We tend to think of California as being pretty liberal when it comes to perceptions of social culture.
Which is why San Francisco resident Robert Haynes was shocked when his request for a vanity license plate for his motorcycle that would read “LTHR DDY” (shorthand for ‘leather daddy’) was rejected by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
According to The Bay Area Reporter, the rejection letter Haynes received from the DMV referred to the phrase’s “sexual connotation” and that some might read it as “a term of lust or depravity.”
“I understood when I submitted this the term could be controversial, but for it to be a lustful or depraved reference is missing the scope of leather culture,” Haynes told the Bay Area Reporter. “And it is kind of endemic of how people take leather culture from the outside and immediately relate it to sexual as being exclusive to the entire lifestyle.”
Haynes went to the state senator who represents San Francisco, Scott Wiener, with his plight.
Wiener reportedly fired off a letter to the DMV denouncing the language used in the rejection and demanded Haynes’ vanity plate be approved.
"I was really floored that a California agency would boil the whole concept of leather daddy down to depravity or lust," said Wiener. "Being part of the leather community is about so much more than sexuality. It is about diversity, freedom, and people being who they are."
Mind you, just last week the city of San Francisco approved a new park that will commemorate the leather community.
And each year thousands flock to the city for the annual Folsom Street Fair, which celebrates the leather and BDSM communities.
In a letter to former acting DMV Director Bill Davidson, Wiener highlighted the many facets of the LGBTQ community which has always been a voice for “individual self-expression and diversity.”
The DMV has informed the state senator they have received his letter and are “in the process of drafting a reply at this time.”
For his part, Haynes has refused to cash the $50 refund check he received from the DMV, and hopes the plate arrives in time for this year’s AIDS/LifeCycle ride in June.
Haynes has taken part in the annual San Francisco AIDS Foundation/Los Angeles LGBT Center charity event six times, and will participate for the second time as part of the Moto Safety crew that protects and assists the bicyclists.