There is not enough nice things you can say about the incredible varieties of sexual diversity in San Francisco.
I think as Bay Area folk it’s easy to take it for granted. But all the same I find endless reasons to be grateful.
It was my first year in San Francisco when my girlfriend and I were fortunate enough to live with a queer punk surfer artist with a penchant for boiling her sex toys in the mornings and painting naked in the afternoons, when I realized this city would introduce me to people, things, and experiences that were beyond anything I had ever known. In her esteemed company, I remember attending a party in a 7th story apartment whose roof was lost somewhere in the fog of downtown.
Among other things, it was a drag party and she made me a patchwork dress to wear and found me some nicely-fitting ladies underwear.
Well, I said, why not? I’ve never done that before. (Oh wait, yes I had but only in the privacy of my own adolescent bedroom.)
I was drinking whiskey out of a flask and talking to some butch bikers in blue leather about my experiences in Catholic School.
The party was attended by artists, educators, sex workers, outreach coordinators and many people who had travelled to Africa. I vaguely remember the owner of the place was a high-priced call girl, or so someone claimed. When I saw her, I thought she was a perfect marriage of femininity, masculinity and something altogether undefinable.
The floors were old, polished wood and the windows looked out into the alleys off Market St. Books, flowers, vases and erotic art objects were scattered everywhere.
A woman I vaguely recognized stood in the corner wearing some kind of jaw-dropping fishnet blouse.
“Who’s that?” I asked my roommate.
“That’s Carol Queen! She’s amazing.”
Indeed Carol Queen is amazing, and I’m thinking of her now because, after years of not getting around to it, I just finished reading her groundbreaking erotic novel, The Leather Daddy And The Femme.
Even though I love writing about sex, I usually don’t respond too enthusiastically to erotic novels because I think sex is much more than just titillation.
But this book is steeped in a rigorous and subversive San Francisco queer philosophy as it imagines the crossed erotic paths of girls in drag who love gay men and leather men who occasionally experiment with queer women.
Not to mention transgendered call girls who love boys dressed like women.
It’s an unusual, exhilarating and very graphic homage to the San Francisco leather days of old, as well a celebration of the still-heroically perverse San Francisco of today.
And it’s a damn hot read too.
Carol Queen is a multi-faceted pioneer in the sexual landscape of San Francisco (and the world for that matter) and if you haven’t already checked it out, you should explore the many events and readings organized by her non-profit, The Center For Sex And Culture.