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News Briefs: B.A.R. leather columnist receives award

by Cynthia Laird

Bay Area Reporter leather columnist Race Bannon received the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom's advocacy award from board member Russell Stambaugh, as NCSE founder and board chair Susan Wright, left, looks on. Photo: Liz Highleyman
Bay Area Reporter leather columnist Race Bannon received the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom's advocacy award from board member Russell Stambaugh, as NCSE founder and board chair Susan Wright, left, looks on. Photo: Liz Highleyman  

The Bay Area Reporter's leather columnist was recognized by a national sex-positive organization at an event in the Castro.

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom presented its advocacy award to Race Bannon Friday, August 10. The organization, which fights for sexual freedom and privacy rights for adults who engage in safe, sane, and consensual behavior, also renamed the award in Bannon's honor going forward.

"NCSF is honoring Race in recognition of his lifetime of support for research, community development, and advocacy, which has made a significant impact on our fight against discrimination," NCSF founder and board chair Susan Wright told the B.A.R.

Bannon, 64, has a long history in the kink community, predating his column, which he started writing for the paper in January 2014. The B.A.R. had been seeking a leather columnist after the departure of Scott Brogan, who wrote the column following the death of Marcus Hernandez, aka Mister Marcus, in October 2009.

Bannon, a gay man, played a key role in the effort to remove alternative sexuality from the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the so-called bible of the psychiatric profession. He spearheaded the creation of Kink Aware Professionals, a database of kink-friendly psychotherapists and medical referrals. He has written numerous books, including the BDSM how-to manual "Learning the Ropes," and founded Daedalus Publishing Company.

"NCSF is a hardworking and vitally important organization, now more than ever as emboldened conservative forces would like nothing more than to see anyone who expresses their uniqueness and identity through their sexual expression or relationship configurations be pushed back into closets, while what rights we have attained are stripped away," Bannon said. "When it comes to standing up so that every LGBTQ, leather, kink, polyamorous, or sexually liberated person can live their lives openly, proudly, and fully, all I can say is - keep resisting."

Family weekend at San Jose museum
Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose will hold its fourth annual Proud of My Family weekend August 18-19, from noon to 4 p.m.

Museum officials said that children and adults will enjoy activities designed to celebrate all types of families, especially LGBTQ parents, relatives, and friends.

The jam-packed weekend includes festive rainbow art activities, moving and grooving in the Rainbow Dance Zone, getting creative with the temporary art installation around the colors of the rainbow flag, and learning from partner organizations who will be onsite sharing resources about the LGBTQ community.

Award-winning children's artist Tim Cain performs Saturday, the Rainbow Women's Chorus takes the stage on Sunday.

Both days will feature drag queen storytime at 3:30 p.m. with a meet-and-greet; and a Pride parade at 4. Both are sponsored by Silicon Valley Pride, which takes place the following weekend.

"Our goal is to always make every family feel welcome and celebrated at the museum," Marilee Jennings, executive director of Children's Discovery Museum, said in a news release. "This event helps foster understanding while recognizing that families come in all types of configurations and that what binds us are the shared hopes and dreams for our children and their futures."

Admission is $15 for adults and children, and $14 for seniors. Infants and museum members are free. All activities are included in the price of museum admission.

Children's Discovery Museum is located at 180 Woz Way in San Jose.

For more information, visit

Women's Equality Day
San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu, the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, and the League of Women Voters of San Francisco will hold a Women's Equality Day event to expand women's voter registration and representation in government.

The event is Thursday, August 23, and begins with a "W Challenge" kickoff at 5 p.m. on the steps of City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place. It continues at 5:30 with a reception and panel discussion in the Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin Street.

In a news release, Chu noted that California is ranked the third worst state when it comes to women voter registration. The W Challenge is being launched to increase voter participation. The panel will include a discussion of how women can get appointed to city boards and commissions.

Black Woman is God exhibit
The San Francisco Human Rights Commission will feature The Black Woman is God exhibit's "A Sacred Beautiful - Natural Heritage Hair: An African Diasporan Photo Expose" that runs from August 30-October 2 at 25 Van Ness Avenue, eighth floor, in San Francisco.

Curator and researcher April Martin Chartrand said in a news release that the underlying inspiration for "A Sacred Beautiful" was inspired by curatorial research of the "reclamation of our hair-itage."

The exhibit is free and open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m.

As part of the exhibit, aspirational conversations with Chartrand, artists KaliMa AmiLak and Nye' Lyn Tho, and natural hair practitioner Egyptsia Mcgillvery will be held Saturday, August 18, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Ashara Ekundayo Gallery, 480 23rd Street in Oakland.

Tickets for the August 18 event are $5 to $10 sliding scale.

For more information, visit and click on "Events."

Liz Highleyman ( contributed reporting.

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