San Francisco has got its handlebar mustache in a twist over a 30-year ban on gay bathhouses that really isn’t a ban at all. The city hasn’t had any legal bathhouses since 1984 when, according to the Bay Area Reporter:
a San Francisco Superior Court judge issued an injunction forcing several bathhouse owners to remove doors from private rooms and have staff monitor patrons to ensure they were practicing safe sex. The order was to remain in place until the city’s public health director declared the AIDS epidemic over. Virtually all of the clubs closed rather than comply with the rules…
But there’s actually nothing on the books that says bathhouses are banned. Eros, a sex club that’s been offering its valued services in the city’s gay(est) district, the Castro, for 21 years recently learned that its sauna qualifies the club as a bathhouse, requiring them to obtain a permit.
Under the permit, however, they would have to comply with the minimum standards — monitors and all — that is, unless the health department revises these standards. The department just released this handy-dandy FAQ about bathhouses, sex clubs and other commercial sex venues in anticipation of a public forum. How frequent any of these questions were asked, however, is up for debate, but we’ll open this up to our own public forum.
What say you, Queerty readers, should San Francisco revise its policies on bathhouses?