Leather and Lust: Folsom Goes Online

Written by | The Lens, Things to Do

For millennia, queer love has been marginalized. We were forced into the shadows, so we decided to embrace the darkness. Our desires became skewed to our own particular kinks. Predilections were celebrated, from daddy worship to water sports to the perversion du jour.

And then gay went mainstream.

Leather Lotharios burst from the closet and paraded their musky bravado for all the world to see. And nowhere on earth provided a bigger, grittier, more throbbing stage than the Folsom Street Fair.

Dating back to the mid-1980s, Folsom beckoned curious kinksters to the South of Market (SOMA) district of San Francisco with a slap and a wet whisper. The industrial ‘hood was the perfect backdrop for bad deeds done oh so well.

Scantily clad attendees cavorted with rubberneckers who thrilled vicariously to the sex acts and general empowerment on display. The response was so orgasmic and overwhelming that Folsom multiplied, spawning the even more scandalous summer event: Up Your Alley.

As the AIDS epidemic ravaged the LGBTQ community, Folsom participants refused to be silenced. The street fair was an exaltation of ecstasy, placing same-sex fornication on a dirty platter and serving it hot and nasty to the willing crowds.

Nothing could deter Folsom’s fierceness, not even the inclusion of straight people (gay gasp). As the public shenanigans became positively filthy, it was common to gaze up from your conquest of the moment and see two heteros enjoying the view from behind their vanilla attire.

Truly, it seemed like the Folsom party would never end… until Covid-19 came to town. Salacious, slurping rendezvous went extinct, sending queer hookups online to click furiously until their fingers were raw.

What a perfect segue to this year’s festivities.

Folsom Street Fair is invading cyberspace, assembling an alluring array of dom tops, power bottoms, and everyone in between. Virtual voyeurism is in vogue, and comedian Margaret Cho serves as the emcee of excess.

The traditional in-person Folsom events were indulgent grope-fests. While nothing can ever truly take their place, there are sure to be some “touching” online moments this year. The digital proceedings begin this Sunday, September 27th. Log on responsibly. Get off fantastically.


Last modified: September 22, 2020