For a small city and a mountain town at that, Durango has an increasingly impressive LGBT scene. As American society makes hesitant strides toward mainstream acceptance of queer culture (hello, Caitlyn Jenner), Durango has followed suit. This June marks the Durango Pride Festival’s seventh year; the more LGBT events on people’s radar, the more visibility and understanding the community will garner.
But it’s not only about events. Feeling at home inside the comfort of your own four walls is important – yet having a public place to go where you can regularly hob-nob with like-minded people is also necessary. For many LGBT individuals, normal bars aren’t havens. Although our country’s laws have changed to welcome gay marriage, not everyone’s attitudes have magically transformed. There are plenty of homophobes still at large, and running into them on a night out with friends is hardly ideal. Plenty of people would prefer to have their own safe space, and gay bars fit that bill. It’s always preferable to mix and mingle with your own type, hence the invention of sports bars, bars for live music, dive bars, dance clubs, whatever. Fort Lewis College students in the infant stages of coming out or exploring their sexuality would have a distinct locale to visit and get an idea of what the lifestyle is all about.
Maybe you want to use a gender-neutral bathroom. Maybe you want to listen to Whitney, Rihanna or Katy Perry belt out their best dance-friendly hits. Maybe you want to hit on someone without having to question their sexual intentions first. Maybe you want to go to a place where the men are well-dressed, nice-smelling and impressive on the dance floor. Not to mention, gay bars are a place where women can theoretically escape the male gaze and let loose without the imminent threat of having to flirt or fend off admirers. Ultimately, everyone could benefit from a little environment that casts off the repressive gender and sexuality norms we’re all so accustomed to. And just think about what it will do for our progressive street cred!