Blacksburg gays deserve a bar. Frankly, it’s shocking that we don’t already have one, and with the college students who recently celebrated Valentine’s Day, let’s talk about how hard it is for gay people to find each other in this city.
There are dating apps out there, but they’ll only get you so far: it’s all too easy to walk past someone you maybe should have messaged, and with only a fraction of the options than our straight counterparts, 12 swipes later and you’re out of options. Factor in all the straight women “looking for friends” or couples “looking for a third party” that gay women meet, and it’s obvious that dating apps won’t find you a valentine.
There’s a gay dance club in Roanoke, but nearly an hour away, it won’t be a hot spot for Virginia Tech students or Blacksburg locals on a night out. Blacksburg’s gay community should have somewhere to stumble upon while returning home safely.
Some members of the LGBTQ+ community feel uncomfortable in the bars we have now. With the possibility of extreme or dangerous reactions at all flirtation, a gay bar might also provide a more comfortable environment for those with this fear.
Rosa Williams, a lesbian sophomore majoring in systems and packaging design, isn’t a fan of dating apps.
“It’s not easy. It’s not fun,” Williams said. could actually be potential partners.”
And it’s a tragedy – not just because it makes it harder for me to find a valentine, but also because of the sense of queer community that we’re losing. According to Williams, one of the appeals of gay bars is the feeling of togetherness they promote.
“They have this tight-knit community of people showing up, getting food, hanging out,” Williams said. “Apart from that ‘we’re going to party’ mentality, at this bar they have weekly ‘L Word’ screenings.”
Picture this: a group of queer women stacking blankets and pillows on the dance floor, lying together and watching a show made just for them.
“It’s a community get-together, as opposed to just a dance floor with gay people on it,” Williams said.
L Word projections aren’t the only community builders of organized gay bars and clubs. Drag shows are often part of the offer of a gay bar. Blacksburg residents have enjoyed drag shows at the Milk Parlor and even on the Virginia Tech campus, so a gay bar providing another venue for talented local and student performers would almost certainly draw a crowd.
Blacksburg needs a gay bar, so that maybe next year everyone can find a valentine to spend the day with, but also so that those who haven’t found their valentine yet can find a community to go to the dance floor with – pillows and all.