Ron Johnson [Edit]

Ron Johnson (1935-1998) was an American leatherman, and a cofounder of the Rainbow Motorcycle Club, a gay men’s motorcycle club. He was also a noted poet.

Involvement in Leather/Gay Life

Ron Johnson and his lover, photographer Mario Pirami, managed the No Name leather bar on Folsom Street in San Francisco for some time.

In 1971, Ron Johnson, Mario Pirami, and Paul Denino founded the Rainbow Motorcycle Club (sometimes abbreviated as the Rainbow MC or RMC), a gay men’s motorcycle club based in San Francisco, California. The club was founded at the No-Name leather bar Johnson and Pirami managed. Some commentators have credited the RMC as being instrumental in the creation of the bear subculture among gay men during the 1980s and 1990s.


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