Folsom Street Fairness

Oct 2, 2012 | Posted by: DNF | Full story: www.thestranger.com

I was wondering what you think about the Folsom Street Fair, the annual gay leather/fetish/BDSM street fair in San Francisco. Do you think it is still a socially relevant display? Or do you think that in this time when we are fighting for civil rights and equality that it does more harm than good? -Better Displaying San Francisco

Dan: it's important to emphasize that the Folsom Street Fair, which took place last weekend, isn't exclusively gay. Thousands of straight kinksters attend every year. About the only difference between the straight attendees and the queer ones is that no one claims that the kinky straight people at Folsom make all heterosexuals everywhere look like sex-crazed sadomasochists.

But everyone acknowledges—even our enemies—that the gay rights movement has made extraordinary strides in the 43 years since the Stonewall Riots in New York City. We're not all the way there yet, we have yet to secure our full civil equality, but the pace of progress has been unprecedented in the history of social justice movements. The women's suffrage movement, for example, was launched in the United States in 1848. It took more than 70 years to pass the 19th Amendment, which extended the vote to women. In 1969, at the time of the Stonewall Riots, gay sex was illegal in 49 states. Gay sex is now legal in every US state, gay marriage is legal in six states and our nation's capital (and in all of Canada), and gays, lesbians, and bisexuals can serve openly in the military. (The armed forces still discriminate against trans people.) And we've made this progress despite fierce opposition from the religious right, a deadly plague that wiped out a generation of gay men, and—gasp—all those leather guys at Folsom and the go-go boys and drag queens at Pride.
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Trampas Graham

Montpelier, VT

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#1
Oct 2, 2012
 

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Thanks for pointing out that the Folsom Street Fair isn't exclusively gay, and that it isn't generally assumed that the heterosexual participants represent all straight people. I learned something tonight. For that, I am grateful.

DNF

“Religious Freedom to Marry”

Since: Apr 07

Newark OH / Baltimore MD

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Oct 3, 2012
 
Trampas Graham wrote:
Thanks for pointing out that the Folsom Street Fair isn't exclusively gay, and that it isn't generally assumed that the heterosexual participants represent all straight people. I learned something tonight. For that, I am grateful.
I'm glad I was able to help. I know many will get upset that this is from Dan Savage. I also know that we will always have people, both inside and outside the GLBT community, who are critical of these kinds of events.

It's very tempting to say we should try to "fit in" or "tone things down a bit". But those who oppose full equality for the GLBT community will never be happy with any concessions we make; they will always have another item on their list of grievances.

But like you I really liked how Dan pointed out that "it isn't generally assumed that the heterosexual participants represent all straight people". It's the same thing when people bring up HIV/AIDS in the marriage equality debates.

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