With a two-part farewell ball this weekend and doors closing for good on April 30th, the 18-year-old lesbian bastion the Lexington Club is sure to be remembered for a long time to come. But making absolutely certain that its place in San Francisco at 19th and Lexington will be marked is a commemorative plaque, one that's been recognized and approved by a Board of Supervisors resolution.
Lexington denizens are currently raising money for its production and installation on a Gofundme page, and so far over $2,500 has been raised of the $6,500 goal. As the fundraiser page reads, "any amount raised over those costs will be donated to Dolores Street Community Services , which not only serves low-income and immigrant communities in the Mission, but has been fundraising to open the first LGBTQ-focused shelter in San Francisco."
After beloved owner Lila Thirkield announced in October that declining sales and a rent increase would result in the bar's closure, lots of questions have been raised about the state of culture, bar culture, and queer culture in San Francisco. One answer was delivered in February when it was announced that the Plumpjack Group, a large empire of fairly high-end, typically uninspiring establishments partially owned by Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and his sister, would replace the Lex. Thirkfield had nothing bad to say about the group, however, and she will maintain a partnership in Virgil's Sea Room where some of the Lexington Club's events may continue.
In bringing the bar's chapter in the city to a close, Lynn Rapoport writes for San Francisco magazine that "For many queers, the Lexington was essential" while also judiciously noting "In this city, the Lex has always been just one vision of what dyke and queer nightlife can be (one that, some detractors will tell you, was never that inclusive, particularly of people of color)." Here's a bit more:
Regular parties like Cockblock, U-Haul, Switch, and Pussy Party continue to provide real estate for drunken lesbian cruising. There’s also a newer generation of parties—Hard French, Swagger Like Us, and House of Babes among them—that don’t much bother with dividing up the LGBT community, instead promoting a mad free-for-all of gender expression and sexual appetite.
In revisiting the bar, Rapoport does confess that the recent scene was "not as X-rated as the evening in 2009 when queer porn diva Princess Donna took over the bar to make a movie, with an actress delivering drinks from a ball gag attached to a serving tray and crowd members stripping down to their jock straps."
If that doesn't deserve a plaque, I don't know what does.