News Briefs: SF Leather Week kickoff starts with walk

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday September 13, 2023
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The Leather & LGBTQ Cultural District marched in last year's LeatherWalk. Photo: Fire Dragon Photography
The Leather & LGBTQ Cultural District marched in last year's LeatherWalk. Photo: Fire Dragon Photography

LeatherWalk, which kicks off Leather Week in San Francisco ahead of the Folsom Street Fair, will take place Sunday, September 17, beginning at 11 a.m. outside City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place.

The San Francisco Leather & LGBTQ Cultural District in the South of Market neighborhood is overseeing the walk for the third year. It took over the event in 2021 after it had been on hiatus for a few years, as the Bay Area Reporter previously reported.

"Join this 31-year tradition, show your leather/kinky/queer Pride in the streets, and have some daytime SOMA fun at fav spots," leather district officials stated in an announcement.

For those unable to walk all or parts of the route, a vehicle will be available courtesy of Fogcutter Tours to take people from stop to stop. Seating is limited and people should contact district manager Cal Callahan at [email protected] as soon as possible to be placed on the list.

Participants can fundraise or not, the announcement stated. Donations benefit the work of the cultural district, including its entrepreneur training program, activations for artists and performers, and legislative advocacy for more kinky/queer venues. The Kinky Boot Award goes to the top fundraiser. To sign up or view who is fundraising, go to

The 40th annual Folsom Street Fair takes place Sunday, September 24, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The main gate is located at Folsom and Eighth streets. There will be stages and activities catering to all manner of kink as the fair marks four decades of sexual liberation. For more information, go to

Pride Night at Great America

Project MORE has announced that Pride Night will be held at California's Great America Friday, September 15, from 6 p.m. to midnight at the theme park in Santa Clara. The event is presented by Splash, an LGBTQ video dance bar in San Jose.

Tickets, which include general admission and parking, are $50 for Great America season passholders and $75 for non-passholders. There is a VIP package available for $150 for season passholders and $175 for non-passholders. Additionally, there is a $125 package that includes a meet and greet with the RuGirls.

The all-inclusive celebration is for those 18 years and older. It will feature rides, drag performances, live music, party zones, and food and drink specials.

A portion of ticket sales supports Project MORE, a nonprofit that advocates and aids underserved queer individuals. Project MORE is also the steward of the Qmunity LGBTQ space in downtown San Jose.

For more information about Pride Night and to purchase tickets, click here.

SF L/G Freedom Band concert

The San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band will hold a concert, "Passions and Pastimes," Saturday, September 30, from 3 to 5 p.m. at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 1111 O'Farrell Street (between Franklin and Gough) in the city.

The concert will include the West Coast premiere of "The MirageCaster," a piece composed by Mattea Williams, a bi Black woman who is the band's new composer in residence, as the B.A.R. previously reported. Williams composed "The MirageCaster" prior to her appointment with the band.

A news release from the band, which is the official band of San Francisco, noted that the concert would feature music that explores everything from bicycle riding to baseball to magic to dancing, singing, hiking, and more. It's the second installment of the band's 2023 community concert series.

Under the baton of artistic director Pete Nowlen, attendees will learn more about band members' passionate pastimes as they enjoy a collection of music. In addition to Williams' piece, the band will perform works by composers Gustav Holst, Robert Russell Bennett, David Maslanka, Jack Stamp, Lee Jinjun, Erika Svanoe, and John Philip Sousa.

General admission tickets for the concert are $20 or $15 for seniors and students. To purchase tickets, click here.

An artist's rendition shows the gallery of the new Pansy L. Chan and Terrence D. Chan National Queer Arts Center. Illustration: Courtesy SFGMC  

SFGMC shares renditions of new home
The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus has shared renditions of its new home, the Pansy L. Chan and Terrence D. Chan National Queer Arts Center, as it invites people to join its Conductor's Society and prepares for its upcoming Season 46, which will be announced soon.

As the B.A.R. previously reported, the chorus purchased the building at 170 Valencia Street in 2019. It will house a cutting-edge media center, provide a creative space for LGBTQ artists, serve as a meeting location for community groups, and host trainings and internship programs. It will also be the permanent home for the chorus.

According to an email to supporters, the chorus expects to soon open the center. Chris Verdugo, executive director of the chorus, wrote that the need for such a center has never been greater.

"With all the hateful state-level legislation in recent years and growing attacks on our rights and our community ... I don't need to tell you how acute the need is right now for a safe place to serve as a beacon of inspiration and empowerment for queer individuals nationwide who are confronting oppression," wrote Verdugo.

Meanwhile, the chorus' Conductor's Society starts at $150 per year and provides first access to the best seats at its live concerts.

For more information on the Conductor's Society, go to For other information on the chorus, go to

Morocco quake relief effort
Rainbow World Fund, the LGBTQ humanitarian organization based in San Francisco, is raising funds to help LGBTQs affected by the earthquake in Morocco. On September 8, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck the Marrakesh-Safi region of the country in north Africa. The earthquake's epicenter was located southwest of Marrakesh. RWF noted in an email to supporters that over 2,122 people have been killed and 2,400 were injured, with at least 1,400 of the injured being critically hurt.

"In older parts of Marrakesh and portions of the city walls collapsed, leaving families trapped beneath debris," RWF stated. "Many of the buildings are centuries old and very, very unstable. Thousands have lost their homes."

RWF Executive Director Jeff Cotter, a gay man, added that the organization is "focusing our aid to help members of the LGBTQ+ community that have been impacted by the earthquake. The LGBTQ+ community is heavily discriminated against leaving it particularly vulnerable when an emergency occurs."

Cotter noted that same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Morocco, for men and women. "The LGBTQ+ community faces many hardships in this country, as it has limited legal rights. Police disproportionately target LGBTQ+ people. Public opinion toward the LGBTQ+ community is generally negative, in alignment with attitudes about LGBTQ+ rights in much of the Muslim world," he noted.

The country has a male-dominated culture and a patriarchal society with traditional gender roles, RWF's email explained. Same-sex activity can be punished with anything from three to five years' imprisonment and fines. When one is arrested in Morocco for a suspected homosexual act, their name is publicized, thus outing the individual before a trial takes place.

To donate, click here and select "Morocco Earthquake — Helping LGBTQ Survivors" from the drop-down menu. Checks can be sent to Rainbow World Fund, 4111 18th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114. Write Morocco Earthquake in the memo line.

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