South Side Bar Location of 2013 Queer Bashing to Close ‘Indefinitely’

A South Side bar where two queer women of color were bashed in January 2013 has been closed indefinitely after a shooting incident this past weekend left a 21-year-old woman shot. She was treated and released.

“With this action, a standard has been set and the message has been sent that chronic illegal, disruptive, and damaging behavior and business practices will not be tolerated in the South Side, or for that matter, anywhere in Pittsburgh,” Mr. Kraus said.

Back in 2013, six queer members of our community reported an incident.

A small group of queer women reported that they were at Margaritaville, accosted by a group of six men and two of them were physically assaulted. Their crime? Being self-identified “studs” which they believe threatens heterosexual men. The entire group was ejected from Margaritaville leaving the two women to be further assaulted. Both are recovering and police reports have been filed, according to information shared at the rally.

One thing that troubled me in particular was the Margaritaville manager Brad Rizzo told the City Paper that he wanted to reach out to the organizers of a rally with information about the perpetrators – as if it’s a bargaining chip or the responsibility of people who survive assaults to do the investigation. Call the police, idiot. For that lunkhead and absurd comment alone, I think they deserve to be shut down. I have zero faith in their leadership.

Emprez (l) and JourDyn (r) in photos taken after they were assaulted.

I am hopeful the new Hospitality Manager will ensure that LGBTQ issues are part of the dialogue when it comes to creating a welcoming, safe environment on the South Side and anywhere. Bar staff can’t just dump a group of folks on the street and assume its a fair rumble, rather than a domestic assault or a possibly deadly situation. They need to do better. If I go into a business of any type and I am harassed because I’m queer, I expect the business to do something about it.

And they probably would because I’m a white middle aged woman, not a twentysomething queer person of color who challenges gender expectations. But guess what? We both deserve to be safe in the community.

I make no bones about it – I think the South Side after dark is a pit and I am super careful. We go to one restaurant in the midst of the main drag and that’s it. We’ve seen far too many drunken assholes and the most obnoxious behavior in the City to ever feel comfortable there after 8 PM especially on a weekend. I visit two art spots near 10th street and otherwise stick to the area up by the South Side Works.

But we should be safe there. And I hope this turn of events is one step in the right direction.




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