American police adopted a distinctly relaxed approach to this year’s Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco, taking little notice of the hundreds of men baring their genitals on every street corner.
Orgies of men fellating and fondling each other in the street provoked laughs and photographs from curious onlookers but no police action, according to reports.
Two reporters for Americans for Truth about Homosexuality documented prevalently older men walking down the street completely naked, men masturbating in public with groups of visitors watching them, men and women beating each other with whips, women walking around with their breast exposed and a large smattering of gay and straight master-slave couples.
One police officer admitted to the pair that public indecency laws were “apparently” not being enforced, and stressed that anyone coming to the Folsom fair would be expecting to come face to face with that kind of activity.
The fair – which celebrates sadomasochism – has been running since 1984, and is now California’s third largest spectator event. City officials and event organisers have had a
good relationship throughout that time, with political observers praising the organisers’ sense of community and volunteer support.
This year’s event was marred by controversy over a promotional poster, however.
It featured a version of Da Vinci’s Last Supper with Jesus and his disciples replaced by fetishists and sex toys on the table.
Following concerted lobbying by the conservative Concerned Women for America, Miller Brewing, one of the events sponsors, called for its logo to be removed from the poster.
“While Miller has supported the Folsom Street Fair for several years, we take exception to the poster the organising committee developed this year,” the company said.
“We understand some individuals may find the imagery offensive and we have asked the organisers to remove our logo from the poster effective immediately.”
Conservative protestors called on California’s House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to do something about the promotional material, but she refused to do so.
As part of her September 28th morning press conference, Ms Pelosi, a Catholic, said: “It’s a cconstitutional question. It’s a religious question. It’s about as global a question as you could ask.
“I’m a big believer in the First Amendment. I do not believe Christianity has been harmed by the Folsom Street Fair.”
The fair draws around 40,000 annual visitors.