Amid the crowds and commotion of the 2017 San Francisco Pride Festival, one attraction stood out as being fun, erotic, educational, and community-building, while also raising important funds for the Leather Alliance. That was Leather Alley 2017!
A steady stream of visitors waited patiently for entrance, and were rewarded with a multitude of sights and sounds: first, a hang-out space for conversation and light play. The K9 Unit had a mosh for all the eager puppies, and the Little Scouts provided face painting and play space for littles. Exiles and Queer Sphere offered information on their organizations, and helped distribute information from other groups.
Moving deeper up the alley, visitors observed suspension bondage, flogging and single-tail whipping demos, spanking and caning, immobilization and edging, and other fascinating demonstrations. A few brave and lucky guests even were invited to endure “samples” of these sensations, administered by the hands and toys of expert, experienced tops.
Of course, it all was made possible by the enormous work of a large cadre of volunteers, including a hard-working planning team, the dedicated crew who erected and tore down the fencing and furniture, the representatives of the 15 Association, SF Catalyst, the Citadel and other Alliance member organizations who staffed the demo play stations, the Legion of Sin who took responsibility for security, the Leather Alliance leadership team who tirelessly collected donations, the ushers who kept the crowd safe and orderly, the Ambassadors who answered questions, and all the other groups and individuals who contributed time and energy — and in some cases the very skin off their backs — to making the day such a success.
Of course, volunteering did have its privileges: a quiet place to relax with its own private port-a-potties, healthy refreshments, gear storage, and the freedom to visit the Alley any time without waiting in line. (Think about that when you make your plans for next year’s Pride!)
But the greatest reward — besides the fun itself — was the knowledge that we were bringing information, awareness, and acceptance to over a thousand guests, many of whom have never had the chance to see and talk to BDSM practitioners, and help them discover opportunities for education, support, and connections to others with similar interests. Some may have come to gawk, and left with a better understanding and insight into the leather and kink community.
The organizers of the event, and Leather Alliance as a whole, offers a heartfelt thanks to all the Leather Alley volunteers, guests, and other supporters and participants. It wouldn’t be a San Francisco Pride Festival without Leather Alley!