Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Standing Up for Public
Fellatio at Folsom Fair

(Several attendees at last night's meeting.)

Exactly 15 people, myself included, attended last night's 90-minute meeting at City Hall to discuss the 2009 editions of the Dore Alley and Folsom Street Fairs, and I have a report to share with all interested parties.

The meeting was a productive discussion ably guided by Demetri Moshoyannis and Andy Copper of Folsom Street Events, FSE, the non-profit org that puts on both fairs. Supervisor Bevan Dufty opened the talk explaining his role in helping FSE deal with city agencies and that he wanted to hear from the community about making the fairs even more great.

Among the folks sitting around the big table were reps from the Entertainment Commission, Real Bad party producers, the Janus Society, New Leaf, the mayor's office and two members unaffiliated with any org. Missing were reps from the police, fire, traffic and public works departments, agencies that are necessary to the permit process, and whose participation will be sought for future forums.

Demetri and Andy gave a recap of how 2-3 complaints filed against individual cops with the Office of Civilian Complaints, created controversy two months before the Dore Alley Fair, leading to a crackdown on public sex this year. When Demetri asked if there was a different vibe because of the crackdown, I spoke up and set there was, and that we lost public sex space - the alley next to the Powerhouse - and that I want to reclaim the right to engage in public fellatio, or watch it unimpeded by sex monitors.

I said a tent, that would be clearly marked for oral sex and alcohol-free, should be considered, as a safe space for consenting adults to engage in fellatio on a public street. Of course, some poor suckers, er, lucky volunteers would have to head up a committee to maintain security at the tent, or other structure, if this idea is to become reality, and I'd be the first to kneel down and pray that this happens. Demetri and Bevan will consider the tent idea and it will be revisited at future meetings.

Other attendees spoke up about the queer sexual culture of the SoMa district, which has certainly evolved over the decades, as has the erotic vibe for the fairs. Ways of engaging the fetish community and the city agencies include asking fair-goers to attend SF Police Commission and South Station meetings, in the spring, when the permit process is just getting underway. We need to have our voices heard at the police station responsible for SoMa, and the commission that oversees the SFPD.

Andy told of how the highest number of complaints are not about sex or nudity, but about kids and dogs. The reasons for the complaints are varied, and FSE, at the entry gates, strongly encourages people with children and pets to think twice about entering. Still, given that the fairs are on public streets, there will never be a way to keep pets and kids out.

A big concern for FSE is that they feel not enough of the fetish and gay communities, and the larger public, understand and appreciate the tremendous amounts of money given to non-profits. FSE would like for everyone to be knowledgeable about all the benefits that come back to the communities, after we've all had fabulous times, especially the millions of dollars donated to local groups.

Bevan mentioned he is arranging a meeting with Chief of Police George Gascon and leather leaders, to get him educated on the history of the fairs, and what the community wants from the cops on fair days.

Finally, Demetri and Andy explained that there is one big inter-agency meeting with assorted city government stakeholders, which takes place at the end of February or beginning of March. There was much agreement around the table that we would all work to be there, and to enlist the participation of our friends and fellow fair-goers.

All in all, the meeting was a fabulous public re-commitment to genuine and full engagement by the wonderful FSE folks and those of us who get so much pleasure, friendship, eye-candy and community-building from Folsom and Dore. Last night was the giant first step toward making the 2010 fair the best ever. Be ready to do your part to make that happen in the new year.

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