Pride in Places

I was in charge of curating Q.Digital's 2022 Pride in Places series for their travel vertical GayCities (and republished in Queerty). I found 12 vital queer spaces for advancing equality around the globe, interviewing their owners, and telling their colorful stories of resilience.  

Pride in Places: An LGBTQ+ nightclub built in Orlando to celebrate life became the scene of the second largest mass shooting in modern American history

Barbara Poma opened Pulse with her husband in 2004 to honor her late brother John who passed from AIDS in 1991. It was a business proposal pitched to them by their best friend at the time, whose dream was to open an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Orlando. Poma saw it as an opportunity to pay tribute to a community she grew up in, choosing the name “Pulse” to remember her brother’s heart that kept beating through her acts of love and service. Orlando’s queer community found their own beat within the nightc

Pride in Places: How two women turned a century-old stag bar into an inclusive hangout

Melanie’s at Griffith’s Tavern doesn’t claim to be any better than other bars in its Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore. But, perhaps, that is because it expects patrons to walk in with the same attitude. This is thanks to its new owners, Hannah Spangler and Allison Crowley, who bought and partially renamed the place two months ago. Before their purchase, Griffith’s Tavern was a neighborhood dive bar for nearly 100 years, catering primarily to straight men. It was a space where guys could sip

Pride in Places: How the AIDS Memorial Quilt found a permanent home in San Francisco

At the height of the AIDS epidemic, countless Americans who lost friends and family had no way to remember or honor them. Their collective grief couldn’t find closure. Kevin Herglotz, Chief Operating Officer of San Francisco’s National AIDS Memorial, tells GayCities that nothing was being done when thousands were dying across America (and the world). “There was no place to go, no place to heal. People didn’t know what to do, but they had all this loss, all this heartbreak. The community needed

Pride in Places: How this bookstore launched an entire Spanish gayborhood

Berkana was launched at the heart of the Chueca neighborhood in Madrid, becoming Spain’s first bookstore to specialize in gay and lesbian titles. Founder Mili Hernandez said she was inspired by the likes of the most famous queer bookstores around the globe. Her pursuit of creating a haven for literature in 1993 was a reaction to her country’s oppressive right-wing Catholic culture. “Going to England [London] and the United States [New York] was like being born again,” Hernandez told Report for

Pride in Places: New York’s Stonewall Inn continues to honor the shoulders its history stands on

The Supreme Court’s current overturning of Roe vs. Wade is a worst-case example of equality’s fragility. Lentz echoes that younger folks must be reminded that rights could be taken away without warning. “I would argue that the political stage has been set just for this moment, and we will see rights taken away from marginalized communities starting with women and going from there, so they need to get inspired by learning about their history.” Following the spirit of honoring the shoulders our c

Pride in Places: The world’s oldest gay bar flourishes in Amsterdam

In 1927, Bet van Beeren might have been one of the only openly gay women operating an openly gay friendly bar worldwide. She founded Cafe ‘t Mandje in Amsterdam during a time when being queer was illegal. Businesses were encouraged to discriminate against marginalized groups. To own one was practically impossible. But most people were also not like Bet, the eldest daughter of fourteen children. She acted as a brave advocate and pioneer of tolerance and human rights and became a legend in her co

Pride in Places: How the world’s oldest living drag performer helped create gay Portland

Portland‘s Darcelle XV Showplace embraces an “improvised, low-budget, and self-reliant illusion of glamour” reminiscent of the 60s. Long before Stonewall’s drag queens made headlines by rioting in the streets, and brought LGBTQ rights into the national conversation, this nightclub gave Portland’s queer performers a place to express themselves and entertain their adoring fans freely. The upbeat club’s owner Walter Cole has performed at the bar as Darcelle XV since he founded the venue. At 92 ye

Pride and Places: New Orleans City Council honors 32 queer lives lost in 1973 arson

Late on a summer evening, looking for an outlet from a world that loudly refused to accept them, the victims of the Upstairs Lounge Arson had no idea their night out would turn into anything other than a moment of social escapism. During that era, they entered that gay bar knowing full well the dangers of publicly identifying oneself as queer. Sadly, on June 24, 1973, their bravery would cost their lives. Above the Jimani, a sports bar that remains, the Upstairs Lounge served as the popular han

Pride in Places: How this private club became Mexico’s home for identity and fantasy

Despite becoming a cultural hub of drag and transness in Mexico City, Club Roshell retains its original mystique. Founder Roshell Terranova knew balancing the club’s increased notoriety with privacy was pivotal for the safety of all her guests. In a machismo country where exploring your identity can get you killed, there is still no other place like it. When the transgender actress and activist started Club Roshell in 2004, she sought to create a space that celebrated tranvestismo (transvestism

Pride in Places: How this gay bar remained a nightlife staple in Provincetown’s history

Provincetown‘s Atlantic House is one of those rare American establishments that’s as old as the block it’s located on. Nestled at the center of Masonic Place, locals and tourists alike regularly flock to “A-House,” which competes as a contender for the oldest gay bar in the United States (if you count the time it was in the closet). In true gay fashion, the venue started out as a straight tavern. Ptown’s first Postmaster, Daniel Pease, built and operated it in 1834 under an unknown name. A-Hou

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