Is this a perception problem, or is it real? I know that I have a lot of friends who are not peers in the SCA. I talk to people, and have approached a lot of people, and been able to sit around and shoot-the-breeze with a lot of people at events, fighter practices, business meetings, etc., and not worry about rank (and when in garb, I always wear my medallions or my collar of state).
I suppose there are always a few peers who let the fact that they are peers go to their heads, but honestly -- you'd be amazed at how approachable most peers are. I can't do much for a person's "peer-fear" -- especially if I don't know that they have it. I don't really understand "peer-fear" either, having been living in Oertha when I was first made a peer. You couldn't get away with being unapproachable in a group that small (Oertha at the time, had about 100 paid members of the SCA -- you tended to know everyone in all the groups ...).
The Peers that I hang out with have discussed this issue. It's a tough one. We don't usually notice it, but we do tend to hang out with other peers a lot. This may cause some of the "unapproachable" bit, and it's completely unavoidable. When you join the SCA, you usually find a group of folk you are comfortable "hanging out" with. As you play in the SCA for awhile, most of your friends will tend to be elevated in rank in the SCA at a similar rate (going through the award structure towards the peerage). Someone in your group will become a peer. Then another, and after awhile a lot of the folk in said group may have become peers. No one in the group thinks a thing about it. However, from the outside of said group, it probably does look like that group of peers is being cliquish. It's not intentional! They're just the same friends that we've been hanging out with for years!
This was pointed out to me, after posting this on the web for a few days, by one peer -- another reason that some peers appear unapproachable is that they are extremely shy. I know this particular peer, and she is shy, but I don't hold that against her <grin>. Sometimes shy people come across as aloof -- it's definitely not their intent, but it takes a serious act of will-power to come out of their shells. In most cases, if you ask them a question, I am pretty sure that you can drag them out and get them started talking. Once you've done that, you'll find that they're not as unapproachable as you may have thought.
Anyway, if you are a non-peer and want or need to talk to a peer, try it! In very few cases will the peers really be unapproachable, and the only way to get over "peer-fear" is to talk to peers. (And any peer who is unapproachable needs to be talked to, probably with a big stick <grin> ... )