John Embry [Edit]

John Embry (1926-2010) was the cofounder (with Jeanne C. Barney) of the American gay male leather magazine Drummerfounded in 1975. Embry published the magazine from its beginning in 1975 until 1986 when he sold it.

Due to their work for Drummer the phones and homes of Embry and Barney were bugged.

Drummer was originally intended to be a publication for The Leather Fraternity, an organization founded by Embry, and ran advertisements for it. On April 10, 1976 The Leather Fraternity held a “slave auction” (meaning slave in the BDSM sense) for charity, which was raided by the police, resulting in eighty people being detained and forty of those being charged with breaking a law enacted in 1899 banning “white slavery.”

In 1977, after the cases from the slave auction raid were settled, Drummer was moved to San Francisco by Embry, while Barney stayed in Los Angeles and ceased being its editor-in-chief.

Before cofounding Drummer, Embry served as a president of the ‘Homophile Effort for Legal Protection’ which had been founded in 1969 to defend gays during and after arrests by the Los Angeles Police Department.


In 2015 Embry and Jeanne C. Barney were inducted into the Leather Hall of Fame.

In 2017, the art installation known as the San Francisco South of Market Leather History Alley was installed; in it Embry (among others) is honored with a bronze bootprint displaying his name and a short statement about him.