965, already showing full and frontal nudity inside. Center: Kick from around 1970 is also Danish and boldly shows a strapped erection on the cover. Right: English magazine Sir Gee, from just a few years earlier, is still without any nudity.
The gay leather magazines that started to appear in the UK in the late sixties and early seventies are still more interesting to a leather fetishist today, because in the UK the models had to cover their body, which in this case was mostly done with leather.
Two pages from Young Londoners number 2,
Two pages from Young Londoners number 1,
Two pages from Young Londoners number 2,
American Leather Magazines
It was only after the laws on pornography were changed in the late 1960's, that the Americans started to issue magazines targeted at a gay leather audience. Apparently leather pictures had been riskier to publish than the physique pictures that were published earlier.
Well known Drummer Magazine first appeared in 1975. In its original format it was primarily a magazine for -very good- leather stories but later it became more of a photo magazine. Drummer has long been the leading magazine for mostly American Leathermen. In 1992 it was taken over by a Dutch company but Drummer ceased to exist as a magazine in September 1999.
Masthead of Drummer magazine Vol. 1, #2,
The publishers were probably so happy that they could show frontal nudity at last, that the leather of most models was usually taken off after the first picture, if they even wore leather at all... That is not the way leather fetishists like it! But unfortunately it is still like that in too many American magazines and movies.
Left: in 1969 frontal Nudity was allowed
(even on a cover) in the US.
Right: Honcho from 1983.