Monday, January 3, 2011

Fairfax County Virginia Gets First Gay Bar

photo courtesy of The Washington Post
Back in 1986 the non-profit that I worked for moved from Capital Hill to the sleepy little town of Herndon, Virginia located about 25 miles outside DC in what was then mostly rural Fairfax County. We set up operations in what was the very first office park in the town. I moved to neighboring Sterling and remember having to drive into the city any time I wanted to get back to my gay roots. It was a virtual gay no man's land.

In the two and a half decades since, Herndon, Reston, Sterling and the rest of Dulles Airport corridor in Fairfax County have seen an economic and developmental boom that have given the region a towering metropolitan skyline, miles upon miles of suburban sprawl and what's been called the worst rush hour traffic in the nation. But Northern Virginia is still Virginia and progress for our community has been stalled at every opportunity by religious fundamentalists and their political hacks.

The Washington Post did a great story this weekend about the first gay bar in Fairfax County history. So Addictive started out as a coffee house in an already over-caffeinated region. To ramp things up a bit, they started doing weekly Latin, Hip-Hop and Gay Nights. Now the establishment will be nearly exclusively gay, except for a weekly Heavy Metal Night.

The Post reports:
The arrival of a gay bar in the heart of a quintessentially suburban community nearly 25 miles outside of Washington is a milestone for the gay community. It's also a broader test to see whether a business that caters to gay men and lesbians can succeed and gain mainstream acceptance in a town that was once featured in a book on the 100 "Best Places to Raise Your Family" in the United States.

By flying a rainbow flag directly across from the old Herndon Town Hall on Elden Street, So Addictive already has become a key marker in the gay diaspora. Sarah Gustafson, president of the gay rights organization Equality Fairfax, recently e-mailed the 900 people on her list to announce the "fantastic news" that "yes, Virginia, there is a gay bar in Fairfax County."
"There's a tremendous amount of gay, lesbian and transsexual people who live in the county, so it's really great that a bar's coming to us," Gustafson said. "People might not realize there's a significant gay and lesbian population in the suburbs; everybody assumes we live downtown. But we are everywhere. We are your neighbors, and having a neighborhood bar finally puts a permanent face on that."
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