San Francisco honors leather.
Specifically, the city voted on May 1 to create the Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District.
The city’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the resolution, which authorizes the creation of important areas relevant to the history and identity of the city.
The leather-district designation serves a dual purpose: to celebrate leather culture–and hopefully to safeguard the city from the effects of onrushing gentrification.
The resolution gives the soon-to-be district particular negotiating rights. In addition, the stronghold of leather sexuality will also have access to public monies. The LLCD is the fifth such cultural area to be named in the city.
The LLCD is most famous for its Folsom Street Fair, spiritual home of leather-related kink. The event draws thousands of attendees every year.
Leather is deeply tied to gay liberation. As Pink News stated, “Leather is a gay subculture heavily associated with kink and BDSM community, with leather bars typically frequented by ‘bears’ and older gay men.”
The designated area will be centered on the famous leather bar, The Eagle, which calls the South Market District its home. It’s there for a reason: to quote the Sacramento Bee, “Decades ago, San Francisco’s gay and leather culture sought shelter in the city’s seedy South of Market district — forced there by brutal police crackdowns on gays.”
In time, South of Market grew into a busy, diverse community, with a strong focus on bars and bathhouses. Rising rent and the influx of tech culture have placed the neighborhood in a precarious position.
Supporters say they hope the resolution will revitalize the area.