Cincinnati Guerilla Queer Bar is no ordinary queer function. There are so many activist groups that work within the system – trying to change laws and policies, holding rallies and the like – but we rarely have massive, radical action. That is where CGQB comes in. I have never seen such a great, consistent turnout for a regularly scheduled queer event. So far there have been five CGQB events, all of which have seen a huge turnout from the queer community. These events have happened just about every two weeks and they are always highly attended.
In a world that selectively recognizes our rights – if they are recognized do at all – it is nice to be able to unwind and enjoy the company of our community. CGQB allows us to combine two of the queer community’s favorite things: going out and activism. See, visiting a straight bar can be a good thing, because exposing our culture to straight people shows them that we really aren’t that different: We all like to have fun and sip on a few drinks when we go out. Why should the two cultures have to go out separately all the time? CGQB shows us all that we can get along, and sharing a bar really isn’t as bad as we thought it would be.
CGQB also shows bars that we will go there if they are welcoming, and we will bring our money with us. I am sure that the Pavilion, Sully’s and Lodge Bar made a killing with their CGQB events. In an economy where most companies are happy for any business they get, showing them that we have money to spend may make them want to welcome us.
An under-utilized queer bar is also the target for CGQB. The first Friday of the month CGQB invades a straight bar, and on the third Friday, they spread the love by visiting a queer bar. With the great turnout that CGQB has had, it just makes sense to also give our business to a queer bar that needs it. This way we are all having fun while we put our money back into the community.
CGQB also gives us a chance to meet different people. The queer bars in Cincinnati are very specific to each individual subset of queers. At CGQB it is possible to meet every type of queer imaginable, even those that don’t go out regularly because everyone goes out to CGQB. I see queers at CGQB events that I haven’t seen in months, and I meet a ton of new ones (which is funny, because I thought the Cincinnati queer community was super small – turns out, I was wrong). It also seems that CGQB events are highly attended by activists, which gives me an opportunity to meet and network with queers in a way that I hadn’t before.
CGQB is great for out Cincinnati community if for no other reason besides this: It brings us together like no other event does. It fills me with an indescribable feeling: It’s like experiencing your first Pride, only it happens twice a month. It’s an escape from our daily lives where we our constantly reminded of our second-class citizenship and lack of rights. Our community just comes together and celebrates being queers in a devil-may-care type of way. At CGQB events, we are not ashamed, we are empowered.
Last night’s CGQB event at the Pavilion was yet another success. The view was amazing from Mt. Adams, and a reporter and photographer from The Enquirer were in attendance to cover CGQB for a feature story. Here are a few photos from the event.