77° San Marcos
The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

San Marcos needs a new center of LGBTQ+ culture

Illustration by Sarah Manning

LGBTQ+ bars and nightclubs, such as the original Stonewall Inn in New York City, play an essential role in the queer community. These spaces act as a haven for individuals who identify as a part of the community.

San Marcos was robbed of the only center for queer culture when Stonewall Warehouse, named after the original Stonewall, closed without warning on Jan. 1. 

This loss was a travesty for the employees and the wider LGBTQ+ community in San Marcos. Establishments such as Stonewall Warehouse strengthen and nourish the queer community, and San Marcos needs a new center for queer nightlife to take its place. 

“It will always [feel like] a death, that venue and the closure,” Miss Tequila Rose, the last Miss Stonewall said. “It is saddening to know that there isn’t a place for [incoming] freshmen to go to and explore and be creative and [discover] themselves.”

Understanding the atmosphere of Stonewall Warehouse is critical to understanding why its loss hurts so much. Gavin Miranda, a former dancer at Stonewall Warehouse and the Social Chair of Bobcat Pride, said queer individuals knew from the second they walked into the building that they had a home. 

“There are some people who are scared to go out,” Miranda said. “For my friends who are in the trans community, Stonewall was a safe space for people who didn’t conform to the gender binary and who didn’t feel safe dressing how they wanted to in normal nightclub settings.”

A UCLA study in 2020 found that “LGBT people are nearly four times more likely than non-LGBT people to be victims of violent crime.” This figure is even more severe for members of the trans community. 

ABC News reported that “the number of homicides of transgender people nearly doubled” in four years. These rates of violence are only amplified by the stream of homophobic and transphobic laws from the Texas government against LGBTQ+ individuals. Places like Stonewall are more critical than ever as safe places for the queer community.

Stonewall also served as a place for queer individuals to meet and connect. Tyler Atkinson, president of Bobcat Pride, said the significance of non-school affiliated groups, such as Stonewall Warehouse, are essential for the community. 

“Sometimes you feel like… you’re in a queer relationship and you go to one of these straight bars and you’re just having fun with your partner, people might look at you weird,” Atkinson said. “You don’t get that in Stonewall because that was, dare I say, the norm.”

A void has opened for a proper queer bar within San Marcos. Bars such as The Davenport Lounge and The Porch have said they are safe spaces for LGBTQ+ individuals and started including pride nights within their weekly schedules. However, these actions are a band-aid in place of a proper queer-serving establishment.  

Allies of the community should provide support by making non-queer locations safe for LGBTQ+ individuals. More establishments in San Marcos must follow The Davenport Lounge and The Porch in including pride-themed events.

“A lot of it is just educating yourself on queer culture and queer topics in general,” Atkinson said. “Stand up and be there as an ally for the queer community but do not speak for them. By putting yourself forward as an ally you are saying that you are willing to learn and represent this community.”

Establishments such as Stonewall Warehouse are essential for preserving and celebrating queer culture. Miss Tequila Rose said drag and burlesque performances regularly occurred at Stonewall. However, drag performances have been forced into limited venues, such as The Davenport Lounge or The Porch, or into Austin or San Antonio.  

Currently, there are no new plans for a new gay bar within San Marcos. However, that is not to say there is no room for queer culture and nightlife on The Square. These solutions may seem like temporary stopgaps, but without a Stonewall in the community, it is better than nothing.

– James Phillips is an international relations junior

The University Star welcomes Letters to the Editor from its readers. All submissions are reviewed and considered by the Editor-in-Chief and Opinion Editor for publication. Not all letters are guaranteed for publication.

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