In the city's hay day, there was a bevy of options for black queer club goers in Washington DC. But in an every changing landscape where the days of Traxxx and the Delta are long gone, its becoming harder and harder to find our own spaces or spaces where we're welcomed.
No one has better encapsulated this point than Activist Preston D. Mitchum of Washington, DC who recently met with the owner of Nellie's Sports Bar, Doug Schantz, to address the issues of violence and racism experienced by hiself and others. It didn't go well. Read Preston's Facebook post addressing the meeting below and the letter he wrote to Mr. Schantz in response to their meeting.
On Tuesday, May 30, I informed you all that I met with the owner of Nellie's Sports Bar. Over the past 24 to 48 hours I took the time to breathe, meditate, and write about what happened. Needless the say, the meeting was awful, nothing was accomplished, and I left feeling that my time was wasted as a customer and as an advocate. That happens, sure, but the way in which it happened is what infuriated me. It took me a few days to think on whether I wanted to make this information public, but decided that you all have a right to know. Yes, fights have been occurring on Sundays and by mostly black gay men (that must be addressed with love, accountability, nuance, and solutions). However, I draw the line at racial undertones, disrespect, and blatant understanding that our presence is not wanted, though our coins are. I'm sure the owner, Doug Schantz, and his manager has a different perspective of the meeting, but as a black queer man, I know what I heard, know what I experienced, and know that I will be fighting harder than ever to ensure black LGBTQ people have our own space - or at the very least can go to establishments that want us there. This letter has been sent to Mr. Schantz and maybe he'll reply to me, maybe he won't. But I do hope you all, my friends, will take this letter with love and support. I certainly won't tell you all where to spend your hard-earned money because it isn't my place, but I hope we can discuss why we need our own space and why we must support what we already have.
See the attatched letter below.