Leather: Happy kinky new year!

  • by Race Bannon
  • Monday December 30, 2019
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Volunteering at an SF Eagle beer bust is a great way to contribute to community and meet new and old friends. photo: Rich Stadtmiller
Volunteering at an SF Eagle beer bust is a great way to contribute to community and meet new and old friends. photo: Rich Stadtmiller

2020 is here. Let's all wish that we can legitimately have a happy new year. It's going to be an interesting one for sure.

We have a looming election that will hopefully save our democracy and pull us back from the brink of disaster. Climate change is being quickly accepted as the ultimate crisis of our era.

Income inequality is finally seen as the core systemic issue dragging our society down. These and other big issues will dominate the 2020 experience for many of us, but then there's the personal.

Amid the craziness of the world we now live in exists our personal experiences and the smaller subset of humans with whom we choose to commune and bond. That's what elevates our lives and brings us meaning.

For many of us, therein lies our sexuality, erotic identity, and those with whom we share those things. These are our communities.

What might a modern day kinkster want to see happen in 2020 that could make their lives better while strengthening the kink communities overall? I'm sure you have your own list, but here's what I'd like to see transpire in 2020. Maybe some of you hope for the same.

The SF Catalyst is both a play space and an often-used community meeting space for local leather and kink folks. photo: Christopher Wood  

I hope to see continued and increased support for our gathering places. Our bars are being challenged to stay open. Yes, they're having to accommodate a wider audience of people in order to stay solvent. We need to fully embrace that reality or we'll see our kink-friendly bars disappear altogether.

For the kinky among us in San Francisco, please especially support the SF Eagle, Powerhouse, The Edge, SF Oasis, The Lone Star Saloon, and any bar that specifically welcomes leatherfolk and kinksters to their establishment. I include Wicked Grounds and any non-bar gathering places on this list too.

I hope to see the leather and kink scenes continue to increasingly embrace the sexual as well as the social. More play parties. More sex parties. More overt eroticism generally.

I'd love to see more sex spaces open and we need to continue to support those that do exist like SF Catalyst, SF Citadel, Blow Buddies, Eros, and the producers who host both public and private parties at which we can play.

For me, our scene remains ultimately about the sex and play. That commonality is what connects us more than anything and we need to keep our individual and collective sex lives active.

I hope people continue to figure out how to help rescind or amend the horrific SESTA/FOSTA legislation that's damaging all sexuality communities and hampering quality sex education and the ability for our kink and sexuality communities to organize and promote their businesses, events and organizations.

If you're not familiar with SESTA/FOSTA, educate yourself. If you navigate within any aspects of LGBTQ or kink life, the SESTA/FOSTA legislation has already hurt you whether you realize it or not. Find out about it and pressure your elected officials to stop the bloodshed of our erotic freedoms. This is far more important than many realize.

The Alternative Sexualities Health Research Alliance (TASHRA) is an organization that informs and educates health care providers so they can provide the best care possible to kinky people. Here, a volunteer entices attendees at a recent street fair with a  

I hope to see community money given to organizations and events that benefit the most people overall and not just a few. That means if you have a choice between giving money to keep a community space open or donate to someone's vanity project, choose the former.

And remember, money isn't all you can give. You can give your time. Your time is sometimes as valuable as money. I hope to see volunteerism rise. Volunteering is a double win. You get to help the community directly and you also get to meet a lot of new friends in the process. Volunteering is the best entryway into a satisfying kink social life that there is, especially for a newcomer.

I hope to see more vehement support for the organizations and efforts that are important to every kinky person, but often don't get the attention they deserve.

Some of these are TASHRA (The Alternative Sexualities Health Research Alliance), NCSF (National Coalition for Sexual Freedom), CARAS (Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities), the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, the Leather Archives and Museum, and the GLBT Historical Society. Look them up. Give them money. Support their work.

Lastly are some things that many others want in the coming year, mostly via social media. Let's have fewer attacks on people, especially when the attacker has limited knowledge of the inciting incident.

How about less judgment of other people's kinks?

Let's have more people host their own kink events, whether a small leather dinner party, sex party or group excursion to the movies or a museum (social media makes this pretty easy to do).

More outreach to and understanding of people within our communities that struggle with mental health issues would be appreciated.

Take a moment to think about what you'd like to see happen in 2020 for us kinky folks. Then plan to do it. No matter the subculture that's trying to survive and thrive, it always takes a village.

Race Bannon is a local author, blogger and activist. www.bannon.com

For leather events and Race's previous columns, go to https://www.ebar.com/bartab/leather-kink