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Power Exchange Owner Has Gone Full MAGA-Proud Boy

Updated: Oct 12, 2019 09:58
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Image via Yelp, screenshot via Facebook

Tenderloin BDSM and bondage club the Power Exchange has been a San Francisco kink community playspace for more than 20 years. But has learned the club’s owner Michael Powers has now joined up with the Proud Boys, the “western chauvinist” and  “anti-white guilt” organization classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

maga proud

Screenshot: Facebook

We learned this because Powers comes right out and says it on his public Facebook page. So we reached out to Powers to verify all this, and found that Powers does indeed still own the Power Exchange, though now lives in the Las Vegas area and has not set foot in the club in more than a year.

“My posts are very controversial,” Powers tells us. “I guess [people] think if they screenshot this stuff, that it’s going to hurt us. I don’t know what they’re thinking, I don’t know why they bother. I guess they have a lot of free time on their hands.”

Screenshot: Facebook

For those who are not fluent in MAGA-speak, let’s unpack what Powers is saying in saying up there in his Bio. “Infantry veteran” is exactly what it sounds like, referring to Powers’ time with the U.S. Army Infantry. “III%er” refers to an informal militia group primarily concerned with gun rights. The Proud Boys are a pro-Trump fraternal organization known locally for Berkeley rallies that got violent and more recently a planned meet up in Downtown Oakland that would’ve coincided with the Nia Wilson memorial. “Deplorable” is a riff on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 comment that “you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.”

Screenshot: Facebook

Powers says none of these beliefs involves racism, white supremacy, or the alt-right. “In no way will I associate or be affiliated with anybody who is racial, discriminatory, or anything along those lines,” he insists to us. “The guy who is the treasurer of the local [Proud Boys] chapter here, he’s a Jew. And he makes Jewish jokes all the time.”

“If you join the Proud Boys, all you’re asked to believe is that western society is better than other societies. You’re not asked to believe anything else.”

But the Proud Boys are seen as a dangerous threat by much of the Bay Area LGBTQ community, in no small part because their founder Gavin McInnes’ 2014 essay “Transphobia is Perfectly Natural,” which was taken down for being hateful and abusive content.

How bad was the Proud Boys founder’s essay? Judge for yourself. According to the Advocate, McInnes wrote that “We aren’t blind. We see there are no old trannies. They die of drug overdoses and suicide way before they’re 40 and nobody notices because nobody knows them. They are mentally ill gays who need help, and that help doesn’t include being maimed by physicians. These aren’t women trapped in a man’s body. They are nuts trapped in a crazy person’s body.”

McInnes’ posts also include “When is it OK to Hit a Woman?,” “Hey Ladies! Short Hair is Rape,” and “Are Women Lazy?”

The Proud Boys also recently threatened to sue local LGBTQ publication the Bay Area Reporter over columnist Christina DiEdoardo’s commentary column calling them “white supremacists” and “fascists.”

The author of that column is not backing down. “The trans- and homophobic statements of the Proud Boys’ founder, Gavin McInnes, are legion—from claiming that marriage equality was a plot to ‘de-justify Catholicism’ to his assertion that transphobia is ‘perfectly natural’” says DiEdoardo, also a local radical lawyer and anti-Fascist activist, in a statement to “Only the intentionally ignorant or those who are attempting to enable the activities of the Proud Boys, which the Southern Poverty Law Center considers to be a hate group, would grant their claims to the contrary an ounce of credibility.”

Screenshot: Facebook

The most curious aspect is that Powers transitioned to female for a period in the mid to late 2000s. He says this is well-known among the Proud Boys.

“I’m not hiding anything. They know what I do, they know where I’ve been, they know who I am. None of them care,” Powers tells us. “How long do you think I would last if they knew I were queer or trans, and I weren’t welcome and they were Nazis, how long do you think I would last?”

“The only discrimination I’ve felt is from the left, from people that are supposedly on the left.”

Screenshot: Facebook

Powers’ son now manages the day-to-day operations of the Power Exchange, and while his mother runs a similar club in Las Vegas, Powers no longer works at that venue. He thinks sex and politics are unrelated.

“For anybody to be critical because I have a different political opinion than them, is perverse. It’s just perversity,” Powers says. “What’s next, they’re going to say ‘You’re pro-gun, so eff you.’”

Screenshot: Facebook

You’ll notice above that Powers weighed in on the Colin Kaepernick controversy earlier this week, and encourages a boycott of Nike over their politics. But if you own a club in the Bay Area and post a lot of unpopular political opinions, those boycotts can swing both ways.


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Joe Kukura is a two-bit marketing writer who excels at the homoerotic double-entendre. He is training to run a full marathon completely drunk and high, and his work has appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on days when their editors made particularly curious decisions.