Glenn Hughes, the leatherman with a horseshoe mustache whose image was simultaneously the most entrenched in current gay culture and the most explicitly macho to straight audiences, told [journalist Abe] Peck, “We’re six very positive male, energetic symbols. We are definitely gonna have a gay following. And so we don’t discount the fact that we have a gay following. It’s obvious that they are gonna follow us. But we’re not gonna let them label us a gay group.”

David Hodo, the construction worker, said, “You have the right to think anything you want. Because I’m up here furnishing the fantasy for you. If you want to think that I’m gay, that’s great. And if you want to think I’m straight, OK.”

Victor Willis [the lead singer] went further in distancing the group from a gay identity, saying, “The group has never performed gay. Nobody has ever come out in drag. The group performs a masculine show. Gay people like us, straight people like us. But we’re not a gay group.”

Hodo, who decades later would refer to the Village People’s first record as “the gayest album ever,” told Peck that the group was successful not because it was gay but because Morali brought together “strong positive male American… bigger-than-life stereotypes.”

An excerpt from Nicole Pasulka’s essay on the Village People, Wanted: Macho Men with Mustachesfrom the current music issue


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