It is easy to take for granted the freedoms we enjoy, as leathermen and kinksters, here in San Francisco and in a few other places around the world. But our freedom didn’t fall into our laps, it was fought for and won. It can be fought against and lost. While Trump might enjoy the occasional golden shower, he is not one of us. In fact he could take a thousand fists up his ass and he would still be more of a puppet for a lot people who hate us and would dearly like to turn the clock back on both rights and acceptance for everything gay and queer.
We have resisted many enemies to our culture, but none quite like Trump and those who have put their own agenda before both their party and their country by propping him up. Except for when they did that with Reagan. Oh, and Bush. Still, the point stands, as ludicrous as ‘President Trump’ is, shit got serious on November 8th. While most people seem to agree that we can’t wait for the gay or kinky community to be directly attacked by the current administration before we start resisting, none of us is happy to be in this fight, and many of us are wondering how to go the distance.
Enter the legendary Cleve Jones, with the timely release of a TV series and his book titled ‘When We Rise’ to talk with San Francisco’s very own leather Gandalf, Race Bannon, and inspire us with conversation and stories about the gay community has succeeded in standing up for itself and others.
Cleve Jones is a human rights activist, lecturer, and author of "When We Rise: My Life in the Movement," which partly inspired the ABC miniseries of the same name. Mentored by LGBTQ pioneer Harvey Milk, Cleve co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, conceived and founded The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, led the 2009 National March for Equality in Washington D.C., and served on the Advisory Board of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which challenged California’s Proposition 8 in the U.S. Supreme Court. Today he works as an organizer for the hospitality workers’ union UNITE HERE.
Race Bannon has been an organizer, writer, educator, speaker and activist in the LGBT, leather/kink, polyamory and HIV/STI prevention realms since 1973. He’s authored two books, been published extensively, spoken to hundreds of audiences, created the world's largest kink-friendly psychotherapist and medical referral service, was a leader of The DSM Project that led to a beneficial change in the way psychotherapy views BDSM, founded a groundbreaking alternative sexuality publishing company, been an internet radio sex talk show host, received national and local awards, appeared in numerous documentaries, and currently also writes for the Bay Area Reporter. His blog is www.bannon.com.