Leatherati has posted Guy Baldwin’s essay on the Old Guard. As per the site’s editorial request, I won’t post any excerpts here.
The most important thing Baldwin says about this misunderstood and much mythologized era (in large part because HIV killed most of the people who were actually involved) is that there were no universal protocols of leather. The idea that there was such a thing was a pernicious myth that other related subcultures have inherited to their detriment, and I’m glad to see an authoritative statement on the subject. The problem was that what local leaders of each community’s Scene handed down their own particular set of protocols as if they were universal.
Baldwin describes the primordial scene as three overlapping interests (motorcycles, “rough sex” and S/M fetish) and the people into the sex gradually segregated out over time, losing the bikes but retaining the military discipline culture.