I ran into Aaron at Nowhere Bar and we got to talking about the whole "Save the Roxy" topic and the case for dwindling New York City nightlife. He opened up a topic which is always on our minds but easily brushed over once talk of policy, neighborhoods, liquor licenses and cabaret laws come into play.
Quite simply: The fight isn't about nightlife as much as it is about preserving our shared spaces. Despite the fact that online development is enabling non-bar types to stay in and orchestrate friendships without venturing out to the local gay bar, Aaron reminded me of the importance for gay people to be able to physically see and be around one another.
Before the internet going out was the only way to be out and many of those pre-Web men still prefer being out opposed to ordering in on the internet. Today, there's a lot of discussion about gay assimilation to the mainstream and the threat of losing our gay culture and flavor as we, the marginalized, inch our way closer to normalcy.
I come from a time period and a profession where stating, "I'm gay" is as easy as saying I prefer blue over red but for many men from either yesteryear or even today's suit and ties of the financial or business world saying "I'm gay" or being around gay people just doesn't come that easy.
Straight people get to see and interact with one another all the time. If one of their places or hang outs closes they just mosey on over to the next one. But for us, our spaces are specific and limited- we can't just move on to the next one. A space has to either already exist or be created for us, and always, by us. Nobody else will do it for us.
When boiled down Aaron's case is: Our shared spaces must remain and be protected because we're not granted the opportunity of day to day interaction. We must venture to specific places to be with our people and thus these spaces must remain open for that fact alone.
I know we've all been there- be it a wedding, or a 4th of July picnic or a family gathering where it's all so straight that we feel we have to break from it and run to our people for a sigh of relief. At the end of the day, we need these spaces to exist so we can all loosen our ties and be around those who understand us.