「My First Gay Bar」

Posted on June 22, 2016
Morceaux choisis de l'article 「‘My First Gay Bar’: Rachel Maddow, Andy Cohen and Others Share Their Coming-Out Stories」 paru sur le site du『New York Times』.

For generations of gays and lesbians, especially those for whom walking into the sometime secret and darkened doorway of one was often the first step in the coming-out process, gay bars have long held a significant place in their personal histories.

That was never more apparent than in the days following the mass shootings at Pulse, the gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., in which 49 patrons lost their lives, and which prompted many to recall the nights they had spent in similar settings, and the sense of community they found there.

“I can’t tell you how many bars and clubs I’ve been to over the years,” the CNN newsman Anderson Cooper told『The New York Times』last week. “Every gay man in America remembers the first time they went to a gay bar and how they felt.”

“I don’t want to sound like I’m speaking for the gay community,” said Mr. Cooper, who publicly acknowledged his sexual orientation in 2012. “But it certainly resonates very deeply for me.”

Below, some other prominent gays and lesbians recall what gay bars meant to them as they began to embrace their sexuality, some eagerly and some nervously.


Humberto Leon

Humberto Leon
Co-founder, Opening Ceremony, and co-creative director, Kenzo

Wonder B–r was one of my favorite New York haunts. I remember, it was on a really random night, and it was pretty quiet – maybe 10 people in the bar. Of the 10 people, in the back, was Madonna and her little crew, just going out on a Tuesday night. My friend girl Robin used to D.J. there, so we would go, and this time it was me and my six friends – trying to play it cool as much as we could.


Joseph Altuzarra by Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin

Joseph Altuzarra
Creative director, Altuzarra

The first gay club I went to was Le Queen in Paris when I was in high school. It still exists – it’s on the Champs-Élysées – but it was an institution at the time. I was probably 16, and I remember being very stressed-out about going. I was really new to that sort of scene. I remember it being very dark and no one talking to me. I think I stayed about an hour, an hour and a half – not dancing, not drinking, though I’m sure I was bopping around in my dark corner. I think at the time, I thought I was going to find a boyfriend if I went out, or become friends with people, which clearly doesn’t happen in a dance-y, techno club in Paris. But it felt very exhilarating. It was my first time interacting with other gay people, even though I wasn’t really interacting with them – at least I was in their presence. That was a very powerful thing.


Alexander Wang by Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin

Alexander Wang
Fashion designer

The first gay club I went to was probably when I was 16. It was called City Nights in San Francisco. I remember I would have to get a fake ID as it was an 18-and-over club. But all my friends were older at that point because I lived by myself in S.F. and made friends from just going out. Night life was my escape from the day to day. I would go every Thursday: hip-hop night. I was very lucky to have the community I grew up in be so supportive.


Interviews by Jacob Bernstein, John Koblin, Steven Kurutz, Katherine Rosman, Matthew Schneier and Michael Schulman. They have been edited for space and clarity.

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A version of this article appears in print on June 23, 2016, on page D1 of the New York edition with the headline: 「My First Gay Bar」.

Authors: Jacob Bernstein, John Koblin, Steven Kurutz, Katherine Rosman, Matthew Schneier & Michael Schulman/Date: June 22, 2016/Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/23/fashion/my-first-gay-bar-rosie-odonnell-rachel-maddow-alexander-wang-andy-cohen-share.html