I love you, Bushwick, but I have some complaints. This neighborhood, so creative, friendly, so densely populated and diverse, desperately lacks a thriving queer scene.
Take a moment and stand on the corner of Myrtle-Broadway on any given day for five minutes. You will see plenty of ostensibly queer people and their allies, ready to bend the boundaries of gender and express themselves bravely. However, these fellow Bushwick queers don’t stay around town, they are merely get on the JMZ trains and leave for Williamsburg, the Lower East Side, or the East Village. Yet, all of them are more than willing to proudly disclose their status as residents of Bushwick and elaborate on the same quaint features I’ve listed above. When they get home after a night out, they run from the train to their apartments like soldiers jumping from the fox hole to the bunker, and I can’t blame them, really.
If I counted, instead of sheep, the number of times I have heard “Maricon” (the spanish word for “faggot”) on the two block walk from subway to my house, I would probably put myself to sleep.
Some of my friends have revealed to me that they are bisexual or queer, and yet they prefer to date the opposite sex in Bushwick because of their social scene. Really, people? I came to New York to ESCAPE that sort of sexuality policing.
Most importantly, Bushwick is significantly lacking organized resources, nightlife, or events catering to LGBTQ people. Sure, most of the people here claim to be liberal and accepting, but I find myself the token queer almost all of the time I try to hang out with my friends. For most of us singles, gay or straight, having absolutely no one to flirt with can be a downer. With all of that said, it’s no surprise to me that Bushwick queers are heading to Sugarland, Metropolitan, and the recently opened This ‘N That in Williamsburg, rather than trying to navigate the chaotic mix of acceptance and heterobias that comprises the Bushwick social scene.
Despite that I’ve tried to compile a, very, very, very short list of some of the more queer friendly venues in the Bushwick area:
This East Williamsburg venue has a Monday night queer party thrown by the talented, gender fucking queen named Mason King. The name of the party is Bath Salts, with various weekly sub themes.
Tandem has been named by many of my friends as the “unofficial” gay bar in Bushwick. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays have all been cited as the most queer, though I’m guessing it really depends on who decides to go in. Tuesdays are a regular queer night; Witches are a monthly lesbian dance party held on Tuesdays and Invocation is a monthly gay party on Thursdays. However, these events lack promotion in order to really grow as events dedicated to queer audience.
Wreck Room on 940 Flushing Ave is organizing a weekly KITTY party that is supposed to be a lesbian night but it brings in a large straight punk/indie crowd.
Last Thursdays of the month belong to a pop-up performance party Bushlick. This lesbian table dancing party collective was last spotted at King’s County Bar.
And…. that’s about it. I could add queer friendly Miles Bar on 101 Wilson, because the owners and bartenders bring in a pretty heavy LGBTQ crew every time I’m there, but, again, everything is unofficial.
While it may seem great, in a sense, that everything is so accepting and unofficial and that gay people can comfortably hang with their straight counterparts without fear of hatred or violence, I would have to say that this air of assimilation is a bit premature. Many of the implants in Bushwick aren’t from liberal areas, and not everyone who lives here is as accepting as one might think. As you can discern from my anecdote about the Bisexuals that consciously avoid same-sex attraction in Bushwick, there’s still a lot of heterobias here and a lot of over-saturation from definitively straight musicians, straight artists, and straight people of all sorts. In short, Bushwick NEEDS a centralizing queer scene or force in the area that reaffirms our position and part in creating what has become one of the most vibrant parts of Brooklyn.
How do you feel being a queer in Bushwick? If you know of more LGBTQ friendly events and places, please leave us a comment below.