This time last year, we were celebrating a historic Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. This year, we are in the midst of mourning a historic hate crime—one of the largest in modern U.S. times and an act of terrorism against the LGBT community that happens to dovetail with Pride.
That’s to say: 2016 Pride is an especially important one. Because there are a number of Americans openly celebrating the death of 49 innocent queer people of color. Because there are parades, like this weekend’s in Houston, that are receiving death threats over social media. Because anyone who thought for a moment that “gay equality” was now a thing can look around and see the different shades of hate so clearly. And because not going out and celebrating is exactly what homophobes across the world want you to do.
So this month, live boldly. Party for all the progress that’s been fought for and all that’s to come. Call your LGBT friends and say you love them (after you’ve called your representatives about certain policies). Then have one of these gloriously gay American experiences that folks of any persuasion can enjoy.
Many New Yorkers and travelers have been paying homage to Manhattan’s Stonewall Inn, where over 1,000 rioters in 1969 inspired Americans across the country to fight for their rights. Go on a Sunday afternoon and walk a few blocks to Duplex, an old-school spot on Christopher Street where a friendly pianoman belts out campy classics. Once you’ve had your fill of showtunes, load up on blended mojitos at the Rusty Knot, a nautical themed bar that hosts an afternoon gay DJ party every Sunday.
An Old-School Drag Performance
We’re crossing our fingers tight that Aunt Charlie’s, a legendary hole-in-the-wall drag bar, doesn’t succumb to the same fate that so many dive bars in San Francisco have now that rents are through the roof. Visiting this spot is a bit like stepping back to the ’80s and not just because of all the mirrors lining the walls. No phones are allowed out of your pocket once you’re inside.
An All-Folks-Welcome Neighborhood Party
Austin’s Cheer Up Charlie’s—a downtown bar with fun kombucha cocktails named after a not-fun song from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory—is a rare, gay-straight-who-cares watering hole that feels a bit like a house party. The space hosts concerts most weekends and has a vegan food truck out back that even carnivores can appreciate.
While You’re Up in the Air
A season of Aussie import Please Like Me, often touted as the gay Australian Girls, is now streaming on Delta flights. It centers around Josh, a charmingly neurotic, well-meaning, recently-out twentysomething in Melbourne. It’s a heavy dose of wildly dark Aussie humor and easy to binge on a transcon journey (as this writer did over the last week).
© 2016 AFAR Media