New nightlife venues represent the diversity of city’s queer community

Sormeh hits Jazmine Vieira with a flogger for a stage performance scene in connection with the kink.com takeover of the Pride Kick-Off Party at BEAUX Bar in the Castro District for VAMP Monday, on June 24, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
Exterior sign of the BEAUX Bar, where the Pride Kick-Off Party is being held in the Castro District for VAMP Monday, on June 24, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
Jazmine Vieira does the splits for a stage performance scene in connection with the kink.com takeover of the Pride Kick-Off Party at BEAUX Bar in the Castro District for VAMP Monday, on June 24, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
Blue drips candle wax onto Moxie during their rope scene for a stage performance in connection with the kink.com takeover of the Pride Kick-Off Party at BEAUX Bar in the Castro District for VAMP Monday, on June 24, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
Blue ties up Moxie during their rope scene for a stage performance in connection with the kink.com takeover of the Pride Kick-Off Party at BEAUX Bar in the Castro District for VAMP Monday, on June 24, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
Deja Pointer embraces River Pember at at BEAUX Bar in the Castro District for VAMP Monday’s Pride Kick-Off Party, on June 24, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
Sean Monroe, creative director of kink.com, pauses to chat with Sormeh while gogo dancing at BEAUX Bar in the Castro District for VAMP Monday’s Pride Kick-Off Party, on June 24, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
Leo hits Sean Monroe, creative director of kink.com, with a flogger for the Pride Kick-Off Party at BEAUX Bar in the Castro District for VAMP Monday, on June 24, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
Jazmine Vieira gogo dancing at BEAUX Bar in the Castro District for VAMP Monday’s Pride Kick-Off Party, on June 24, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
Sáša and Edgardo at BEAUX Bar in the Castro District for VAMP Monday’s Pride Kick-Off Party, on June 24, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
Niki Gaines, David Trhan and Rena dance at Jolene’s Bar and Restaurant for an undie party called “Leak Your Own Nudes” on Thursday, June 20, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
Susanna McDonald (left) and Nicole Yessler (right) a moment before sharing a kiss at Jolene’s Bar and Restaurant for an undie party called “Leak Your Own Nudes” on Thursday, June 20, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
Niki Gaines and Jon Macemore dance at Jolene’s Bar and Restaurant for an undie party called “Leak Your Own Nudes” on Thursday, June 20, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
Jon Gary and Hrayr dance at Jolene’s Bar and Restaurant for an undie party called “Leak Your Own Nudes” on Thursday, June 20, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
McKinley plays pool at Jolene’s Bar and Restaurant for an undie party called “Leak Your Own Nudes” on Thursday, June 20, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
Sam and Alexe mingle at Jolene’s Bar and Restaurant for an undie party called “Leak Your Own Nudes” on Thursday, June 20, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
Bar goers mingle in front of the photo booth at Jolene’s Bar and Restaurant for an undie party called “Leak Your Own Nudes” on Thursday, June 20, 2019.
Susanna McDonald (left) and Nicole Yessler (right) share a kiss at Jolene’s Bar and Restaurant for an undie party called “Leak Your Own Nudes” on Thursday, June 20, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
Mar Pierce (center) walks through the bar area as Veda (center right) dances and gogo dancers (left) dance at Jolene’s Bar and Restaurant for an undie party called “Leak Your Own Nudes” on Thursday, June 20, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
Veda dances at Jolene’s Bar and Restaurant for an undie party called “Leak Your Own Nudes” on Thursday, June 20, 2019. (Special to S.F. Examiner)
People dance as the DJ, Val Geezy, keeps up the music at Qbar on Castro Street, for Vice Tuesday on June 18, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
Logan (left) and McKinley (right) joke around and mingle at Qbar on Castro Street, for Vice Tuesday on June 18, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to SF Examiner)
DJ Val Geezy mixes music at Qbar on Castro Street, for Vice Tuesday on June 18, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
People dance as the DJ, Val Geezy, keeps up the music at Qbar on Castro Street, for Vice Tuesday on June 18, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to SF Examiner)
Gogo dancers dance on platforms next to the crowd at Qbar on Castro Street for Vice Tuesday, June 18, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
People dance as the DJ keeps up the music at Qbar on Castro Street, for Vice Tuesday on June 18, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to SF Examiner)
People dance as the DJ, Val Geezy, keeps up the music at Qbar on Castro Street, for Vice Tuesday on June 18, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
People dance as the DJ, Val Geezy, keeps up the music and gogo dancers dance on the platform next to the crowd at Qbar on Castro Street, for Vice Tuesday on June 18, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
Astrid Liu mingles at Qbar on Castro Street, for Vice Tuesday on June 18, 2019. (Lola Chase/ Special to S.F. Examiner)
The mural in the back yard of the El Rio Bar on Mission St. on Saturday, May 25, 2019. (Ellie Doyen/Special to S.F. Examiner) The mural in the back yard of the El Rio Bar on Mission St. on Saturday, May 25, 2019. (Ellie Doyen/Special to S.F. Examiner)
A band plays at a benefit event for Trans Lifeline at the El Rio Bar on Mission St. on Saturday, May 25, 2019. (Ellie Doyen/Special to S.F. Examiner)
A couple in the back yard area of the El Rio Bar on Mission St. on Saturday, May 25, 2019. (Ellie Doyen/Special to S.F. Examiner)
A couple kissing inside the El Rio Bar on Mission St. on Saturday, May 25, 2019. (Ellie Doyen/Special to S.F. Examiner)

New queer nightlife has been popping up around San Francisco, responding to a need to better represent The City’s diverse community.

The Castro district, home to Beaux and Qbar — clubs hosting people whose gender expressions range from masculine to feminine to androgynous — isn’t just for gay white men.

Last year, the queer bar Jolene’s opened to fanfare. It was long awaited following the 2015 closure of the lesbian bar The Lexington Club in April 2015.

Today’s bars are places where people of all races, ethnicities, genders and sexualities gather.

“I started throwing parties because I’m a trans man. There are gay and lesbian events, but there wasn’t any trans-centered events, so I wanted to throw one in the Castro that represents who I am,” said Niko Storement, host and organizer of VAMP Mondays at Beaux and other Bay Area trans-focused events.

The event at Beaux on June 24th was more popular than usual thanks to Pride Week and it’s kinky vampire theme. VAMP Mondays teamed up with Eden Entertainment and Kink.com to host performances that included rope tying, candle wax dripping, flogging, and suspensions, as well as musical performances by Storement and his friend, bartender Lauren Raquel.

“Kink is in pride, so I thought it would be a great homage to the community to bring it together into one place,” said Storment. “It was good vibes all around.”

If you go to more than one event, you’ll see some familiar faces, as the queer nightlife community is tight-knit. Some joke that all queer people know each other, and while this is an exaggeration, it’s easy to see the web that connects people attending LGBTQ+ clubs and parties.

“I show up to these events to support my friends. I know a lot of people here tonight, and it’s Pride week so I just had to show up,” said McKinley Hinkle, a queer bar regular who attended “Leak Your Own Nudes,” a June 20 party at Jolene’s where most people stripped down to undies, boxers, bras and binders to play pool, mingle and dance.

“I’ve been coming to this specific location for years now, and it’s been plenty of different things, but to see it like this is truly amazing,” said Niki Gaines. “Jolene’s is by far the best it’s been.”

Clubgoer David Trahan said, “It’s my first time at Jolene’s, and the undies party is a great event to start with. Everyone is so open. It’s good to have inclusive space like this.”

Qbar’s Vice Tuesdays, another gender-inclusive event and the scene of a popular Pride party on June 18, had a big pink neon triangle sign that read, “You are safe here.”

Storment emphasized the need for such events: “Especially with this timing right now in politics, it’s important to empower minorities and give them space to be themselves, when it seems like the rest of the world doesn’t want us to be. It’s juxtaposition. Whenever there’s big movement happening, it’s important for minority communities to come together so we don’t go insane, to uplift our community, and keep a safe space.”

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