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Leather Community Celebrates Designated District At This Year's SF Pride

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- One of San Francisco's most vibrant and unique LBGTQ communities will celebrate Pride this year with its own district.

Last month, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors officially recognized a designated area of SoMa as the "Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District."

The resolution was sponsored by Supervisors Jane Kim and Jeff Sheehy.

The boundaries of the area run from Division to 7th Street, from Howard to Harrison and the area from 6th to 5th from Harrison to Bryant.

The move designed to preserve and protect the area's history.

A ceremonial ribbon cutting was held to mark the occasion outside of the Stud, San Francisco's oldest gay bar located on 9th Street.

It was a special honor for the city's leather and kink community.

"It will allow us to implement strategies to revitalize and encourage leather and LGBT businesses to operate in the area," explained local businessman and activist Bob Goldfarb.

While the area is best known for hosting the annual Folsom Street Fair – which draws hundreds of thousands of attendees every year -- rising rents and a demand for housing have transformed the neighborhood's character.

"There are fewer businesses, fewer bars," said Goldfarb.

"We're looking to preserve, support and bolster living and breathing communities," explained Rachel Ryan, a member of the Leather District Coalition.

The resolution calls on the mayor's office to develop a plan to preserve the area's character.

Included among the ideas area a leather walking tour and commemorative markers honoring community leaders.

"So this isn't just for San Francisco. This is a beacon for the whole world, really," said San Francisco author, Bay Area Reporter columnist and activist Race Bannon. "And when you think there's no one like you, it's important to discover that there are other people who are like you."

"This is where my leather heart and my LGBTQ heart are. This is where my family is. And so that's why this became so important to me," said community member Teena Fultz.

"I'm proud of my town for making the choice to stand up and say that they do value our cultural enclaves," said Ryan.

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