San Francisco on Tuesday established a South of Market neighborhood as the LGBTQ and Leather Cultural District in order to create zoning rules that would protect it from gentrification.
The establishment of the LGBTQ and Leather Cultural District builds on the formation of four other districts established in recent years that are being viewed as effective tools to preserve cultural communities in the face of soaring commercial and housing rents.
Supervisor Jane Kim, who introduced the resolution, noted that plans to form the district actually predated the current economic boom. “This social cultural district has been in the works for about 10 years, since the Western SoMa plan was first introduced in 2006,” Kim said. “It took quite a bit of time for us and the community and neighborhood to put together.”
The formation of the district…means that city departments will work with those in the area to create policies and allocate funding to preserve cultural assets. “San Francisco’s South of Market has been a local and world capital for Leather culture since the 1960s, as well as one of the city’s most significant and distinctive Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer neighborhoods since the 1950s,” the resolution states.
The neighborhood is host to the annual Folsom Street Fair (above), a celebration of kink, leather, and sexual liberation.
KTVU reports that the vote by supervisors was unanimous:
The new cultural district runs through a swath of South of Market that includes Folsom and Ninth Streets.
“With all the encroachments of gentrification in South of Market we don’t want to lose this important cultural history,” said San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy.
Sheehy co-sponsored the resolution. While many people may be familiar with the leather community’s provocative Folsom Street Fair, which celebrates leather sexuality, Sheehy says other accomplishments have gone largely unnoticed.
“The service of the leather community during the AIDS crisis, the non-profits they founded, the amount of fund raising they did in the fight against AIDS is something that should not be forgotten,” he said.