TRAPPN#43: Homosexuality and the Hell’s Angels

by jssckr

Hunter S. Thompson, Hell’s Angels, Kissing Guys, 1960s

Hunter S. Thompson, Hell’s Angels, Orange Hat and Girl, 1960s

Hunter S. Thompson, Hell’s Angels, Group, 1960s

Hunter S. Thompson, Self Portrait, After Beating by Hell’s Angels, 1960s

“The Angels are great favourites on the sado-masochism circuit, and although motorcycle hoods as a group are consistently accused of deviate leanings, I suspect the issue was stripped to the bony truth one afternoon by a Frisco Angel who said: ‘Hell yes, I’ll take a blow-job any day for ten bucks. Just the other night in some bar downtown I had a queer come up to me with a big tenner … he laid it on me and said what did I want to drink? I said, “A double of Jack Daniels, baby,” so he told the bartender, “Two of those for me and my friend,” and then he sat down there on the bar rail and gave me a hell of a blow-job, man, and all I had to do was smile at the bartender and keep cool.’ He laughed. ‘Hell, and me with four kids and a broad up front dancing the wig or the wag or something like that with some spade. Shit, man, the day they can call me queer is when I let one of these faggots suck on me for less than a tenner … Man, I’d go underwater and fuck fish for that kind of money, you just tell me who’s payin.’

“According to the Lynch report, ‘While homosexuals seem to be attracted to Hell’s Angels, no information received indicates that the Hell’s Angels as a group are homosexuals. They seem primarily concerned with heterosexual contacts. Some heterosexual perversions figure in the police reports, but taken in context, they appear to be means of attracting attention, “being different,” and performed primarily for the shock impact on others. These and other attention-attracting actions are characterized by the Angels as “showing class.”‘

“The best-known public link between outlaw cyclists and homosexuality is a film titled Scorpio Rising. It is an underground classic of sorts, created in the early 1960s by a young San Francisco film-maker named Kenneth Anger. … Scorprio Rising played in San Francisco in 1964 at a North Breach theater called The Movie, where Anger was living at the time, upstairs, which advertised the film with a sidewalk montage of Hell’s Angels newspaper clippings. The implication was so obvious that even the San Francisco Angels made a pilgrimage to check it out. It didn’t groove them at all. ‘Hell, I liked the film,’ said Frenchy. ‘But it didn’t have anything to do with us. We all enjoyed it. But then we came outside and saw all those clippings about us, pasted up like advertisements. Man, it was a bummer, it wasn’t right. A lot of people got conned, and now we have to listen to all this crap about us being queers. Shit, did you see the way those punks were dressed? And those silly goddamn junkwagon bikes? Man, don’t tell me that has any connection with us. You know it doesn’t.’ “

(Photos: m+b, Words: Hell’s Angels: A strange and terrible saga by Hunter S. Thompson, pages 85-87)

With this post, I’m not trying to implicate the Californian Hell’s Angels of the 1960s as homosexuals, but rather, I find it fascinating that they had the balls (excuse the pun) to even acknowledge that they had been deemed attractive by the gay community. Further, the fact that these hyper-masculine “macho” daredevils could even admit to having sexual contact with another male, even for money, seems to me to be an intriguing trait of the Hell’s Angels, and one reason why I’ve become so interested in their history of late. Can you imagine if a  young thug from present-day Oakland, California admitted to getting blown in a bar for $50 by another dude? It would be responded to with ignorance, no doubt.

As an aside, HBO needs to make an authentic series about the Hell’s Angels.