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Gay District discussion 5/20/2016: DC vs NYC- The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Gay District discussion 5/20/2016: DC vs NYC- The good, the bad, and the ugly.

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Ok, maybe the DC/NYC rivalry isn’t quite what Charles Dickens had in mind with this opening line from ‘A Tale of Two Cities’. Maybe the better description of this East Coast grudge is in Billy Shakespeare’s prologue for Romeo & Juliet:

 

“Two households, both alike in dignity,

In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,

From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,

Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.”

 

What does this Shakespeare and Dickens have to do with anything?? Well, it seems something small around town is sparking a “new mutiny” from the not-so-ancient grudge between these two “households”.

 

Have you noticed something new cropping up around DC lately? You see a small black sticker saying “this is not new york’ as you’re riding up a metro escalator. Seems harmless enough right? There are plenty of places in DC with advertisements, stickers, graffiti and more. So what’s the big deal about a sticker?

 

As reported on recently by an area blog, dcist.com reveals that the sticker campaign is run by a relatively new website dubbed “Stuck in DC”. The premised of Stuck in DC is largely poking fun at the metro area in articles such as

  • H STREET GENTRIFIER PROUD TO LIVE AMONG MINORITIES HE FEARS
  • DC’S TERRIBLE TEAM NAMES, RANKED
  • LOCAL LIBERAL SHOCKED TO FIND SELF OUTRAGED WALMART ISN’T BUILDING MORE STORES IN DC

 

Some proud Washingtonians are pretty upset by the jabs at their home; some are even volunteering to go around town and remove all the stickers. This sticker sabotage seems to be the ‘new mutiny’ throwing gasoline on the continuously burning coals of the DC/NYC rivalry.

 

For anyone unfamiliar with the rivalry between NYC and DC you’re probably wondering “So why the grudge match? Do people really take sides on NYC or DC?” And the answer seems to be a resounding ‘Yes’. People can’t seem to help themselves but compare the two cities, and the relative close distance and ease of accessibility by train or bus makes going from one to the other all the easier.

 

How do people compare the cities? There are scads of articles (samples here and here) that discuss things such as the metro vs. subway, cost of living, food & bars, culture, and nightlife. Then there are less than friendly areas of comparisons such as “Who’s Snobbier: New York or D.C.?”  Within LGBT circles there’s also the question of which place is better for gays. It’s interesting to note that both OUT magazine’s travel section and even the New York Times have published articles about DC being the gayest city in America starting back in 2013, but NYC has been known as an almost Mecca-like gay haven in the US for decades.

 

At this week’s Gay District let’s create our own ranking. What do you think about the rivalry, and which town has your vote? Can there be only one, or can we strike a respectful balance of “different but equal” for these East-Coast titans? Come to this week’s Gay District and find out!

 

Gay District meets at The DC Center, located inside the Reeves building at 2000 14th Street NW Washington, DC 20009.  Attendees will need to enter the Reeves building via the “Exit” doors on 14th Street, facing McDonald’s. We encourage attendees to bring their photo ID to gain access inside the building. If you do not have or are unable to present a photo ID, please contact the DC Center at (202) 682-2245.

Wanna take you to a Gay Bar! Gay Bar! Gay Bar!

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“Wanna take you to a Gay Bar! Gay Bar! Gay Bar!” (song by Electric Six)

 

The gay bar has a cornerstone place in our LGBT history (I’m sure you’ve all heard about the Stonewall Riots and the importance that bar has in our civil rights movement), and perhaps in our current queer culture too. Unlike much of rural America, metro area gay, bi, trans, and queer men are not bound to a single LGBT watering hole, but blessed with a plethora of gay focused, owned, and operated spaces ready and willing to receive our patronage.

 

Pick a scene, any scene, and it’s a good bet the DC nightlife has a brick and mortar place that caters to that crowd. Leather and Kink? The Green Lantern and DC Eagle are still serving it up to the more scandalous among us. Twinks and college guys? Town has got you covered, at least when they aren’t hosting Bear Happy Hour.  We can’t forget Bachelor’s Mill and Fireplace’s distinctive space in the DC gay nightlife scene either.  Maybe you want to catch the sportsball game while cruising the locals: Nellie’s brings you both. Number 9 is great for a happy hour after work, and there’s both drag and brunch at Level One underneath Cobalt, Perry’s in AdMo, and (for those adventurers trekking into the wilds of NoVA) there’s Freddy’s Beach Bar. You won’t find brunch at Ziegfeld’s Secrets, but that’s not why you were going there anyway. The metro area is so LGBT enriched that we even have the option of ‘straight gay bars’ such as Black Cat (voted Best Straight Gay Bar 2015) and the Dacha Beer Garden in Shaw.

 

As defined in the article “How Do Non-Gay Bars Become Gay Destinations?”, a ‘straight gay bar’ is one that doesn’t specifically label themselves as a gay bar but are widely frequented by LGBTQ residents. Places can now become gay havens without expressly identifying as a gay bar by intentionally hosting events with large gay followings, such as Mix Tape, Bright Young Things parties, queer burlesque shows, etc. Places can also become gay bars for the night quite unintentionally, as is the intention of The Welcoming Committee’s Guerilla Queer Bar event. The concept is to select a gay-unfriendly or otherwise heavily hetero-centric space, flash mob it with gays on the appointed date, and voila! Instant gay bar. Once we start to overlay the brick and mortar places with the respective events that a bar can host to lure in the gays, we have a very rich matrix of gay places and events that could cater to our every inclination.

 

So with all these places and events to choose from, how does one decide where to go? Get a friend’s advice? Follow the happy hour specials? Create an alcohol-infused social calendar that rotates between all possible bars each month? Outside of our wide-range of options, what’s the situation like for our lesbian, bi, trans and queer sisters? What impact might the blurred line between intentional and unintentional gay bars have on our local LGBT community? Are there any pro’s for the stand-alone small town gay bar that an urban gay bar doesn’t get?

 

Join us at Gay District in the DC Center this Friday, June 19 at 8:30pm as we dish about gay bars.

 

Hyperlinked Sources Include the Following:

Gay District is a DC metro area, donation-based, gay, bi, trans-, queer men’s conversation group. Gay District meets at The DC LGBT Center, located inside the Reeves building at 2000 14th Street NW Washington, DC 20009.  Attendees will need to enter the Reeves building via the “Exit” doors on 14th Street, facing McDonald’s. We encourage attendees to bring their photo ID to gain access inside the building. If you do not have or are unable to present a photo ID, please contact the DC Center at (202) 682-2245.

 

09/05/14: LGBT+What? Your shared identities

 

Last week in the Washington Blade, Carrie Evans, the executive director of Equality Maryland had an op-ed on her organization’s move to support immigration rights in that state’s post-marriage equality life, noting her own experience as an immigrant. And just opposite Evans’s op-ed, Mark Lee wrote one about how LGBT identities are multi-faceted and can’t always be led to march in lock-step on non-gay issues. As he noted:

 

Rather than asserting that being gay should invoke a “plus sign” after one’s identity, it would be more accurate to invert one’s gay identity to a “follow-on” position. As in, “I’m a small business owner and I’m lesbian” or “I’m a feminist and I’m gay.” It would prove more illustrative of evolving self-perceptions in the emerging new world of assimilation in which we’ve begun to live.

 

In DC, we’re lucky to have a diverse LGBT community where it’s common to have a “plus sign” or “follow-on” to our gay identities; we can easily meet other gays and and non-gays who share more than just attraction to men. For me, that means being a political, singing choir boy! What’s your plus sign/follow-on?

 

This week we’ll discuss the other parts of ourselves that create the diverse friendships and communities we are a part of. So if you’re a g(l)eek, gaymer, athlete, singer, political activist, bookworm, fashionista, club kid, or whatever, come out this Friday at 8:30 pm to connect with other guys who may have similar interests and share where the best spots to indulge your passions are!

 

Your facilitator this week, Jay

 

PS-Remember, Gay District meets at The DC Center, located inside the Reeves DC government building. Attendees will need to enter the Reeves building via the “Exit” doors on 14th Street, facing McDonald’s. We encourage attendees to bring their photo ID to gain access inside the building. If you do not have or are unable to present a photo ID, please contact me ahead of time by email or The DC Center’s Executive Director David Mariner.

August 1st – OutWrite Events at The DC Center!

 
August 1st – OutWrite Events: “Speaking of Essex” & “Hold Tight Gently”
 
 
 
This Friday, we will be continuing our Summer Of Fun with an OutWrite Event & Workshop at The DC Center!  “Speaking of Essex: A Tribute To Essex Hemphill” at 6pm will feature friend to Gay District and fellow author Phillip Clark who will be among the panel reading the amazing work of Essex Hemphill. Followed by “Hold Tight Gently: An Evening with Martin Duberman” at 7pm. A profound exploration of the intersection of race, sexuality, class, identity, and the politics of AIDS activism beyond ACT UP, Hold Tight Gently captures both a generation struggling to cope with the deadly disease and the extraordinary refusal of two men to give in to despair.
 
We will be returning to our regularly scheduled facilitated discussions on August 15thThis summer we plan to take advantage of amazing weather, fun opportunities and events!

Gay District Digest: July 11th – Wiffle Ball Game, Volunteer Survey and MORE!

July 11: Gay District Annual Wiffle Ball Game
 

**DON’T MISS THE CHANCE TO SWING YOUR BAT AROUND!!**​

Come join Gay District for some hot fun in the Summer Time — Wiffle Ball! The game will be held at Stead Park near 17th and P St NW at 7:30 pm. We will bring the bats and balls, you bring yourself. If you’ve never played, don’t worry — the game is easy to get the hang of, but hard to be good at. Afterwards, we’ll head over to JR’s for a post-game drink.
Fill out our GD Volunteer Survey! 
 
Please take a few moments to fill out our Gay District Volunteer Survey! This will help us gauge the interest of our members willing to participate in our volunteer efforts in the community and what areas of interest we can focus! Thanks to WW Taylor Monson for putting this together!
July 18th – Reel Affirmations: Double Feature!
Following the Wiffle Ball game on July 11th we’re doing something a little different and a little exciting.  We will NOT be meeting at the DC Center.  Instead, we are taking advantage of an exciting opportunity to see a double feature of gay-themed movies during the DC-based film festival Reel AffirmationsFriday, July 18th is a double feature of the movies Grind and The Ten Year Plan.
 
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In lieu of the discussion, we will be attending the 9:15pm showing of both movies. Tickets are available at the Reel Affirmations site. We encourage getting the VIP ticket which includes 1 drink ticket, 1 popcorn ticket, and VIP seating! Check out the trailer for Grind which is inspired by everyone’s favorite Gay “Social” app.
 
August 1st – OutWrite Events: “Speaking of Essex” & “Hold Tight Gently”

We will be continuing our Summer Of Fun with an OutWrite Event & Workshop at The DC Center on August 1st!  “Speaking of Essex: A Tribute To Essex Hemphill” at 6pm will feature friend to Gay District and fellow author Phillip Clark who will be among the panel reading the amazing work of Essex Hemphill. Followed by “Hold Tight Gently: An Evening with Martin Duberman” at 7pm. A profound exploration of the intersection of race, sexuality, class, identity, and the politics of AIDS activism beyond ACT UP, Hold Tight Gently captures both a generation struggling to cope with the deadly disease and the extraordinary refusal of two men to give in to despair.
We will be returning to our regularly scheduled facilitated discussions on August 15th. This summer we plan to take advantage of amazing weather, fun opportunities and events!