The massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orland rocked the LGBT community and it’s allies to the core, and the concerns for the future of the venue and other LGBT venues is real.
Now the co-founder of the nightclub, Barbara Poma, has spoken to Billboard on the fact that venues like Pulse are relied upon by the community as a safe space for LGBT people and should be protected.
“I think Pulse differs from tourist clubs, as well as other local clubs, for a couple of reasons. One of our biggest goals was to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere that was family-like, with people who shared my vision.”
“I remember there used to be buses that came from the Disney/tourist area to drop off guests who would then return on their own during their stays. I can’t speak for all of them, but I imagine that LGBTQ people were looking for a place they knew they would be comfortable and free to express themselves. Gay bars are an important part of the gay culture for that very reason.”
“I can’t tell you how many stories I have read over this week that have told me that Pulse was the first gay bar they ever went to, how they were shaking in fear, how they weren’t out to their families and how Pulse welcomed them. People who aren’t out, people who are exploring, people who are transitioning need a place to do this without judgment, they need acceptance; this is what Pulse was always about.”
“So many articles have been written saying gay bars will become obsolete, and I find that comforting to know that people believe no matter your sexuality so people can be themselves freely, but in the same breath I believe that gay bars have historically been the place for the LGBTQ community to come together with comfort and ease.”
“The community needs to continue to support gay bars as they are a part of the gay culture and a home for many who don’t have one.”