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Trait d’Union: Are We There Yet?

Greetings on San Francisco Pride week 2014.   This year’s theme, “Color our World with Pride,” is an invitation to reach out further to other cultures, other lifestyles, other nations. Visibility brings acceptance. That is why in 1986 I marched in the first Leather contingent in what we then called Gay Pride. And look!  Now San Francisco is ready for the biggest LGBTQ Pride parade tomorrow.

Honoring what we, humans, all have in common: hunger for freedom of self expression, including our sexuality, is the link (trait d’union) that allows the old walls of Judeo-Christian patriarchy to crumble and make room for acceptance of diversity.

Let me explain: lately I have been on a fast-moving train, from body mod/suspension/ritual events in Dallas, a piercing conference in Vegas, educational flogging shoot for KinkUniversity and the screening of “Folsom Forever,” a docu-film I have the great honor to be part of.

"Folsom Forever" Director & Cast at  the Victoria Theater

“Folsom Forever” Director & Cast at the Victoria Theater

The Victoria Theatre was packed with old friends and fresh faces, all soaking in the story of  our community through the lenses of the Folsom Street Fair.  It is not lost on me that the Frameline screening of Mike Skiff’s “Folsom Forever” was the same day as the first Folsom Street Fair East in New York City.

What unites us all is that we live in a body that has its needs for embellishment, pleasure and connection.  If you have not seen the recent movie “Her” give it an evening of your precious time.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook know that I recently returned from the APP– Association of Professional BodyPiercers- annual teaching convention. 1000 people from all over the USA, South America and Europe gathered, all involved in “the industry”. A very live industry it is; new designs, new jewelry, amazing selection of adornments for stretched piercings, now called gauges, and new gear for safe body suspensions abound.

Gauges Galore! Photo by Cléo Dubois

Gauges Galore! Photo by Cléo Dubois

To sit in the packed conference room at the Ballys and hear the modest beginning of Body Piercing by Fakir’s fellow pioneer, openly gay and happily married Jim Ward, was an eye opener for the captivated audience.  I am always delighted when young folks want to know the roots of their passions and have respect for those who paved the way.

Jim Ward & Fakir Photo Cléo Dubois

Jim Ward & Fakir Photo Cléo Dubois

APP this year was special; acceptance of diversity was everywhere!  People were themselves, gay, queer, kinky, gender fluid, het, bi and  all into piercing .  Several men attended the formal banquet in sexy hot dresses.  Now, that was something I had not seen before!

I may not like some of the extreme facial implants or huge labrets I saw at APP, but to each their own.  As kinky as I am, I do not enjoy all fetishes, however I do support your right to experiment with what feels good to you, consensually of course!

Just as those hooked on suspension were in Dallas, BDSM is no longer hidden, information of all sorts is readily available, and Folsom Street Fair is not just for Leathermen.  This huge community fund-raising celebration still takes place where once there was a mile of leather bars, bathhouses and SM palaces. It is vital we gather in broad daylight in the streets, highly visible and proud of it. I never miss it!

So will I see you Sunday at the Parade?  Or September 21st on Folsom, where leather and fetish players from all over the world converge.

In kink with heart,

Cléo Dubois

Need a guide to help you navigate your kinky lifestyle?  I’d love to coach or mentor you and your partner(s)!  Visit or privately at  

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