If Dore Alley is the new Folsom Street Fair, very few things about loving my gays are truly edgy or underground anymore.
Once upon a time, only the nerviest fag hagA female, typically straight, who prefers the company of gay men. Also, Fruit Fly, QueerGay. Can be used interchangeably as a term of pride or as a derogatory term, depending on context. A term intentionally and politically reclaimed by some, in protest of the term’s historical use as a slur. Dear, HomosocialiteA fag hag who particularly enjoys the company of A-Gays, and who travels comfortably in their highly exclusive scene., HomosociologistA fag hag who appreciates and actively participates in a wide range of gay subcultures, and who takes particular pride in being accepted as one of the gays in settings that typically include no women or straight persons., GoldilocksA fag hag who enjoys the company of bears. would make an appearance at Dore. But these days, with the Folsom Street Fair turning SOMA into an S&M amusement park for tourists, Dore Alley is no longer something the curious would visit only on a dare.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, right? This is what progress and acceptance look like, and as a gay activist of a certain age (I’m celebrating my 40th at the San Diego Zoo Party this year – and what!), I have no room to complain.
But still, enjoying Dore Alley brings with it a soul-searching struggle. Getting to be “the only girl in the world” has always been my reason for living, but now those places are few and far between. Is this my gay midlife crisis?
It crushes me when boys half my age balk at buying tickets for circuit parties, preferring instead to hang at bars – gay or straight – where the drinks are cheap and the “headlining” DJs merely provide background music. And I get cranky when huge circuit parties with even huger price tags don’t give some portion of the ticket price back to the community, which is what Folsom Street Events still does best. There’s an aging gay man inside me screaming, “Back in my day…we saved lives under the disco ball!”
But I wouldn’t be gay if I didn’t take a stand and learn how to adapt, which is why you’ll find me applying temporary tattoos and preaching the gospel of “being bad and doing good” at Up Your Alley, working a booth for REAL BAD, a 23-year-old party that closes the Folsom Street Fair each year, and that has donated over $1.25 million to community beneficiary organizations (www.realbad.org).
It’s philanthropic events like REAL BAD, the San Diego Pride Parties (producer Bill Hardt has donated over $450K to LGBT charities since 1997), and Nasty, my “filthy fun-raiser” on first Fridays at The Powerhouse, that provide the old-school inspiration behind my Love My Gays mouthpiece.
I call it “partying with purpose,” and whether you do it in leatherLeather culture is found in all lifestyles, but among gay men it refers to practices and styles of dress organized around hedonism and eroticism ("kink"). One way this culture consciously distinguishes itself from mainstream sexual cultures is through a specifically homoerotic aesthetic that draws from post-World War II biker culture as well as military and police uniform. Leathermen art, such as Tom of Finland, represents the hypermasculine ideal. Literature like The Leatherman’s Handbook speaks to the culture and the code. The International Mister Leather organization speaks to the community., dressed as a zookeeper, or even as a girl trying to run the (gay) world, please do it often, and when you do, BRING IT!