Larry Townsend, 1930-2008

Larry Townsend, 1930-2008

Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

BDSM writer and gay activist Larry Townsend passed away yesterday. Among his many BDSM-related books was The Leatherman’s Handbook, for many years the main (and just about the only) guide to the BDSM lifestyle for men into other men.

For those of us living in a time when there was virtually no straight BDSM community outside of big cities, the Handbook also served alongside The Lesbian SM Safety Manual as a critical how-to about SM in general, and an affirmation of our interests…. sure, this was about gay dudes, but what’s the big deal? They were more like me than unlike me.

This, in turn, made it easier for me to get over my lingering small-town homophobia and be OK with people, even enthusiastic about them, whatever their sexual proclivities, even or especially if they didn’t run exactly parallel to mine. Voila, another straight made unnarrow by sex information and porn. Thanks, Larry.

I had the privilege of meeting Townsend once, and he was kind of everything you’d expect: Gruff, intense, and not easily impressed. I remember he had one hell of a firm handshake, which shouldn’t really surprise anyone.

There is a nice obituary by Townsend’s friend and fellow BDSM writer Jack Fritscher at Lolita Wolf’s blog (NSFW link), from which I borrowed this picture of the Master.

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest, Sir.


2 Responses to “Larry Townsend, 1930-2008”

  1. GShots by~GARi-~~ Says:

  2. Time passages… | Pursed Lips Says:

    […] I’m not alone. Fellow author Thomas Roche remembered as well and his words serve as tribute that a good writer can open mind and make hearts […]

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