Folsom Street Events (FSE), the nonprofit behind the Folsom Street Fair, is expected to open a sex-positive community center at 145 9th Street in SoMa that will have a queer-focused library and archive, left-of-center art shows and film screenings, and host shame-free, kink-friendly sex education classes, among much more.
Folsom Street Fair, the world’s largest leather festival of its kind, continued in 2020 amid the pandemic as a digital experience; the incomparable (and very sex-positive) Margaret Cho hosted the event, alongside other community notables to champion the happening’s celebrated sexual frivolity during this period of social distancing. Going into a post-COVID-19 world, the SoMa-based organization is preparing to debut its Community Center for Alternative Sexualities — which will exist as a year-round, sex-positive resource and entertainment touchstone.
"Folsom Street has signed a lease, and begun work on launching our new community center in [SoMa],” said Angel Adeyoha, the queer and nonbinary executive director of FSE, per the Bay Area Reporter. “We are pivoting from our legacy of fundraising, community education, and arts programming annually through our events, to a year-round resource for many small organizations, groups, and clubs who are struggling to stay in [SoMa] or who have been pushed out.”
By offering a swath of events and services — among them being volunteer training programs and drag and performer workshops — the Community Center for Alternative Sexualities aims to be an evergreen meeting spot. Like the Castro Country Club, the center will also host recovery meetings and help create more clean and sober spaces for queer San Franciscans.
The location itself is around 2,500 square feet and is ADA accessible; Folsom Street Events has committed to at least a five-year lease for space at $7,760 a month, according to the newspaper. The center, too, will operate as a co-op that includes SF’s LGBTQ+ film festival Frameline.
Adeyoha noted that the nonprofit hopes to continue posting updates on the space via their social media accounts “as [they] put in shelves and other things.” Curious minds can head on over to the organization's TikTok page to see a short tour of the community center. And with such close proximity to the Folsom Street Fair’s festival grounds, the Community Center for Alternative Sexualities may be incorporated into the event, as well.
However, it’s worth mentioning that whether or not Folsom Street Fair will move away from a mostly virtual format for 2021 is still up in the air. The nonprofit said earlier to the Bay Area Reporter that this year’s festival could be "modified" as an in-person event — though that decision largely depends on vaccination rates and public health concerns around the festival’s usual September opening date.
For those with the financial cushion to do so, you can donate to the FSE — which would be a tax-deductible contribution — at folsomstreetevents.org/donate.
Image: Screenshot via Google Maps