Why Queer Nightlife Matters | Spencer Watson, CLEAR

Hi. This is Spencer Watson, the Founder & Executive Director for CLEAR–the Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research. I have lived in the bay for about 10 years. Even so, many of you may not know me: I’m not a nightlife organizer–I’m a community organizer.

I’ve been an out and proud organizer since I was a teenager, when I was chair of my high school GSA. In college, I started an LGBTQ student advocacy group that helped the University of Colorado adopt policy changes to include more gender-neutral bathrooms and protect students’ gender-presentation and identity in the CU nondiscrimination policy. I moved to the bay to work in the social justice community, and now today, at CLEAR I help produce research, education, and advocacy to promote more fair & equal economic opportunity for LGBTQ consumers, organizations, and communities.

Even though I came out early, I was still a late bloomer. I went to my first gay club in my sophomore year–driving 45 minutes both ways to get to the only 18-and-over queer club in Denver–and it changed my life forever.

I drank all of it in. The looks, the moves, the genders, and of course the sounds. My friends and I immediately became regulars at that club on Fridays–we would pile into someone’s car, drive down, dance all night, and then drive to a diner to share more stories, laughter, and magical moments.

When I moved to the Bay, I was again enamoured by the nightlife. But for my first five years, I went out with straight colleagues and peers and not the queer scene. I was accomplishing more than ever–but I felt like something was missing in my life. Something magical.

I rediscovered queer nightlife several years ago in law school. I was depressed, I was angry, I was burned out. I needed a family. And in the nightlife community, I found one–again.

Which is why when I was asked to join the Queer Nightlife Fund, I sprang into action. Queer nightlife and queer spaces matter so much to so many of us. We must act immediately to protect and preserve these important places, and the amazing people who create them.

Please go to http://www.sfqueernightlifefund.org to give now to support emergency relief for LGBTQ nightlife workers.

Thanks! Stay safe, and wash your hands.

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