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Drummer Readers on the Eroticism of Disabled Men

Edited by Dusk Peterson

Editor's Note: The 1986 "Maimed Beauty" issue of Drummer magazine (#93) prompted a "torrent of letters," according to the Drummer staff. The letters started in issue Drummer #94, continued in Drummer #95, and by Drummer #96 the number of letters had grown so large that the editor was forced to devote a special section to them. This section was illustrated with a drawing of a nude amputee with an erect cock, which staff artist Olaf Odegaard had been inspired to create after reading and viewing the material in the "Maimed Beauty" issue.

Below are excerpts from the letters. Reprints from the "Maimed Beauty" issue are available in the August issue of True Tales.

"When we published Drummer 93 with 'The Deformity Lover' by Felice Picano, 'Maimed Beauty' by Mark I. Chester, photographs of amputees and dwarfs by George Dureau, and 'Other Bodies' by Michael Agreve, we knew we were riding the cutting edge of gay male radical sexuality. But we weren't quite ready for the torrent of letters that we have received about this work . . ."

[Editorial note in Drummer #96]


"The photos by George Dureau were just amazing. His book will definitely be one of my upcoming purchases. Your words said it all. He has given so much beauty and dignity to the subject. As for [the article] 'Maimed Beauty,' it said so much that was close to my heart, that I have a strong feeling that somewhere along the line we've come across the same people if not the same experiences. It proves that you can express feelings, ideas, and still titillate."

[Michael Agreve]

"Total bondage? . . . how about encased in total rigid body brace, strapped into an iron lung, with a leather hood. Total helplessness . . . no arms and no legs, just the torso to be carried about and used for whatever."

[A reader]


 "Congratulations in showing the portraits of George Dureau. This photographer certainly has the art of capturing the love and strength of the men he has photographed, including the sensuality of each man."

[A Dallas reader]

"Particularly enjoyed your articles 'Maimed Beauty' and 'Other Bodies' in Drummer 93. All my life I have been tremendously attracted to men with certain disabilities, but it has been an attraction that I kept mainly to myself. . . . It almost feels like coming out of the closet for a second time!"

[A San Francisco reader]

"It was gratifying to see that somebody realizes that some of us get off on other than blond-haired, blue-eyed weight lifters."

[A San Francisco reader]

"I love Dureau's photos; they are hot and scary."

[A San Francisco reader]


"I looked, really looked, at the photos by George Dureau. They are beautiful. We've been taught to look away from dwarfs, people who limp, amputees and people in wheelchairs; not just not to stare, but not to look, and to prize and desire a narrow range of physical possibilities. The work in Drummer 93 opens up more space for the appreciation of different and altered (intentionally or otherwise) bodies."

[A female reader in San Francisco]

"Thank you for helping us to expand our vision of radical sexuality. We need to share together in these particularly difficult and dark times."

[A female reader in San Francisco]

"When I was about twelve, I was 'adopted' by an amputee and his wife. It was at a time when I desperately needed a father. The amputee supplied the image. Some years later, the experience was repeated, by yet another amputee and his wife and again at a time when I really needed help.

"I can honestly say that none of these people was 'handicapped.' Inconvenienced, yes, and sometimes very painfully, but handicapped, no."

[A Denver reader]

"I congratulate the editors for printing above the photos: 'do not assume they are gay.'"

[The same reader]

"[Would] dig seeing [one of the models] in the nude. He's hot for a session."

[A Vermont reader]

"I appreciate Drummer's courage in doing something that pushes the limits of acceptance and is on the edge."

[A pansexual leatherwoman in San Francisco]

"What makes nonvanilla sex (what I'd like to think of as 'alternative sexuality') so exciting is the sense it brings to its partisans of being members in a secret society. Being gay in itself no longer carries a sufficient 'sinful' kink. There's no such thing as 'the gay community,' rather, there are gay communities, the most dramatic, the most vital and the most politically important of which is [the] brotherhood of those into 'alternative sexuality,' commonly called leathermen or SMers, though membership isn't dependent upon leather and/or SM. This group looks at the world and at themselves in a way that's both violent and indirect, seeing in the politics of radical sexuality a way both into and out of the restraints of the established social order.

"But even in this forward-thinking set, there often exists a belief that there is some sort of line you do not cross. Yet this line is precisely the line that must be crossed if radical sex can continue to have any meaning. Chester's and Agreve's articles and Dureau's photographs take us very far indeed: they practically define 'the different drummer' many of us march to. I hope these features are harbringers of the next ninety-three issues of Drummer. The purpose of our magazine is not to reiterate stale ideas and tired images, but to boldly go where no magazine has gone before."

[Gay leather author T.  R. Witomski]

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This page is part of the disabilities issue of True Tales, which includes articles, stories, photography, and links related to leather and disabilities.

About the Editor


Drummer's "Maimed Beauty" Issue. Links related to the issue. [True Tales]

Letters copyright © 1986 Alternate Publishing, Inc.
Remaining text copyright © 2005 Dusk Peterson. All rights reserved.
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