News Briefs: LeatherWalk aims to keep SF kinky

  • by Compiled by Matthew S. Bajko
  • Wednesday August 31, 2016
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Organizers of this year's LeatherWalk are challenging participants to ensure San Francisco doesn't lose its sexually subversive ways.

The theme of the 25th annual fundraiser for a trio of local nonprofits is "Keep San Francisco Kinky." The official start to the city's Leather Week, the stroll through several gay neighborhoods will take place Sunday, September 18.

The first walk was held in 1992 by Art Tomaszewski, a former AIDS Emergency Fund board president and former Bare Chest Calendar man and Mr. Headquarters Leather. In 2001, Sandy "Mama" Reinhardt, a longtime leather community member and fundraiser, took over production of the walk.

Lance Holman, who has been a longtime walk volunteer for AEF and its sister organization the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund, assumed leadership of the walk in 2013. Last year Folsom Street Events, which produces the Folsom Street Fair, set to take place Sunday, September 25, and other parties and fairs, partnered with AEF/BCEF to put on the LeatherWalk in an effort to boost participation and increase the amount of money raised.

Folsom Street Events is again taking a leadership role this year in organizing the walk, with the money raised again benefiting itself and the two emergency funds. AEF last month merged with Positive Resource Center, while BCEF is becoming its own stand alone entity. The goal this year is to raise $20,000 through the walk.

"We walk together to celebrate leather, kink, family and community - all while raising funds for three great agencies," noted Folsom Street Events in an email announcing this year's event.

Holman will be serving as the master of ceremonies and Sister Roma, of the drag nun charitable group Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, will be the mistress of ceremonies. Entertainment is slated to begin at 11:30 a.m. at Jane Warner Plaza, with the walk scheduled to kick off at 12 p.m. from the public parklet, located at the corner of 17th, Castro and Market Streets.

The walk will make its way down Market Street toward its endpoint at the SF Eagle at the corner of 12th and Harrison Streets, where the leather flag will be raised on the gay bar's outdoor flagpole. This year's flatbed truck performances will include Empress Emma Peel, Grace Towers, Abominatrix, Raquela, and Mark Paladini.

Stops along the route this year will include the Powerhouse, Mr. S Leather, and the Lone Star. Participants receive a collectible LeatherWalk pin and are asked to raise $250, though there is no minimum required to walk.

On-site registration and check-in will begin at 10 a.m. that Sunday at gay bar 440 Castro. Those interested in signing up in advance can do so online at


SFAF to honor Leno, founders of black men's group

The San Francisco AIDS Foundation will honor outgoing gay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and the eight founding members of its Black Brothers Esteem program at its annual gala later this month.

During the event, Tribute Celebration 2016, the city's largest provider of HIV prevention and AIDS services will award Leno, who is termed out of office this December, with its Cleve Jones Award, named after one of the agency's co-founders.

The agency said it chose Leno to receive the award "for his tireless service to marginalized community members and commitment to furthering the rights of LGBTQ people."

The cofounders of Black Brothers Esteem, which marked its 20th anniversary this year, will receive the agency's Community Excellence Award. The program supports and empowers African American men who are gay, bisexual or same-gender loving.

Hosting the event's live auction will be gay Los Angeles resident Scott Nevins, a TV personality, entertainer and a star of Bravo's The People's Couch.

One of SFAF's main fundraisers, the event will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, September 17 at the San Francisco Armory, 1800 Mission Street. Cocktail attire is requested, and a VIP reception will take place at 5:30 p.m.

Individual tickets cost $350, though there are a limited number of tickets for people 35 or younger that cost $300 for two. Guests must be at least 21 years old.

To purchase tickets online, visit


Public invited to attend AIDS confab report back

San Francisco's Getting to Zero Consortium will hold its quarterly meeting later this month, and the public is invited to attend.

The consortium is overseeing the city's effort to eliminate HIV transmission by at least 90 percent come 2020. A main pillar of the plan is the promotion of PrEP, the once-a-day pill that prevents HIV negative people from contracting the virus.

The consortium's meeting Thursday, September 22 will include a report back from AIDS 2016, the International AIDS Conference held in July in Durban, South Africa. That portion of the meeting will run from 5:15 to 5:45 p.m.

Between 6 and 8 p.m. the meeting will feature highlights on new data from the 2015 HIV Epidemiology Annual Report issued by the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Also discussed will be novel approaches local health officials are taking to tackle some of the issues raised in the report through the Getting to Zero plan and other local programs and services.

After the panel, there will be an interactive, community discussion where attendees of the meeting are invited to ask questions and share their own experiences. The meeting will take place at 25 Van Ness Avenue, in the 6th Floor conference room.

To RSVP online, visit the meeting's Facebook page at