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Beginning in July 2013, we’ll begin the count-down to the 60th Anniversary event with a year long celebration.  The Satyrs are creating a living history project for future generations. witness.  Visit often to see some great historical pictures and documents posted in our history section.

Bike Club and other Community Links

A Call for Clubs to Preserve History

Imperative that we preserve as much as we can of each of our clubs.  By far with today’s ease of use technology, scanning documents into searchable pdf files and preserving photos digitally is the least amount each club should dedicate.  Though when we form clubs we are never forward thinking about who should care about who we are many years from now.  Little did many clubs in the early years worry about their legacy.

But ask any younger gay man about their knowledge of gay history and you’re likely to get a reference to Stonewall Riots.  Yet, gay men in Europe know more about U.S. Gay history than their American counterparts.  The problem is that with every loss of men’s motorcycle, uniform, fetish or social organization; a bit of our history disappears.

Recently, the LoBOCs (Long Beach & Orange County Motorcycle Club) decided to fold their colors after 41 years.  They were formed in 1972 during the golden years of club formation in the nation.  (You can read more about them by clicking on the link below.)

Clubs are being encouraged to record any living documents by videotaping members who are still alive and remaining to tell the significant stories of the club before it is lost forever.  These are stories that never be recovered if they aren’t documented.  No amount of anthropological or archivist research will bring these stories to life once they are lost.  Museums just do not have the staff or resources to spend on researching every clubs’ history.

The more that a club can do to preserve it’s own history, preserve it in a methodical process and store the document in archival, acid-free storage, the more they will serve generations to come.  We’ve seen many clubs come and go over the years.  Good thing we started our Legacy Project back in 2001 and recording, archiving, and documenting all the history of the gay motorcycle community.  There is a tremendous volume of history in California and throughout the Nation.  Unfortunately, as time marches on, much of the living history goes with each person we lose in our community.

The Satyrs are working very hard to create the largest fully archived and documented collection before our 60th Anniversary in 2014.  The amount of photos, video, meeting notes, documents, collector pins and other past memorabilia is vast.  Pulling these items together, tracing the stories and events to each piece of history is a daunting task.  The Satyrs intend on installing this completed collection with the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives in November 2014.  It will be the first collection ever installed that is fully researched, properly numbered, catalogued and documented in the history of gay collections.

But you don’t have to wait until 2014 to see some of this vast historical collection. Much of these items can be seen right here in our galleries. And soon you will be able to see videos, interviews and so much more.

The History



One of the common question we often get is about the origin of the iconic leather cap worn in the leather community. Pulling images from over 60 years out of the Satyrs' collection and with the help of Durk Dehner, of the Tom of Finland Foundation, we answer that question. There is a lot of misinformation about the ubiquitous leather cap in our community. One such misinformation was the “chin strap” eventually became an ornamental metal strip or chain across the front of the leather cap.  Many in the leather community doubted this functional piece as originating as an optional chin strap, but the photo above shows two men with two different styles wearing their hats with the chin strap in use.

The evoluntion of the leather cap are shown here of actual bikers at Satyrs' events. The rebel hat and a couple other styles were also worn by many in the community, especially by the 70's. But those styles did not have as a dramatic morphing in hyper-masculinity of gay leather biker culture that created identified "masters" or originate from WWII.

The black brim began showing up from all the photos in our archive in the late 1950's. But the majority of the men were still wearing the white brim. Not until the beginning of the 1960's did you see a shift to more black brim in the old photos of the period. The photos in the archives are from all of the various clubs (about a dozen or more) that began popping up in the period post-McCarthy.

More will follow on our blog site. Stayed tuned....