Gay community at Texas State deserves space to express itself

Illustration by: 

The addition of a gay bar to the nightlife scene in San Marcos would finally give members of the LGBTQIA communities a safe and accommodating place to meet, mingle and feel comfortable.

According to a Jan. 15 University Star article, San Marcos resident Silvia Sandoval attempted to open a LGBTQIA bar at 169 S. LBJ. A lack of funding and health issues of a major investor caused the bar, which would have been named The Walk-In Closet, to be postponed indefinitely. This is unfortunate because San Marcos needs a gay bar to serve its budding community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, asexual and ally residents and students.

The bar would be a positive addition to the town’s nightlife and offer a safe space for the LGBTQIA communities who currently lack a permanent home.

The LGBTQIA communities had a place to frequent when Rainbow Nights were held at J’s Bistro, which is now closed. Rainbow Nights continued at other venues this year but could not find a permanent home, according to the same University Star article. The next logical step up from Rainbow Night events would be an entire bar that caters to the LGBTQIA communities specifically.

For now, continuing iterations of Rainbow Nights should be safe, welcoming and judgment-free events—straight members who choose to attend should make sure to be as respectful as possible when attending. A gay bar, or even an LGBTQIA function for that matter, should not become a spectacle. The LGBTQIA community deserves to have a place where they can gather together without feeling like they are on display for straight customers.

The LGBTQIA communities at Texas State and in the city as a whole are growing strong, as evidenced by events like Bobcat Ball and groups such as LAMBDA. A bar could be successful if the right community was fostered and the environment remained respectful.

Bobcat Ball is an event that happens only twice a year, which, while an admirable effort, is obviously not enough for the LGBTQIA communities. Bobcat Ball events play host to an environment of acceptance and inclusion that should be available all year-round. The San Marcos LGBTQIA community should not have to resort to driving to Austin for nightlife. They deserve somewhere in their backyard to go and feel accepted.

Although the current ideas for the bar have been unsuccessful, students should stay mindful of the space if it eventually exists. There is no excuse to be disrespectful and turn something meant for one group into a spectacle for another.

A gay bar would usher in a new era for San Marcos’ downtown area and would provide a space where events like drag shows are not judged or berated. Students and residents alike should support the cause as a great addition to San Marcos’ nightlife.