By Nicholas Pope
San Francisco hosted a Sunday fetish festival popular with gay men despite concerns about the spread of monkeypox and the city’s declaration of a health emergency days before.
The Up Your Alley festival is “usually described as a bit kinkier/nastier, more gay male centric” than other similar leather, kink and fetish festivals in San Francisco, according to an online guide to the weekend. The event draws thousands of revelers each year, with the host organization encouraging its attendees to “wear your gear, your leather, or your birthday suit” while keeping “an open mind” on its website.
Despite Breed’s emphasis on taking “early action” to combat a health emergency, the well-attended kink festival still went on as planned July 31. Gay and bisexual men account for the overwhelming majority of monkeypox cases observed in the U.S. so far.
Other promotional materials for Up Your Alley implored prospective attendees to make sure they are as vaccinated as possible against COVID-19. The materials do not appear to mention monkeypox vaccination, nor do they mention altering one’s habits to mitigate the risk of transmission. (RELATED: ‘Schlong COVID’: Tucker Asks Viewers For Best Alternative Names For Monkeypox)
Our Executive Director Bob Goldfarb shares his thoughts in the @eBARnews on the return of the Up Your Alley Fair and the District’s role in making SOMA more vital and vibrant in a time of COVID and monkeypox. https://t.co/0i76l8b01D
— LEATHER & LGBTQ Cultural District (@SFLeatherDist) July 28, 2022
The city’s decision to allow the event to proceed stands in contrast to its reaction to the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020. The city quickly shuttered most businesses, a strategy which it subsequently used several times as transmission ebbed and flowed.
For several months, the city also prevented people from visiting hospitalized family members, citing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Many families were never able to visit loved ones in the hospital until the city issued new guidance in May 2020 allowing one visitor in a patient’s room per day. Other restrictions included the prolonged closure of schools and limitations on outdoor recreation. The city still lags behind in recovering from Covid-19 and the ramifications of its response to the pandemic relative to other cities, a recent CNBC analysis found. (RELATED: WHO Urges Gay Men To Cut Back On Number Of Sexual Partners To Avoid Monkeypox)
The City of San Francisco did not respond to the Daily Caller’s requests for comment regarding its rationale for allowing the festival to proceed despite Mayor Breed’s declaration of monkeypox as a public health emergency.