MAY 26, 2023
For years, the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco has been a venue for public debauchery. Billed as “the world’s largest celebration of kink, leather, and alternative sexualities,” it brings together a perverse crowd to browse “exhibitors showcasing their kinky wares and ample live BDSM demonstrations over 13 blocks of historic Folsom Street.” Its current policy allows for public nudity and disallows public sex acts.
But that wasn’t always the case.
In the 2000s (and really up until recently), the Folsom Street Fair was notorious for allowing public sex acts (couples, solo, etc.), urination, and more extreme displays of bondage and fetishes. Nearly everything was allowed on the city street. I won’t go into further details on the acts themselves, but you can view the work of a photojournalist who was there. (Warning – it’s graphic.) And the public was there to see it all.
In fact, until relatively recently, the event’s organizers welcomed children. Even kids in strollers. There were no age restrictions. The event’s executive director commented that he had seen “a thousand doting aunts and uncles, and a kid having the time of his life.” They disclaimed any duty to protect children from witnessing nightmare-inducing lude acts, saying “parents were responsible for determining whether the fair was suitable for kids.”
One 2005 East Bay Times article described the story of “unlikely attendees” to the “kinky leather fetish festival.” Were they referring to celebrities? VIPs? Wrong. It was toddlers:
“Two-year-olds Zola and Veronica Kruschel waddled through the Folsom Street Fair surrounded by strangers in fishnets and leather crotch pouches, semi and fully nude men.”
Two year-old girls “surrounded” by nude men. The author didn’t disclose what those “semi and fully nude men” were doing to/with each other, but I promise you it wasn’t good.
Local children who lived in the area had no choice but to look at the degeneracy in horror. One nearby resident, a 10 year-old boy, had the unfortunate luck of witnessing the Folsom Street Fair since he was 6. He described it as “pretty nasty because a lot of people here are naked.”
Not all participants in the Folsom Street Fair thought it was wise to have children around. The presence of kids was too much for one solo performer:
“‘Why do (these people) bring kids here? This is a leather fair for god’s sake,’ said Bahran Aliassa, who was masturbating in public. He has been doing it annually for the past six years.”
When you’ve lost the public masturbator…
All this leads to an important question: Who let the kids into the venue?
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
According to reporting from 2019, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence had “manned the gates” of the Folsom Street Fair for over 25 years.
1 The group was a familiar sight to visitors: “Longtime attendees of the Folsom Street Fair are used to their first sight at the annual leather and fetish jamboree being the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, working the gates.” Photographic evidence proves their words to be true.
As the group in charge of the gates, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence welcomed the toddlers, the 10 year-olds, the babies in strollers – many of whom would be subjected to men having oral sex.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence allowed entry for thousands of children who would be forced to watch grown men masturbate in public.
Then there were the vendors that targeted children. In 2009, the Folsom Street Fair allowed for vendors that sold bondage gear for children. You can see an example of the display here and here. According to one now-defunct San Francisco blog:
The booth was for a company called “Fetish Tots,” which makes custom leather fetish gear for kids. Their slogan is “Kinky couture for little people.” They had some little-kid-sized mannequins in baby blue and girly pink leather hoods, gas masks, and, of course, pacifier ball gags.
That year, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were there at the gates, as usual, taking the entrance fees (some of which would go back into its pockets) so participants – some of whom were undoubtedly children – could take a look at fetish gear for 3 year-olds.
And on June 16, the Los Angeles Dodgers will honor the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence with the Community Hero Award and “stand in solidarity with them at Pride Night.”
From Los Angeles Dodgers Twitter account, @Dodgers – May 22
“After much thoughtful feedback from our diverse communities, honest conversations within the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and generous discussions with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence the Los Angeles Dodgers would like to offer our sincerest apologies to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, members of the LGBTQ+ community and their friends and families.
We have asked the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to take their place on the field at our 10th annual LGBTQ+ Pride Night on June 16th. We are pleased to share that they have agreed to receive the gratitude of our collective communities for the lifesaving work that they have done tirelessly for decades.
In the weeks ahead, we will continue to work with our LGBTQ+ partners to better educate ourselves find ways to strengthen the ties that bind and use our platform to support all of our fans who make up the diversity to the Dodgers family.”
We’ve reached out to two individuals with the Dodgers press office for comment via email. They haven’t responded.