TUTBG is a tour for those curious about queer history and for those nostalgic for a time in the near past when queer was a bad word and not a badge of pride.
Traversing lower Manhattan below 14th street, the tour will begin in the East Village and cross East 4th street to Sheridan Square, taking Christopher to the Hudson River and then circling back up to West 10th Street. A complimentary Shirley Temple will be the treat on offer, from Julius’ Bar where self-declared homosexuals were denied service in 1966 at the historic Sip-In.
As the LGBTQ movement has won some basic civil rights for queer people, the idea of the queer community has shifted from what was a culture of shame that was mostly hidden from public view to today, where same-sex couples can legally marry. In NYC, LGBTQ people do not fear being fired from their jobs or losing their housing or their children just because they are queer.
These advances in social acceptance have come with a price, however benign it might seem. We have lost many, many spaces for socializing that used to be gay. As homosexual, bisexual and trans identities have become decriminalized and we have been allowed more open movement in the larger culture, the places we once went to congregate in peace have gone away along with the shame. While mainstream critics on the right complain bitterly that gay is being shoved down their throats (complaint or dream date?) the side effect of this mainstreaming of gay culture is a dilution of the community where that culture was begun and thrived.
Born in the murky shadows, in bars with sticky counters, watery drinks and postage-stamp dance floors, in discos and clubs and bathhouses now bearing no plaques to commemorate them, we will visit a few of these hallowed structures and trace a path of gay life in pre-Stonewall Greenwich Village.
Expedition Note: Mo lives between Toronto and New York City so when she is out of town Local Expeditions Founder, Nancy Blaine, will lead the tour. e-mail us at email@example.com to find out who is leading on a particular day.
Meet at the Northwest corner of Second Avenue and East 4th street in front of the Bodega (24 hour Grocery).