Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Rallying the 'Differents'


The diverse array of contestants and title holders at Santa Clara Leather 2016, in a group pose arranged by Mr. SCCL 2016 Guy Johnson. From Left to right: Crystal Rose, Mr. SCCL 2015 Frank La Maggie, Mr. ACL 2010 Marc Owens, Ms. ACL 2016 Aisia Flethcher, Mr. SCCL 2016 Guy Johnson, TC Bootblack Mr. Blue, Mr. SCCL 2013 Thib Guicherdcallin, and BCC Mr. October 2017 Alan Edward. photo: Daniel Samblanet
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This is the column I hoped I would never have to write. If you are reading this and voted for Trump, you aren't going to enjoy this column. You might want to stop reading now.

I write here primarily for the LGBTQ kink and leather communities. If you are not part of that demographic, what I say here might not resonate with you because your kinky world is quite different than ours. It is possibly far more closeted and clandestine. So, the fear I and my kind have may seem misplaced, but I assure you it is quite well placed.

In the aftermath that I fear will usher in a new era of targeting LGBTQ people with hate and violence, the out LGBTQ kinky among us have an added layer of danger with which we must contend. Our world and our peace of mind just took a direct hit from a campaign of misinformation and fear that has fueled the ire of forces that seek to bring harm to anyone who is different and we are most certainly among the "differents."

So how do we LGBTQ kinksters manage the potential crisis while still honoring the kinky life and identities so many of us cherish? I have committed to doing something every day (#DoSomethingEveryDay) to help blunt the impact of a Trump Presidency. I hope others will also engage in meaningful actions in whatever manner seems appropriate for them.

Most importantly, stay pissed off! Do not let your anger subside. Anger can fuel action if properly channeled. Complacency is our enemy. Normalizing the Trump and right-wing worldview is our enemy. Doing nothing is our enemy. Let your anger translate into taking action to right the wrong we just endured.

If you've never been involved in politics or social movements, now is the time to do so. March and protest. Write and call your political representatives. Help organize. Donate when you can. Volunteer. Talk to people and convince them that the new Trump way of seeing the world can lead to nothing but heartache, discrimination and worse. Stay engaged! This is going to be a long four years. We must not let the darker forces take away our freedoms.

Whether you ever considered yourself part of a larger coalition of marginalized communities before, you are now. We must embrace being part of the larger collective effort to maintain and grow our civil rights and the civil rights of others.

Matthew McGowen is Mr. SF Eagle Leather 2017. photo: Rich Stadtmiller

No longer can we LGBTQ kinksters consider ourselves standing just with our LGBTQ and kink friends and allies. It's much bigger than just us right now. Right-wing forces are already poised to pounce on eliminating rights for women, people of color, non-Christians and immigrants as well as LGBTQ people. We must not let them.

We must stand up for and support "all" of these groups. There is no way we can survive the Trump administration unless we align ourselves with the entire spectrum of us differents because there is great power in numbers. Especially now.

Now is the time to give money or time to the organizations or groups who can, together, positively influence the direction of our country. The ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center and Planned Parenthood are just a few of the many organizations we must support. I can't list them all, but there's a great website just launched,, that will give you some great ideas on how you can help.

If you've never been involved in politics, now is the time. Yes, I know. Some of you reading this don't have the time for politics. You hate talking about it. You don't like the uncomfortable conversations it can elicit. Well, tough. You no longer have that luxury. If you don't get involved how will you feel when you see our nation's humanity crumble into a heap of vitriol and discrimination? Suck it up. Get involved.

Stay safe and secure the safety of others. I recommend people attend the Safety Seminar being held November 28 at SOMArts Cultural Center (see the calendar for details). I hope more safety and self-defense seminars are hosted here in the Bay Area and around the country. Proper safety information and self-defense techniques are needed now more than ever.

Obviously, vote. Every single election. Never sit one out. So many didn't vote this past election and that's simply not acceptable. Get involved in local and national political campaigns, organizations and movements.

Contribute money when you can, but ­–just as importantly–­ contribute your time and effort. Much of the crucial work is still done on the ground with real human beings interacting. Don't relinquish all of your political energy to social media. Social media is powerful and useful, but it's also an echo chamber in which most people don't reach beyond their close-knit gaggle of friends who tend to think similarly most of the time. Get out into the world and effect change.

At the same time you channel your anger into political action and activism and supporting organizations and movements, you must also still live a happy and fulfilled kinky life. We can't let the right-wing forces shove us back into the closet to only enjoy our leather and kink life under the shadow of hidden night. Revel in your kinky life and enjoy it as much as you can.

On the stage at the Mr. SF Eagle Leather 2017 contest (left to right): Chris Humphreys (Mr. SF Eagle Leather 2015), Gage Fisher (Head Bartender and Mr. SF Eagle Leather 2014), Andy Cross (Co-MC and International Mr. Leather 2013), Harrison Kong (Mr. SF Eagle Leather 2016), Matthew McGowen (Winner), Kevin Harding-Toy (Runner-Up), Beth Bicoastal (Co-MC and Floor Manager/Events Coordinator), Mike Leon (Co-Owner, SF Eagle). photo: Rich Stadtmiller

Let's put our money, fundraising and efforts to help "us" (the differents) and not succumb to sometimes buying legitimacy for our existence by fundraising for those who have little allegiance to or even love for our kind.

We should focus like a laser on supporting politicians, institutions, organizations and causes that have a direct impact on our future. Indeed, they might even save us from a violent death someday. And if that seems extreme, you aren't paying attention to what's going on.

A couple of organizations that I feel will be important to support are the Woodhull Foundation and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. Both serve to protect our sexual rights and that's going to be vital since right-wing conservative forces always try to suppress the full range of expression of sexualities, erotic identities, relationship options and sexual orientations.

Yes, the next four years is going to be rough, but we are strong. We, along with the broad coalition of differents with which we must now tightly align, can weather this conservative and oppressive storm.

Again, try to #DoSomethingEveryDay to protect your rights and the rights of everyone who isn't a white heterosexual Christian male. Us differents are all in this together. Let's get to work and keep our various communities and our country free. We really don't have a choice now.


Race Bannon is a local author, blogger and activist. You can reach him on his website

Leather Events, November 25 – December 11, 2016


There's always a lot going on in the San Francisco Bay Area for leather and other kinksters.

Fri 25

Sober Kink Together @ Castro Country Club

Officially a CMA meeting, but open to all Anonymous 12-step Fellowship members, 4058 18th St., 9:30pm.

Gear Party @ 442 Natoma

Gear play party (leather, rubber, harnesses, etc.) for gay men. 442 Natoma St., $15 (requires $5 membership), 10pm.

Mon 28

Ride Mondays @ Eros

A motorcycle rider and leathermen night at Eros, bring your helmet, AMA card, MC club card or club colors and get $3 off entry or massage. 2051 Market St.

Safety Seminar @ SOMArts Cultural Center

Addressing the rising safety concerns and issues within and across our communities given the recent change in social climate. Specifically for the LGBTQ community and its allies. 934 Brannan St., 7-9pm.

Fri 2

Mister: A Man on Man Play Party @ 1060 Folsom St.

Come out for an erotic and kinky night of man on man action. New to the scene and not sure how to get started? Join them at 7:30 for "Pick Up Play 101" to get and practice skills that will increase your chances of hooking up at parties. Already an experienced player? Join them at 8pm when the dungeon will be open and ready for play. 8pm-1am.

Sober Kink Together @ Castro Country Club

Officially a CMA meeting, but open to all Anonymous 12-step Fellowship members, 4058 18th St., 9:30pm.

Gear Party @ 442 Natoma

Gear play party (leather, rubber, harnesses, etc.) for gay men. 442 Natoma St., $15 (requires $5 membership), 10pm.

Sat 3

Woof! @ SF Eagle

Come romp, play and socialize at this monthly pups and Handler mosh event. Mats will be out to pup out on and there are snacks to munch on. They're having a gift exchange. To participate bring a not easily breakable gift (under $10) wrapped so an excited pup will be able to tear it open without breaking any teeth/paws. $3, 398 12th St., 2-5pm.

Frolic @ SF Eagle

Music by DJ NeonBunny, visuals by Skibit, with rotating guest DJs and VJs from the furry fandom, as we turn this venue into a visual interactive experience. 398 12th St., 8pm-2am.

Sun 4

Exiles Orientation@ Oakstop

All those wishing to join The Exiles must attend an orientation to ensure that all members are introduced to basic BDSM safety and concepts. This is a fun, interactive class presented in skit format. $10 for nonmembers, free for members. Open to all women (and those who identify as other than male) who are 18 and over. 1721 Broadway, Oakland, 2-4pm.

Mon 5

Ride Mondays @ Eros

A motorcycle rider and leathermen night at Eros, bring your helmet, AMA card, MC club card or club colors and get $3 off entry or massage. 2051 Market St.

Thu 8

Red Hanky Nite @ Powerhouse

Bar night for men into fisting. 1347 Folsom St., 7-9pm.

Fri 9

Sober Kink Together @ Castro Country Club

Officially a CMA meeting, but open to all Anonymous 12-step Fellowship members, 4058 18th St., 9:30pm.

Gear Party @ 442 Natoma

Gear play party (leather, rubber, harnesses, etc.) for gay men. 442 Natoma St., $15 (requires $5 membership), 10pm.

Sat 10

Leathermen's Discussion Group 20th Anniversary/Holiday/Volunteer Appreciation Party @ SF Oasis

Celebrating their 20th anniversary, LDG has been offering programming continuously since 1996 and are going strong into their 21st year. 4-6pm.

Black Xxxmas @ 1015 Folsom St.

Leather meets the holidays in this all-out tribal/techno assault from the master himself, Abel Aguilera, on the city's best sound system. Full scale wicked Christmas decor. $100,000 LED wall and an exclusive opening set from supertstar DJ Wayne. G. $40-$60, 10pm-6am.

Sun 11

San Francisco Men's Spanking Party @ Power Exchange

Not a BDSM group, but more for guys into spanking and paddling like traditional Spanking over daddy's knee or fraternity style pledge initiation paddling. Safe place for beginners to explore or just a good place to meet and talk to other guys into this fetish. $25, 220 Jones St., 1-6pm.

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