Queerable Spaces: Spending the Weekend With the Gays

For a semi-lovely October Augut weekend, we had quite a nice time.

Friday evening was super low-key as I was felled by my allergies and took a nap so we ended up watching “Orange is the New Black” and going to sleep early.

Saturday was OUTrageous Bingo night. So off we went to Squirrel Hill for what is always a fun evening. We had opted to sit with the folks from NEXUS, a social group for adults over 50 affiliated with the GLCC so it was nice to see some familiar faces. The crowd was well over 300 which is considered “big” in terms of the prizes paid out. Emcee Rick Allison was his usual charming self and manages to make the predictable one-liner a delightully camp moment.

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I do have one thing to confess – I am so terrible wth faces/names and since I’ve been ill, it is much worse. So while I make the rounds saying hello, I’m often at a complete loss as to how I know someone. Sometimes I fess up and sometimes I wing it. But I try not to let it keep me from enjoying being with the community in a big wonderful queerable space.

We didn’t win a penny, but we treasure the opportunity be part of this nearly 16 year old institution in Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ community.

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If you didn’t know, proceeds from OUTrageous Bingo benefit the GLCC and Shepherd Wellness Community. Tips collected by the vendors (various bowling groups most of the time) benefit their good work and the profit from the concessions goes into the general fund. The event is all volunteer and a few of them have been to almost every game over that 16 year period.

Sunday evening we headed out to the Gay for Good Anniversary Picnic in Observatory Hill – they had selected the GLCC as a partner for the event, asking all attendees to bring school supplies for our youth. It was a very nice evening, wel over 50 people gathering with delicious foods – oh my! – and all sorts of fun door prizes and donations. I was struck that the home owner had a giant “Gay for Good” banner hung from his deck for the whole neighborhood to see – and also that he knew the names of all the kids who pedaled by curious about the goings-on. There was not the least hesitation or any sense of hiding who we were. This group includes mostly young professionals and again it was just a nice evening. Their generous spirits were evident both in the volunteer work that they do and their compassion for LGBTQ youth.

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What strikes me the most from both events is the genuine niceness of everyone – whether they were explaining what “Top or Bottom” means to a bingo virgin or lugging in a huge box of notebooks – there was a sense of connection. And that’s very energizing for me. And comforting.

So what’s great to see:

  • Corporate support for these events which generates financial and in-kind support for community groups. Trickle down.
  • A better sense of how the GLCC is perceived as a hub and an interest in supporting that role.
  • Absolute concern for LGBTQ youth.

There really is A LOT of #ThingsToDo in Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ community. Coming up in August:

  • Renaissance City Choir Rainbow Karaoke Party 
  • Renaissance City Choir Auditions
  • Pittsburgh Transgender Night at the Warhol
  • Garden of Peace Community Day
  • Erie Pridefest
  • TransPride Pool Party
  • Concerts by LGBTQ artists Chris Pureka and Eric Himan
  • Board Game Night
  • Nexus Bike Ride

And that’s just off the top of my head. And just through the end of August.

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