Preface: When talking about Old Guard Leather , new guard washing is always behind the corner. It baffles and confuses me, and I never got to quite nail down the reason why people react with denial to what they don’t know or didn’t experience. We have been accused of “hurting and offending” other people with our lifestyle, which is a clear indicator of how “free and open to different colors” new guard generally is. Therefor, the reader is remembered that these are free thoughts of a free man, founder of a free group and are not intended to hurt, exclude or mistreat anybody. I would also like to remember the reader that I pay for the website, I run the website, I am the owner of this website which is for adults only, and therefor if you feel disturbed by what you read, you are welcomed to find safety on other harbors of the internet or elsewhere.
This article is Cornerstone content of this website. It is our Creed, Vision, core Values, and our way of life.
Old Guard Leather Today
As of nowadays, if you’re in the Leather and “kink” scene since a while, you’ll of course have heard about the ongoing Old Guard debate; many people use this word, and in the vaste majority of cases they have no clue what they’re talking about. With little guidance and with lots of the older members of the community who survived the HIV epidemic who are giving misleading information for their own personal sexual Agenda, many men have found a quick and easy solution when being confronted with opinions about their questionable interpretation of Leather lifestyle. It appears nowadays that all that is needed to be a Leatherman, is to buy some Leather gear.
Some men nowadays think that the difference between Old Guard and “standard” leather life is being part of BLUF or not being part of BLUF. That’s wrong as well. BLUF is a community which literally stands for “Breeches and Leather Uniforms Fanclub”; it’s a place, community and group that have a strong Fetish for Uniforms and Leather, as much as we have understood. BLUF representatives are of course invited to correct us if this is not accurate. While respect for the tradition of Leather, Boots and Uniforms are an important part of Old Guard Culture, they’re not the foundation of it. You can be a great fetishists for these symbols, but that doesn’t qualify you as an Old Guard Leatherman.
Another part of the scene is made of senior people who decided to completely Newguard-wash Old Guard history for their own benefit. Old Guard is about Integrity, Tradition, Discipline, a strong set of core values, introspection, growth and Strictness. It’s not an easy lifestyle, and until you’ve completed a learning curve that needs you to drop a lot of Ego and self assumption, you won’t be able to appreciate it. Of course, that means that it’s difficult to make friends or fuck buddies in this modern society where everything needs to be ready-made, easily accessible, and based only on 3 things basically: Popularity, Chemsex and Partying. This is exactly the core reason why some of these senior people are pretending Old Guard never existed. In nowadays gay scene is difficult to get laid if you don’t look like a muscle model and you’re not within your 40s; imagine how hard would it be to feel validated through sex and not feeling rejected if you also expected integrity and a sense of honor from your partners. So, many “Daddies” nowadays live like teenagers, as this is more convenient to their needs. The need of not being rejected or ignored.
One important thing to say is that there is not “one” absolute Old Guard; there wasn’t some saint or fool that spook the rules for all the Leathermen in the world; there were few, which became many, and while the main values stayed the same, every “house” or tribe or pack had their differences, which were passed on through Rituals, Ceremonies and direct Mentoring.
Old Guard today is kept alive by a very small group of people, but we still do exist. And we are here to help men who are looking for a deeper meaning, a cause to live by, a Real Brotherhood to be part of, to find their home.
Masters in Old Guard and new guard
From its birth to its evolution till the HIV Epidemic in the 80’s and 90’s, Old Guard Leather was an all-rounding way of life that was handed down generation through generation, by Master to their boys who would have then become Daddies or Masters themselves, keeping alive and spreading this Creed forming a strong community circling around the same core values, although with slight differences across America and the world. With the arrival of the internet, we all got to hook up faster, easier and our concept of building relationships was revolutionized. With this wow factor, though, also came danger.
All of a sudden you had these self proclaimed masters started to pop out everywhere. As the image of BDSM and Domination and submission became diffused, everyone wanted to be a part of it, and while in the Old Days you had to walk into a club or bar and EARN that status, now all you needed was a camera, a few hot pictures emulating some porn or god forbid Tom of Finland (please refer to the coming soon article to understand why I consider Tom of Finland important for the GLBTQI community but also extremely counter productive to the Leather community), an internet connection, and being a top. You didn’t have to go through the training, the experience, and understanding what submission is all about. These “men” wanted to be spoilt and serviced “just because”, while a true Leatherman knows that the submission of the man in front of you comes as a result of the good work you’re doing as a Leader. This is also why, in our vision, FinDom is not in any way associable to real Domination and submission, not to mention a Master and slave dynamic.
As a result, the lack of that training which was all about Strictness, Discipline and a Doctrine to learn, follow and live by, brought to a systemic degrading of the value and nobility of this lifestyle, bringing many subs to be endangered (physically, emotionally and psychologically) by these self proclaimed Masters, but also many good Doms to be emotionally destroyed by fake subs who simply used and consumed the Doms self esteem. This is why nowadays you get so many people shrugging shoulders saying “at the end, the slave is the real Master / is the sub who’s in control”, thinking that they are saying something smart and wise. Truly, they are simply testifying the standardization of the degrading of the real lifestyle that Old Guard brought on, and the real face of modern gay Leather: a role play.
The Old Guard way of life circles around 3 core elements: Strictness, which gives the Structure, which in the end gives the Stability; the three S of Old Guard.
The three S of Old Guard leather
As said, Strictness is fundamental to provide a Structure, the base of any lifestyle built on Honor, Creed and Commitment. Strictness has to do with Discipline. Old Guard lifestyle comes straight from Military life; it is about an energy flow that is part of mankind since the Ancient Greeks and way before; men always in history learnt to live through spending time with other men, Older Men, who would have taught them about Philosophy, Combat, and also Sex. This all has to do with one single core value that is so much lacking nowadays in society, and in the specific in the modern gay society: Education and Respect. Education is strictly linked to Respect and Structuring of personality and what defines a man as such.
Strictness is about teaching to the young a set of rigid rules, which all have a strong meaning and have been set in place through history because, through a trial and error process, men have figured out that some things in life are customizable and linked to personal opinion, but some others require a set of rules, a path to follow, to lead to a greater goal, which is the structure. Young men are chaotic by nature; while chaos is an important element in the balance of the Universe, as without chaos there is no life nor evolution, at the same time chaos is linked to destruction. Since we mankind have a strong difference from animals in our capability of processing thought into action through intention and project, we need to channel that chaos into a structure, in order to build anything. Now, because with society we have given an order to things (be it names, descriptions, social orders and such), it is needed a system to encode hierarchy.
The concept of Hierarchy we’re talking about of course comes, like Old Guard, from Military life. But is it really something made by men? Take a look at how any Mammal living in packs behave. Wolves, Deers, Monkeys, Lions, even Dogs. They all live by a Hierarchy made of an Alpha, Leader of the pack, who have earned that title, and a set of other members lined in a hierarchy down to the Omega. These packs have an horizontal Hierarchy; everybody is important and needed, but also everybody has their own roles and missions to keep the pack alive and functional. So, because we are nothing but evolved mammals, we have encoded this nature into a set of definitions that work for human life. We can soften the most brutal aspects of Nature, and we should, but we can’t defy nature.
Strictness is fundamental to create an encoded path to follow. Wether you live in mere chaos, or wether you need a Structure to live by to give your life meaning, purpose and goals. What are the goals you live by? Why do you wear your Leather? What defines you as a Leatherman as a life choice, and what does it give back to you? 90% of the modern “leathermen” will stutter and get confused when prompted with these sort of questions (or attack you), as the modern lack of structure behind the Leather lifestyle has made these symbols completely sterile and empty; it’s a fetish, it’s my sexual freedom, they’ll say;
Through Strictness and Discipline, you create a set of rules and values, which create a Structure, a Framework that is needed to build a hierarchy where everybody is taken care of, a horizontal distribution of roles and power, in which everybody has their specific part to play and role to live for, giving serenity, peace and a sense of “home” to all the parties included. You can’t achieve this without structure. Let’s compare it to the way and adolescent lives and how a grown man lives.
An adolescent is pervaded by chaos and the need to explore, conquer and achieve experience on his own; he will rebel parents, he will despite their teachings, and that’s part of nature as well, as the adolescent needs to learn by himself that without strictness (education, values, belief and commitment) there is no structure (they struggle at finding a meaning for their existence, and usually this ends up in drugs abuse or other unhealthy coping mechanisms), and without structure (where a structure has of course to make sense for them, there is not a universal structure that applies for all humanity) there is no stability. They will grow up as unstable adults, still locked in their adolescent part of development, keeping on living in chaos which is their way of not thinking about reality, where the reality is a constant sense of loneliness, lack of purpose and lack of satisfaction in whatever they do. Ever felt that way?
We are not saying here that Old Guard Leather is the only way of having Structure, Discipline and a happier life. We are saying that Old Guard is founded on these principles.
As said, Strictness is needed to provide a Structure. With no strictness, the natural resistance of the undisciplined to structure, will make it impossible for the structure to be maintained. That structure, of whichever kind, is what humans need to live happy; well, most humans. We are all different, and some people might enjoy a life without any rule or structure, in complete chaos and anarchy. I won’t judge a person’s individual needs and choices, but then you don’t belong to Old Guard Leather. There would be a whole chapter about “Renegades” in the Old Guard scene here, but this article would become too long, and the whole Renegade scene had to do with a specific historical time. It really doesn’t apply nowadays, not in the same means. Leather lifestyle is a very specific thing, it’s not something you can take and make yours just because you want to. But what happens when there is no solid structure, while there only is a pale imitation of it (eg. most of nowadays leather relationships)? There is no stability.
These relationships or stories based on the desire to live in a BDSM relationship fail often, they last a few months (mots of the times only a weekend, the span of an event hardon) and then they crumble. One says he’s your Master and then 3 days later he wants to be a slave. One says he is your boy for life and when you’ve almost bought a new house to live together he’ll tell you he changed is mind. One says he is an expert bullwhip Master and a super Bondage person; next thing you know you have a corpse on the floor tangled in ropes. This is of course a dramatization of the possibilities (but not that much so, as there are situations which end up in this way).
What is needed to make any core belief to work, especially a Relationship based on these concepts, on the long run? It is needed that both parties (or all of the parties, when talking about a larger group) even before loving each other greatly, they are solid and grounded in what the believe in, more than in everything else. As I always tell my boys: first you must fall in love with what I’m teaching you. You must love leather lifestyle for yourself first; and then, when you can’t live without it because you’ve finally understood its whole architecture and balance, you can freely choose every day to submit to me with your whole heart, as being your Master I am the beacon and holder of the Strictness, which gives you the Structure you need, and in return we all have a solid Stability. This is what a Master also is.
The importance of Discipline
But why is Discipline so important? I’ll try to explain to a general crowd why, while also taking into account those who have a fetish for Discipline, but would like to understand better why they love it. In one short sentence, the answer is short: because we need it.
Let’s expand a little bit on why we need it with an example. Most gay people go to the gym, obsessed with their bodies in order to acquire validation from this modern concept of entitlement linked to a homologation of what looks “good”, so let’s use the gym as an example understandable by most of the men reading. Don’t be offended if you’re not part of the group I have just mentioned. The example with gym will work well.
When you go to the gym for changing your looks, you generally have one goal: wether it’s to become leaner, or to build muscle mass. In both cases, you’re going to find out very early something that is discouraging to most. It’s very difficult; it requires constant strive, and it doesn’t end in the workout area; to reach your goals, you have to make sacrifices. You have to adjust the way you eat, you have to change your plans for the free time because to build a body takes dedication and constant work, and even after you do all this, results don’t come out in a week, and neither in a month. It takes a long long time to build the body you want to have (especially if you don’t cheat with steroids and other bullshit like that).
In one word, a true bodybuilder knows that their lifestyle is about Discipline. Without that drive to discipline to keep working hard, to keep in their minds the words “no pain, no gain”, they will easily drop out of the gym within one week or one month. This is exactly the same thing with any other lifestyle based on strength. In fact, it requires a great deal of strength to stay by the values you have chosen to live by.
So why is Discipline enforcement and teaching needed? Because we all need discipline. It’s extremely difficult to maintain discipline and that’s why there are rules and orders to which you can’t freely say “I’m into it” or “not now”. Orders and rules must be respected at all times and promptly exactly because they are the structure needed for things to work. Of course, rules and orders should accordingly be set thoughtfully, and not just randomly to be pleased and served.
Old Guard Leather and its history
I will be brief about this for two reasons: I have already wrote quite a bit on this in my article “Wearing a culture”, and also for the sake of keeping this as short as possible. I suggest to read “The Leatherman Protocol Handbook” By John D. Weal to get notions on the historical aspects of the version of Old Guard he has experienced. Many people have started a witch hunt against the man, but I believe they don’t get the reason on why the book is important and needs respect. I have personally known John, and I can state that even if we don’t think alike on different things, I still believe his book is a gem to treasure. Why? Because he has reported his direct experience, what was passed on onto him by his Mentor, and that is exactly what Old Guard is about, and that has to be valued and respected. Another reading I suggest is “Urban Aboriginals” by Gheoff Mains.
Old Guard Leather Culture takes its name from the last small artillery detachment left in place after the Revolution in 1784 and as a result of the Treaty of Paris;
After World War II, as men came out of war, the Army awarded them with motorcycles. So as men went back to the civilian life after war time, they could not fit in easily anymore, and needed to still have a space where to live as brothers, united by the same Values, Hierarchies, Code of conduct and inner rules. They missed the camaraderie and the strict way of life of the Army, so that’s how they started forming specific Motorcycle Clubs, which were truly where the Old Guard Leather culture and lifestyle was born. Of course at the time the standard protective item for bikers was Leather wear, and Leather Motorcycle Boots. That’s why Leather Garments and Motorcycles (and the whole visual image of the Leatherman as we have it) resembles the specific look and items of the late 40’s / mid 60’s.
I will definitely invite as many older men as possibile who lived in Old Guard context to contribute with their direct experience, as at the time of writing this I am 30 years old, and for as much as I have been raised, trained and formed to what my Mentors taught me to be Old Guard, when it comes to its history I feel more comfortable to let the Elders speak.
New guard washing
Running back to contemporary times, what do we have? What kind of message does the modern gay scene (similarly to the teens scene) promote? A very confused one. On one side, stemming from extremely positive and agreeable concepts, there is the promotion of total individual freedom. On the other side, a very sad and overwhelming sense of individualism, a horrible situation nobody seems to want to deal with (Chemsex and how strongly is diffused and considered “normal”), and the lack of responsibility. Just to make a quick example about the lack of responsibility, have a look at how the gay scene responded to the COVID-19 Pandemic before it was too late.
It appears that the only important things, imported straight from the brain-wash that the 90’s did to pop culture, are the following: popularity, validation through fitting into homologation, followers, and how many loads one can carry in their butt after one hour in Gran Canaria. At least, once there was a fetish behind the idea of taking stranger loads in your ass. I am dead sure these bottoms have a devastating sense of unfulfillment even after taking 10 loads (but probably it feels better if you’re high on chems). And guess what? That’s because they have the feeling that those loads did not come from the “real” tops they desired. And this, comes from the fact that we all have the same roots inside of us, and most men, especially submissives, have the same needs to serve a real Leader, and not a drugged up random kid at a party.
Earlier I have stated that chaos when not channeled leads to destruction, and indeed all of this partying without a real aim, in the constant strive of feeling less lonely and purposeless, leads to a deep sense of frustration and even anger. That anger, is constantly pointed towards those who have found a pattern, a reason to live, an integrity and a stability. They hate it, and they hate it because it reminds them of how much they miss it, but at the same time how much they think they can’t achieve it. If you dare to differ in opinions with young gay men nowadays, you will get literally assaulted; they are the majority now. They have cannibalized every single symbol they could find, they have made everything theirs in this incredibile hunger for something “new”, and sadly they have become the oppressors inside of their own community.
Now, you must be non binary, you must be gender fluid, you must love drag queens (where if you just don’t care for them, it must mean you hate them), you must watch Ru Paul, you must be versatile; if by any chance you happen to be born in a body that actually represents your identity and you enjoy your own masculinity (in it’s traditional and spontaneous sense), you’re toxic. Read more about how modern queer culture became toxic here, in our opinion.
It’s almost as if a part of this new guard world is scared about being left behind if people start loving a structured lifestyle based on honor. And hence, their New Guard Washing. The last fashion, is to state that Old Guard never existed.
“Old Guard Leather never existed”
I was going to post the several tweets screenshots I have collected over time from several “Mr Leather” and modern spokesman of the scene who publicly claimed that Old Guard never existed, but I honestly prefer not to give them more screen time. Going straight to the point, if any proof was ever needed regarding the existence of Old Guard Community and Values, since John Weal is not considered a reliable source by so many, Guy Baldwin has talked extensively of it on an article on Leatherati. The url is on the first screengrab.
The point, is not wether to determine if Guy Baldwin is better than John Weal who is better than LeatherBigWolf who is better than many other personalities in Leather; we are all, simply, men. The point is to aknowledge that, in its many variations, Old Guard not only existed, but still lives. And saying the opposite just not to face that there’s something else other than what you think you can validate with your direct experience, is abusive and hurtful.
Old Guard Leather Lives
By now it should be pretty clear that Old Guard existed, and therefor exists now in those who carry its values on. But let’s pretend for a second that it didn’t, shall we?
It exists now. There are people who believe in it, there are people who live by this code with all their heart and with a dedication that is uncorruptible. It is a Creed, it is a way of life, and just because it’s not accessible to the most because of their lack of strength, it doesn’t mean it’s dead or non existent.
I exist. My boy exists. My slave exists. My Mentors existed. My Brothers they exist. The other boys I have mentored exist. We are all here. Those who like to say that Old Guard doesn’t exist should think very hard about what they’re doing, because suppressing and denying the existence of those who are different is something that racists, xenophobes, homophobes and nazis did. They wouldn’t want to find theirselves to be part of this kind of crowd, wouldn’t they?