I went out last night, staying out way too late! I seem to go out everyonce in a while maybe once a month or once every over month. We started at the Saloon and later headed to the 90's. In Minneapolis, they are smoke free, but I understand this ban may be opened for discussion again. I do prefer the smoke free bars.
I can't help but thinking about the harm the bar scene has done to some of my queer brothers. Some seem to use it as a refuge. For many, it's one of the few places to be freely gay, to not have to deal with the everyday straight world. However, these places have different rules, about how you have to look and act. I have several friends who are alcoholics or recovering alcoholics. I can't help thinking about how the bar cultured aided the disease creeping into their lives. Yes, it's all about choices, but when the choices are available that can drown sorrows and be around other gay men, it seems like such an easy draw. I don't think I can demonize alcohol, or the bars, or even the victims of the disease of alcoholism. For me the demon seems to lie with the forces of systemic homophobia.
Just last night between the two bars, I was addressed as faggot, by people on the streets twice. They weren't people who I recognized as queer themselves, it was used out of hate, it seemed. Those words still ring in my head.