With Pride upon us, San Francisco offers even more opportunities than usual to celebrate all that is fabulous in the city by the Bay. However, with the massacre at an Orlando gay club still very present in everyone's minds, the Chronicle reports that bar owners and club goers are talking about what measures the LGBTQ community can take to keep itself safe.
“It would be irresponsible of us not to take what happened in Orlando into consideration and not do anything about it,” the general manager of QBar, Cip Cipriano, told the paper. “There’s a contract between you and the people who come to your venue — they expect you to be responsible enough to take those precautions so everyone has that safe space they need.”
And so QBar, like many other places in the Castro and all over the city, is taking another look at security ahead of the expected onslaught of out-of-town visitors and general Pride revelers. Officials have already announced, for example, that the Civic Center Pride celebration will force all attendees through metal detectors. Such measures, however, may not be practical (or even necessarily wanted) for all bars and clubs.
“That’s exactly what terror wants you to do, to not go out and be terrified,” Heklina (of Trannyshack fame) told the paper. “You have to embrace life. You can’t let it change how you look at things.”
Anecdotally, via social media, we're hearing that just as these new security measures are being implemented in the Castro, the line outside Beaux for their Wednesday night party stretched 45 minutes or more as patrons were each patted down and wanded with a metal detector. So if you're headed out this weekend, brace yourselves for that kind of delay.
The most important defense against any sort of hate or terrorist attack is of course the eyes and ears of bar patrons themselves and as Lookout owner Larry Bennett told ABC 7 last week, "People are a lot more observant." He added, though, "In our case, we will check bags of anyone coming into our bar." Shawn Vergara, owner of Castro bars Brewcade and Blackbird, tells SFist that his door security people have begun bag searches this week as well.
Whatever security in the Castro ends up looking like over Pride — cops in bars or no — Pride attendees can take some comfort knowing that the topic is very much on the forefront of everyone's minds.