San Francisco's Leather District, located in SoMa and host to the annual (and infamous) Folsom Street Fair, has finally been given the recognition it deserves: Official status as a cultural district of San Francisco.
Last week, The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to establish an LGBTQ leather cultural district in the neighborhood. And, frankly, it’s a bit overdue.
“[This vote] to designate a cultural district has been more than a decade in the making,” said San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy. "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.”
For the nightclubs, bars, shops and other LGBTQ venues that make up the 'hood, the status change is a welcome business boost.
"Just having some recognition that this has history and as people move in to it, to recognize there was something here before them,” said Jonathan Schroder, general manager of Mr. S Leather, a neighborhood shop that has catered to the leather community since 1979, to ABC 7 News. “It helps people understand this existed for a long time as they move heavily into the area and are warm and accepting that these things continue to happen,"
As a result of being named a cultural district, the new 'hood will receive public money and have negotiating rights in future residential and commercial developments. The city will also consider designating The Castro and other historic 'hoods as official cultural districts in the near future.