Kinky Festival Goers Flood The Streets Despite Monkeypox Warning

San Francisco hosted a Sunday fetish festival popular among gay men despite growing concerns about the spread of monkeypox and the city’s declaration of a health emergency days ahead of the event.

The Up Your Alley festival is “usually described as a bit kinkier/nastier, more-gay male-centric” than other fetish festivals in San Francisco. The event draws thousands each year, with the festival website encouraging attendees to “wear your gear, your leather, or your birthday suit” while keeping “an open mind.”

“San Francisco showed during COVID that early action is essential for protecting public health,” Democratic Mayor London Breed said when she declared monkeypox a health emergency on July 28.

Despite Breed’s emphasis on taking “early action” to combat a health emergency, the well-attended kink festival still went on as planned.

Other promotional materials for Up Your Alley encouraged prospective attendees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The materials made no mention of the monkeypox vaccination or altering one’s habits to mitigate the risk of transmission.

Gay and bisexual men account for the overwhelming majority of monkeypox cases observed in the U.S. so far.

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