About Us

About the
LEATHER & LGBTQ Cultural District

Dates and Facts

Our Cultural District is in the South of Market neighborhood, bounded by Seventh, Howard, the 101 and I-80 freeways, plus Harrison, Fifth, Bryant and Sixth.

May 9, 2018:
The world’s first LEATHER & LGBTQ Cultural District was created by a resolution unanimously passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on May 1, 2018 and signed by the Mayor on May 9, 2018.
June 21, 2019:
Incorporation
July 17, 2019:
Bylaws approved
August 21, 2019:
First Board of Directors elected
November 18, 2019:
501(c)3 tax-exempt status received

Board meetings of the Cultural District are held monthly, and are open to all.

Our Committees:

Members of the public are encouraged to participate on our Committees.

    • Arts and Culture
    • Communications
    • Diversity and Membership
    • Land Use

Achievements so far:

  • Got organized:
    • Incorporated, enacted bylaws, elected Board and officers, and obtained 501(c)3 status
    • Hired District Manager (9/19)
    • Contracted with fiscal sponsor SOMArts
    • Obtained a non-profit GSuite account to host our email and provide essential support services
    • Joined Techsoup, and acquired essential software for our District Manager and volunteers
    • Approved a logo and branding guide (12/19)
    • Developed new committee structure, recruited members, and held regular productive meetings
  • Fulfilled obligations to City of San Francisco:
    • Completed City training program for Directors and District Manager
    • Held Board retreat to identify goals and objectives
    • Selected and contracted with first CHHESS consultant
    • Planned major free District Launch Event for the community
    • Submitted monthly program and budget reports to City
    • Publicized City programs and offerings
  • Worked on Land Use Issues:
    • Created “Projects in Development” database for Land Use Committee
    • Negotiated successfully with several developers
    • Reached developer agreements to notify buyers & tenants about District and events
    • Created special “SOMA Action Network” for quick response to challenges to our neighborhood
    • Reviewed real estate offerings and monitored market
  • Did Community Outreach:
    • Built and maintained a web site to keep public informed of activities
    • Increased mailing list to over 450 contacts, and sent out monthly newsletters
    • Developed membership database, and signed up full voting members
    • Created and distributed informational brochures
    • Publicized meetings and events via posters and social media
    • Staffed informational tables and booths at numerous events
    • Purchased and distributed “Keep SOMA Kinky” clothespins at 2019 UYA and Folsom Street Fairs
    • Board President did interviews with KPIX, and presented at Commonwealth Club
    • Held in-person Open House Events
    • Participated in the OurTown SF LGBTQ Nonprofit
    • Hosted the Leather Hub at Sunday Streets SOMA
    • Marched in the Oakland Trans March and Oakland Pride Parade
    • Held SOMA Bar Crawl with Supervisor Matt Haney
  • Coordinated with Others:
    • Met and worked with the other queer cultural districts
      • Castro LGBTQ Culture District
      • Transgender District
    • Met and worked with
      • American Indian Cultural District
      • Calle 24 Latino Cultural District
      • Japantown Cultural District
      • SF African-American Arts and Culture District
      • SOMA Pilipinas Filipino Cultural Heritage District
    • Provided leadership and support to Friends of Eagle Plaza
    • Coordinated with SOMA West Community Benefit District
    • Coordinated closely with San Francisco Bay Area Leather Alliance and other non-profits
    • Wrote and published a Statement of Solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement
    • Celebrated second anniversary with contests as part of Bay Area Leather Lifeline fundraiser
    • Board members lobbied for the reversal of the San Francisco Bathhouse ban
    • Advocated for the passage of Prop E, to provide Hotel Tax funding for all the Cultural Districts
    • Donated to local projects and funds to cope with special challenges.
  • Supported Art and Culture, and Promoted Leather Identity of Neighborhood:
      • Provided fundraising and logistic support in development of Eagle Plaza
      • Marched in the historic Leather Pride Parade and helped raise the flag at Eagle Plaza (6/19)
      • Created Cultural Catalog to promote local and Leather and LGBTQ-identified artists
      • Arranged to put leather and kink-themed artwork on Big Belly trash cans throughout District
      • Inventoried potential lightpole banner and themed crosswalk locations
      • Reviewed and selected designs to recommend for crosswalks, bike stands, and tree grates
      • Developed Mural Slideshow to highlight local artwork and artists
      • Created program to match businesses with artists to decorate boarded up windows
      • Developed plans for Web-based self-guided Walking Tours of the Culture District
      • Supported the Eyezen production, “Out of Site: SOMA”
      • Created contest to design Leather Gateway sculpture
    • Responded to COVID-19 (3/2020):
      • Offered membership dues waiver to those affected directly or economically
      • Created a COVID-19 information page with links targeted for our community
      • Moved all meetings on-line
      • Coordinated with, publicized, and donated to Bay Area Leather Lifeline and other funds
      • Published and updated roundup of neighborhood business re-openings
      • Assisted in “Masks for D6 Campaign”
      • Created “Erotic Storytelling Hour” and weekly “Happy Hour” online events
      • Postponed planned Launch Event
      • Consulted to local businesses at risk of permanent closing

    What is the District Doing Now?  And how can you Help?

    • Developing a Cultural Catalog
    • Assembling an Artists Artisans and Performers Roster – Sign up Here! 
    • Hosting online events during COVID-19 – Join the fun! (click to see dates and links)
    • Developing District Walking Tours –  Attend our next meeting!
    • Working to install Leather themed crosswalks and other place-making elements
    • Seeking community input for a three year strategy report (CHHESS)
    • Working on branding, social media, and public outreach
    • Reaching out to marginalized and under-represented populations
    • Working with developers to help mitigate the effects of gentrification
    • Coordinating with other Cultural Districts – Check out the other districts!
    • Coordinating with the Friends of Eagle Plaza, a public space in the District.

     Our Board and Committees meet monthly; meetings are free and open to all.  Explore our calendar! 

    What About the Future?

    Once the need to Shelter in Place abates, we look forward to a resurgence of activity in our District, and a full recovery of the businesses and community life that have made it so special to us.   This will need the energy of everyone who loves Folsom Street:  their memories, their creativity, their commitment.

    In time, “Leathertown” will be an even more vibrant destination for the kinky and queer from around the world.  Folsom and Harrison Streets will be fun, safe, vibrant and kinkier than ever.  And the important artistic, intellectual and even ethical contributions of our culture, ideas and values that we have nurtured here over decades, will be widely shared and appreciated.

    One of our dearest goals, of course, is the creation of a Leather Cultural & Community Center.  This may take a while, but we have begun work on many levels, public and private.  And you can help.

    More

    • Read the Resolution as approved by the Board of Supervisors, and signed by the Mayor on May 9, 2018, here.
    • Read the Vision and Mission Statements for the Cultural District here.
    • Read our full organizational Bylaws, here.
    • See a list of our current Board of Directors, here.
    • View a map of the Cultural District here.
    • Check out our calendar of Cultural District meetings and events, here.
    • Like and follow the LEATHER & LGBTQ Cultural District on Facebook.
    • Join our Group on Fetlife.
    • Follow @sfleatherdist on Twitter or Instagram.