LEATHER & LGBTQ Cultural District
584 Castro Street #140
San Francisco, CA 94114
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.
We are a fiscally sponsored project of SOMArts.
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
September, 2019: First District Manager hired
November 18, 2019: 501(c)3 tax-exempt status received
December, 2019: Logo and branding guidelines adopted
September 27, 2021: First Executive Director hired
Board meetings are held monthly, and are open to all.
Members of the public are welcome to participate.
- Arts and Culture Committee
- Communications Committee
- Diversity and Membership Committee
- Land Use Committee
- Fundraising Committee
What We’ve Accomplished:
- Held multiple Focus Groups and an Open House to gather ideas and opinions from a wide range of stakeholders
- Reached developer agreements to notify buyers & tenants about District and events
- Created special “SOMA Action Network” for quick response to challenges to our neighborhood
- Built and maintained a web site to keep public informed of activities
- Established a monthly newsletter
- Engaged in community outreach at multiple events and street fairs
- Hosted the Leather Hub at Sunday Streets SOMA 2018 & 2019, and again in 2022
- Held SOMA Bar Crawl with Supervisor Matt Haney
- Revived LeatherWalk tradition, and hosted it in 2021 and 2022.
- For 2020 Up Your Alley and Folsom Street Fairs (online)
- Created “Keep SOMA Kinky Arcade”
- Established “Fetish Runway” competition promoting kinky designers and fetish-wear creators
- Hosted informational booths at Up Your Alley. Folsom and Castro Street Fairs, Pride Festivals, and other events
- Hosted free community events to celebrate District’s 3rd, 4th, and 5th anniversaries
- Created “SOMA Second Saturdays!” in conjunction with SOMA West CBD and Folsom Street
- Supported and promoted the Bearrison Street Fair, making it the destination of LeatherWalk 2022
- Provided support for development of Eagle Plaza
- Created Cultural Catalog promoting local and Leather and LGBTQ-identified artists
- Used mailing list to keep artists informed about potential commissions and other opportunities
- Created database of the buildings and businesses that were most important in our culture’s history
- Created and maintained page of online resources for Leather and LGBTQ communities
- Arranged to put leather and kink-themed artwork on Big Belly trash cans throughout District
- Arranged for Leather Pride flags to appear on District light poles
- Arranged for colorful Cultural District pole banners to appear throughout the District.
- Obtained city approval for Leather Pride flag-themed decoration of selected crosswalks along Folsom Street
- Developed Mural Slideshow and Map to highlight local artwork and artists
- Sponsored the Eyezen production, “Out of Site: SOMA”
- Held online kink + BDSM workshop series called “Little Shop of Whores”
- Held regular online and in-person “Erotic Storytelling Hour” programs, featuring and promoting the work of more than 50 kinky writers so far
- Facilitated the “Sylvester” and “Showtime!” murals on the wall of Oasis
- Facilitated the “Pup” mural on the wall of Mr. S Leather
- Organized Narcan trainings for SOMA Bar staff, and for the public, led by Cary Escovedo
- Took over the traditions of the Golden Dildeaux Awards and the Leather Pride Color Guard after the closing down of the Golden Gate Guards
- Obtained official SF legislation supporting plaques and recognition for important leather community sites
- Consulted with local businesses at risk of permanent closing due to COVID-19, provided grant and loan information, and supplied support letters for funding programs which singled out significance to Cultural Districts
- Organized District-wide holiday market days in December of 2021 and 2022
- Began offering regular free guided Walking Tours of the Cultural District
- Created Entrepreneur Training Program to help create new businesses serving our community
- Conducted Diversity, Equity, & Inclusivity (DEI) training for District board members, staff and volunteers
- Partnered with SF DPH to sponsor “pop-up” events in Eagle Plaza offering free MPX vaccinations
- 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
- Helped organize community support for Landmark Designation for the SF Eagle
- Worked with the Planning Commission on, and advocated for, Landmark Designation for the SF Eagle
- Advocated for parklets to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on local businesses
- Lobbied for new “Adult Sex Venue” zoning category for selected area of the city.
- Did community education and direct advocacy regarding SF Redistricting and other important issues.
What We Plan to Do
- Develop web-based self-guided Walking Tours of the Cultural District
- Continue and Expand Entrepreneur Training Program and other business development programs
- Promote more murals and other public art in the District
- Construct a Gateway as a District place-making feature
- Acquire a building for a permanent Leather Community Center and event space to prevent displacement
- Investigate establishing a Community Development Corporation or land trust to prevent displacement of community businesses
- Establish periodic pop-ups to display community artists’ work
- Establish periodic events to draw people to the District and its community businesses
- Work with local bars and venues on equity and cultural sensitivity, to ensure a welcoming environment for all
- Encourage local venues to have someone on staff with Narcan training
What is the District Doing Now And how can you help?
- Developing a Cultural Catalog of Artists, Artisans and Performers – View it here! – Sign up here!
- Working to install Leather themed crosswalks and other place-making elements – Learn more here!
- Synthesizing community input into a three year strategy report (CHHESS) — Have your voice heard!
- Hosting online and live events in accordance with current Department of Health guidelines – Check the schedule on Facebook!
- Working on branding, social media, and public outreach
- Communications Committee – Attend our next meeting!
- Reaching out to marginalized and under-represented populations
- Diversity & Membership Committee – Attend our next meeting!
- Working with developers to help mitigate the effects of gentrification
- Land Use Committee — Attend our next meeting!
- Planning activities and special events to support our artists, artisans and businesses
- Arts and Culture Committee — Attend our next meeting!
- Being transparent, responsive, and proactive
- Board of Directors — Attend our next meeting!
- Coordinating with other Cultural Districts – Check out the other districts!
- Coordinating with the Friends of Eagle Plaza, who will be the Stewards of this important public space in the District.
- Keeping folks informed about our programs and priorities — Receive our monthly newsletter!
- Representing the needs and wishes of our queer and kinky community — Become a member!
- 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.
- Watch a video highlighting some of our recent activities here.
- Check out our calendar of Cultural District meetings and events here.
- Learn about the City of San Francisco’s Cultural Districts Program here.
- Like and follow the LEATHER & LGBTQ Cultural District on Facebook.
- Join our Group on Fetlife.
- Follow @sfleatherdist on Twitter or Instagram.
Our Community Partners
- Castro LGBTQ Culture District
- Transgender District
- American Indian Cultural District
- Calle 24 Latino Cultural District
- Japantown Cultural District
- African-American Arts and Culture District
- SOMA Pilipinas Filipino Cultural Heritage District
- Friends of Eagle Plaza
- Folsom Street
- SOMA West Community Benefit District
- San Francisco Bay Area Leather Alliance
- Bay Area Leather Lifeline
- GLBT Historical Society