What are the DEFENDERS?
DEFENDERS clubs are membership associations of gays and lesbians focused on integrating their interest in the leather/levi community with their spiritual interest in the Christian/Catholic tradition. Currently five local clubs are chartered (Chicago, Columbus/Dayton, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.)
What is the relationship with Dignity?
DEFENDERS clubs are chartered by Dignity/USA (an organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics and their friends) as an outreach to the leather/levi community. Clubs must be approved by both the local Dignity chapter and Dignity's national Board of Directors. Liaisons are established between a DEFENDERS chapter and the local Dignity chapter, and with the national DignityUSA Board of Directors.
Why is there a DEFENDERS club in San Francisco?
The San Francisco Bay Area has one of the largest leather/levi communities in the world. Many people in this community have a strong Catholic/Christian spiritual background. This combination provides the basis of support for the DEFENDERS. The San Francisco chapter of the DEFENDERS was chartered in January 1994.
What kind of activities does the group have?
Activities fall into four general areas:
Business meetings: Held monthly in San Francisco.
Service/fund raising events: Participation within the gay/lesbian and leather/levi communities providing direct service and financial support to charitable organizations.
Spiritual activities: Opportunities to explore the integration of spiritual and sexual identities, including discussions at monthly meetiigs and an annual retreat.
Social: To have fun together through outings, dinners and other get togethers!
How are the DEFENDERS involved in the local leather community?
DEFENDERS/San Francisco is a member of the Leather Alliance. The chapter participates in major leather events in addition to supporting activities of the other leather and motorcycle clubs, and to supporting organizations such as the AIDS Emergency Fund and Positive Resouce Center. Members of the DEFENERS hold leadership positions in many other organizations.
Does a person have to be a member of Dignity to join the DEFENDERS?
Members of the DEFENDERS are not required to join Dignity nor to be Catholic. The club has members from a variety of Christian traditions. DEFENDERS/San Francisco does require that at least 50% of its membership also be members of Dignity.
How does someone become a member?
The DEFENDERS/San Francisco has a formal membership program. People who are interested in becoming Members must first participate in the Novice program. Each Novice is assigned a Sponsor to help introduce the candidate to the group. The interested person must attend at least three DEFENDERS activities, be approved for membership, and attend an initiation ceremony. The DEFENDERS/San Francisco does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, or marital status.
What kind of involvement or participation is required for members?
Members are expected to be actively involved in the organization. They are expected to participate in at least two business meetings and two service activities each calendar year to maintain active status. In addition, each active member must serve on a committee or oversee an activity of the chapter.
What about people who are interested, but cannot meet these requirements?
Associate status is available for individuals who are committed to the organization, but who cannot be actively involved due to time commitments or travel distance. An Associate must complete the novice program, and be approved by the chapter. Associates may attend all activities, but do not have voting rights.
What about being involved with other clubs or organizations?
DEFENDERS/San Francisco encourages members to active participate in other clubs and organizations, so long as the commitments to the DEFENDERS are honored.
Does the DEFENDERS assess dues?
The DEFENDERS/San Francisco requires dues to cover basic operational costs. Annual dues are currently $70.00 for Members and $40.00 for Associates, which includes $5.00 to support DEFENDERS nationally. There is an initiation fee of $50.00.
To contact the DEFENDERS/San Francisco
Web Page: www.sfdefenders.org
E-mail: Marc Fuentes, President
Mail: P. O. Box 14564
18th Street Station
San Francisco, CA 94114-0564