I graduated high school back in the 1990s. At that time, you couldn’t just come out. Not where I lived anyway. I knew I was gay ever since the beginning of middle school, but none of my friends did. I stayed in the closet throughout middle school and high school and also university. It wasn’t until my mid-20s, that I finally had the courage to come out.
When I did, I came out to a few friends first. One of those friends was gay himself and the others were a select few friends we had who were accepting of his lifestyle. That’s why I came out to these friends. After I came out to them, it was still a few years before I came out in general, including to my parents and the rest of my family.
When I first came out to my small group of friends, the gay one introduced me to some of his other queer friends and they in turn introduced me to Diamond Jim’s Saloon. My first night there was a huge eye-opener.
I’d never been around so many gay people. Especially so many LGBTQ people who were open about their lifestyle and their true selves. They did not seem to me to have any of the shame that I felt. They were who they are and they were that unabashedly. This really impressed me.
I returned to that bar so many times afterwards, because it was the only place where I really felt comfortable to be myself. Surrounded by all these gay men, many of them burly bears and leather daddies, who, for the record, I have a huge thing for. It was my sanctuary for several years.
Not only did I love the company there and the atmosphere and the way they accepted me for who I was, but it was just a great bar, too. They served beautiful drinks, like the tea drinks I mentioned in a previous post. They also had wonderful music. They always had great gay DJs spinning on the turntables. These were fairly cheap record players, but that didn’t matter to anyone. The music was great. And I loved their vinyl giveaway nights and all the other great events, especially karaoke nights, although I wasn’t brave enough to get up and sing my first time..
I even went there on a classical night once. It was so cool. I’ll write about this some other time, but they had a little mini orchestra with violins and trumpets and cellos and flutes and any other instrument you could find. And even cooler, it was an all-gay orchestra. It was so different from what you would usually find at that bar, but that is what made it so cool.
As I sit here remembering all the great nights I had, I realize a lot of them blur together, but some of them definitely stand out. Those are the ones I will be writing about in the future.
A lot of this will be rambling, because at that time I smoked a lot of weed and I drank a lot, so my memories have melted together and become blurry. But the overall feeling I had at that time and in that place remains and that is what I hope people will take from my posts on this website. The wonderful feeling that Diamond Jim’s gave to me and to so many other gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and queer people. Thank you, Jim.