September/October 2001
The Founding Teacher of Old Guard
by Master Timelius Sean

I have read many excerpts relating to the history of the gay leather S&M; lifestyle notoriously named Old Guard. They seem to almost be glorified as the precedence of structure and protocol relating to gay leather folks emerging from the post WWII era. Indeed the training, honor, and standards of conduct were influenced by the military, but the military was influenced first, by the gay militant lifestyle.

Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin von Steuben, known in America as Friedrich Wilhelm Augustus von Steuben or Baron von Steuben was born in a Magdeburg fortress within Russia where his father was an engineer lieutenant in the military in 1730. At the age of 10, he returned to Germany with his Father and by the age of 17 was a Prussian officer in the military. In his own words during his first years in the military "While other young officers led dissolute and extravagant life, I applied myself closely to study." His service was commendable enough that he was eventually given assignment with Frederick the Great's headquarters.

Frederick the Great was considered a genius and what many do not know about him is that he had homosexual relations since he was a young man. When von Steuben was assigned to serve under Fredrick, the palace had already banished women and would allow only handsome young men within. Fredrick was famous for his Dominant demeanor and his Generalship skills. He adhered to very strict protocol and had created a homosexual militant monarch. At the age of 29 von Steuben was hand picked by Fredrick the Great and promoted to the rank of "Quar-tiermeister Leutnant," a General Staff officer position on the king's personal staff. Additionally von Steuben was one of thirteen that would determine military education.

For an unknown reason, von Steuben resigned from the Fredrick's regime shortly before the end of the Seven Year War because of a falling out between himself and General von Anhalt, the closest to the king and considered the highest within the inner circle. The only statement von Steuben ever made regarding his dismissal is that he "made a misstep".

Rumors and letters started circulating regarding von Steuben and his appetite for bedding with young men and because he was no longer under the protection of the royal court was close to prosecution. In order to avoid prosecution, von Streuben fled to France. There he was introduced to Benjamin Franklin who was seeking experts in the art of war. Their first meeting did not go well. However it is the second meeting that allowed historians to trace von Steuben to a homosexual militant lifestyle. The letter is dated August 13, 1777 and is addressed to Prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen and sent from a political ally and personal friend of von Steuben. The letter also reached the United States Congress.

Nevertheless, von Steuben came to America and was instrumental with regrouping and training the twelve militias camped at Valley Forge. He proposed a plan to General Washington to stray from the "wasted" show movements of European styles of drill and replaced them with an order of discipline. Furthermore, he introduced protocol and how to determine the level of a soldier. By jotting down notes during this onsite training he later authored the military's first Standards of Code of Conduct.

The very first army regiment under the new guidelines of von Steuben and his writings "Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States" was and is none other then 1st Army Regiment named "The Old Guard".

Let's jump forward from 1777 to a little less then 200 years later. It is now the post WWII era. Gay leather men who once served this country saw a collation between their leather lifestyle and the military standards of conduct. These individuals collectively took S&M; fetish and created a sub leather fetish. They were considered the hard core of the gay leather lifestyle. They were content with their few in numbers.

I only had a brief opportunity to learn from these pioneers of the hardcore S&M; gay leather movement. They were the disciplinarians of the gay leather culture. I remember many who would avoid us because some also considered us freaks or too hardcore.

There is a defined difference between the standard gay leather culture and the sub (and actually small) disciplinary style that is identified as Old Guard. To coalesce the military standard and S&M; fetish were inevitable. They fit together as if it was the original intentions of our forefathers.

We adhered to a dress code, and to a hierarchy of those before us. All new pups were trained and the similarities between that training and that of military basic training are astounding. It brought order to a lifestyle that was exploding in every direction. It was thought to be unique, almost a hidden society within and around those we associated with. The term "don't scare the natives" was relating to those who participated in SM circles not to get caught up in the flamboyant sex driven weekenders that also were at our same clubs.

Discipline and the Standards of Protocol, were first brought to us via the military by the Baron von Steuben. He understood that a life of structure had purpose and order. He too lived as many of us live today. He is and will always be the founder and teacher of the Old Guard, both traditional Military, and by those who later adopted it within the gay leather community.

My slave today is taught the rules of Protocol and Honor, not based on a book for weekenders wanting to have fun and get laid, but how this lifestyle can instill and create greatness within ourselves as taught to me by my first Master. My slave is taught to respect those that have lived in this lifestyle before him, honor my fellow Master's with highest of regards. In our house, built on the fundamentals of protecting and adhering to protocol in order to save ourselves and what we believe in, we honor those who took the philosophy of a gay General and applied it to our life and play.

Today, many sects of leather lifestyles are based on the very same structure and order as defined from scraps of paper written in 1777.