Apparently, we had two major Covid19 gay victims in Washington DC. Notice we say apparently. If we dig just a little we find that the story is different.
Surviving the pandemic
As we all know, the economy devastation caused by the pandemic is as terrible as the lost of human lives. Countless small business will not survive the freeze caused by the lock down, combined with the need to invest in redesigning their venues for the new normal coming after.
Although there will be Covid19 Gay Victims in the economy, I see no reason to think that gay business are going to suffer more than others. Actually, even before the pandemic, a decline in the number of venues devoted for a gay clientele was already in place. I ignore whether or not this has been researched, but I think such a decline is unavoidable, considering LGBTQ people level of integration into the mainstream society.
These last days we have unfortunate news. Two power houses of DC gay night life and culture have announced officials their closure. And of course, the voice in the street is that they are COVID19 Gay Victims. I guess it is more dramatic to see them as casualties of the tsunami triggered by the international quarantine.
However, it looks like the pandemic can only be blamed for speeding up processes that were already in place. Processes started even before the birth of the bat that originally passed the virus to the first human in Wuhan.
COVID19 GAY VICTIMS IN LEATHER
The closure that I feel the most is The DC Eagle. The bar is closing after 48 years of existence, and I was specially happy when they moved to their last location. It is just few blocks from my place.
Originally a place devoted to the S/M and Leather Gay sub cultures, the bar expanded its role in the community after moving to Benning Rd. The new building was, actually, too big to serve only the small local Tom of Finland characters copy cats.
In their new and roomy Benning Rd location, the small leather bar became a mega hub for many urban tribes. The facilities were able to host 3 to 4 different events simultaneously, and it was fun to observe different LGBTQ zoo specimens living together.
Despite street rumor blaming the pandemic, I suggest to read this report in Metro Weekly. I will miss The DC Eagle a lot. The next Black Pride or the next MAL weekend will not be the same with this historic local venue.
Additionally, Benning Rd smells like Karma. Community businesses and neighborhood associations had actively opposed the establishing of a gay bar in the area. Now, they are even unhappy. The night club will be replaced by a 300 beds Halfway House facility.
NO MORE SECRETS
The second of our COVID19 Gay Victims of the Day is Secrets/Siegfield. The club vanishes after a 40 years tenure, almost as impressive as The DC Eagle.
Although we were not fans of the place, it is sad to lose a source of work for so many local adult entertainers. Secrets was the only venue fully devoted to male strippers in DC. After its closure, all we have left are special nights using venues that the rest of the week are straight, or a regular conventional gay bar.
The hit taken by the local drag queens community is specially devastating. Both clubs, The DC Eagle and Ziegfields were major hubs for their subculture. They will need to find new shelters for after the lock down.
As with the leather bar, street voice is also blaming the bad news on the quarantine. Nevertheless, it looks that the only thing COVID19 took for us is the goodbye party. Read this report, also published by Metro Weekly, to learn more about.
No, there are no COVID19 Gay Victims.
Hasta la próxima pinga, amig@s!