Time Line 1981
- Coming to Power, a collection of articles on SM, is published by the San Francisco based women's SM organization Samois.
- Whitewater Run by Victor Terry, a fictionalized portrayal of the Pocono Warriors Whitewater Weekend Run.
- Anal Pleasure & Health, by Jack Morin Ph.D. a guide for both men and women.
- Aaron Travis' most famous short story, "Blue Light," in Drummer #44.
Clubs and groups formed
- Formation of Colorado Gay Rodeo Association, Confederation of New York Area Clubs, Florida Brotherhood of Clubs, Lesbian Sex Mafia (LSM) in New York City, Orlando; GMSMA, NYC; Satyricons MC, Las Vegas; SMGays, London; Stillettos, Jacksonville, FL; and Stingrays, NJ. Elegabulus NC, Norwood Australia, and South Florida Council disband.
Bar openings and closings
- Spike, Munich and Stellwerk, Berlin.
- Buddy Bar in Berlin and Tiger's Bar in New Orleans close.
- The Drummer Key Club, a male leather version of the Playboy clubs, opens at Folsom & 11th in San Francisco. Advertised as the first of a nationwide chain, others never open, and quickly evolves into a series of more typical leather bars
- Drummaster, then the Gold Coast, and finally the Compound, a private sex club which closed in 1984. [R]
- San Francisco Eagle founded. At the time it was just one of the many leather bars in the city, but it has endured to become the oldest leather bar in San Francisco.
- Death of Tony Taverossi, one of the inventors of the leather bar, from AIDS related pneumonia.
- Advocate reporter Randy Shilts becomes the US's first out gay reporter at a major daily newspaper when he is hired by the San Francisco Chronicle. [TOL]
- 1981, June
- Ray Pereyra is named the second Mr. Drummer in the first Mr. Drummer Contest.
- 1981, April 4
- A performance art space named, and located at, 544 Natoma, opens in San Francisco. The performance pieces, including play parties, are usually leather oriented and feature members of the Rainbow MC. It closes on 6 October 1983. [R]
- 1981, May
- Marty Kiker is named the third International Mr. Leather at the contest at Chicago.
- 1981, June 5
- Morbidity & Mortality Weekly, announces the mysterious presence of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in five gay men in Los Angeles.
- 1981, July 3
- The New York Times publishes the first article on "the Gay Cancer", the first public news of what was to become known as AIDS.
- 1981, July 10
- A major fire on Folsom St. destroys homes (and art and photos and whips, etc.) of Rex, Mark I. Chester, and many other leathermen.
- 1981, Aug. 28
- Steve McEachern has a heart attack at the Catacombs while engaged in a private scene with his lover. He dies and the Catacombs closes.
- 1981, Sept.
- Chicago Conference of Clubs holds first Wild Onion run near Chicago.
- 1981, Sept 10th
- Bud Russell interview with Robin Stewart and Bill Burns of SMC is published
- 1981, Oct.
- German SM-lesbians meet and decide to create address distribution centers in various cities as a form of infrastructure. This is the first known attempt at organization among German SM-lesbians. [wd]
- 1981, Oct. 9-12
- Chicago Hellfire Club holds Inferno 10 under canvas at a new location in Douglas MI on Columbus Day weekend. It is too cold for outdoor nudity! Bill Kerr of New York City receives the first Caligula Award.
- 1981, Oct. 10
- Torch Song Trilogy by Harvey Fierstein opens on Broadway.
- 1981, Oct 30
- The Catacombs #2 opens at 736 Larken in San Francisco. [R]
- 1981, Dec
- GMSMA holds its first Bizarre Bazaar at the Mineshaft in New York City.
- 1981. Dec.
- The New York City Gay Men's Chorus performs at Carnegie Hall, the first openly gay group to appear there. [TOL]