Cities around the country and globe have seen many of their most beloved gay and lesbian watering holes close down — often after the area's queer population disperses or the owner simply gets priced out. While many of these bars and clubs were a bit rough around the edges, they nonetheless served as de facto community centers, offering a kind of glue that kept our disparate minority together. In this second entry of an occasional series, we'll pay honor to dearly departed LGBT establishments that recently shut their doors in Washington, D. Opening under the name Badlands in , this club finally and abruptly folded in , citing economic difficulties, thereby ending the reign of the longest-running gay dance club in D.
In Memoriam: 17 Defunct Gay Bars in D.C., Chicago, Miami
Tracks — gay nightlife staple of ‘80s/’90s — remembered fondly
The planning and organizing has taken on all the earnestness and care of a high school or college reunion. But in a series of events scheduled for this weekend at three D. Patrick Little, a Tracks bartender and manager and one of the lead organizers of the reunion, said percent of the proceeds for the reunion will go to seven non-profit charitable groups, including Whitman-Walker Health, the House of Ruth shelter for homeless women, the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League SMYAL and the Mautner Project for lesbians with cancer and other serious illnesses. Denver-based businessman Marty Chernoff, founder and owner of Tracks, has been credited with bringing to D.
At the Club: Locating Early Black Gay AIDS Activism in Washington, D.C.
Numerous studies have focused on the national and even global impact of AIDS, paying attention to the cultural politics that has undergirded the uneven distribution of care and state resources. Fewer have directed attention to the local political responses that have also shaped how the virus is understood in particular cultural communities. When many black male members of the DC black gay nightclub the ClubHouse became mysteriously ill in the early s, club and community members responded. This essay only begins to approach these questions by considering the critical role that the ClubHouse played in early AIDS activism directed toward black gay Washingtonians.
LGBT establishments—bars, bookshops, clubs, and other local businesses—were key to publicly representing marginalized people in the 20th century. In these safe spaces, members of the LGBT community could meet, form relationships, strengthen their identity, and advocate for their right to exist freely. Today, it is difficult to navigate the history of these historic spaces; the history of most LGBT establishments has been passed down orally within the community itself, and were never written down or recorded. Today, groups like the Rainbow History Project and individuals like Ty Ginter, a graduate student studying historic preservation at the University of Maryland: College Park, are working to preserve the history of these once-thriving businesses and the communities they represented.