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Harnesses are a popular item you see adorning many gays at pride festivals and parties. It's not the most common look—button up shirts and khakis are still by far more prevalent, but you see them often enough that it's not uncommon. So why do some gay mean wear harnesses? And does it have a particular meaning when you see it?
Leather has always been part of the gay community, since bands of gay men broke off from the idea that gays were somehow naturally feminine, and chose leather as their emblem for a more manly, masculine look. Leather was so popular at one point that there were even leather bars and clubs with looks that went far beyond a simple harness. Full leather could mean leather underwear, chaps, straps going all the way down, in a look that was meant to be both aggressive and progressive.
These leather bars got their start during World War II, when soldiers were sent over seas, and came back with a taste for the things they saw while they were there. This may have included Japanese rope bondage, a kind of BDSM involving ropes that followed the same lines of the harness.
This is also where a number of other fetishes came from, and was perhaps the start of America's broadening mind. Unfortunately many of these bars are closing now, with just a few rare bars clinging to existence across the map. The reason for this is simple, gays no longer have to hide who they are, and with the internet letting them indulge their fetishes in private, they no longer need a place to go to where they can indulge them.
So why has the harness lingered on where many other leather pieces have not? According to Redditors who wear them regularly it's for one simple reason. They're hot. Those who wear them enjoy the way it makes them look, and feel sexy when they go to the party sporting just a little bit of leather on their body. And now with the rise of spandex harnesses, gay guys don't have to spend too much to be able to enjoy the attention a leather harness usually gets.
Harnesses look fabulous on a well built guy. They emphasis the shoulders and chest, drawing attention to any efforts you have made to develop these areas. For those with a leather fettish, that look can be sexually arrousing all by itself, no need to go full leather. Stores that sell harnesses and chaps have reported selling much fewer of these, and the style of what people like is changing to be more style and less fetish. Harnesses are no longer just about being leather, or about being black. You can find all sorts of harnesses, and nowadays it's become more a fashion statement, and even just fun.
Of course, some people also view the harness as something to grab hold of during sex, but for the most part leather has transformed from something that had a very real meaning, to simply an ornament that looks sexy and makes the wearer feel powerful.
Either way, we're all for wearing what ever makes you feel sexy, and if that includes putting on a harness when you're at a party or sending pics through GrindR, then by all means go for it.