What kind of nightlife and social life is there for the LGBT community in Windsor?

Ask CBC Windsor: It’s a series, brought to you by Windsor Morning and it’s looking at all the things there are to know about the city.

We’re taking questions from Windsorites — whether you’ve been here for a few weeks, a few years or for decades.

Patrick Rooney is from Algonac, MI. He said a lot of Canadians go to the U.S. and vice versa for events and socializing. But he thinks there might be something missing. 

“Growing up there was different gay clubs — recently there was Pride in the Park in Windsor, and up in Sarnia there is [Beachside] Pride — but I feel like there isn’t any gay clubs,” he said. 

He’s wondering why there aren’t more establishments geared toward the LGBT community in Windsor. 

“So what is there to do — you know — just on a Wednesday night with friends or to meet people in the community?”

Derrick Biso gives their suggestions for LGBT events in Windsor-Essex. 2:12

What kind of nightlife and social life is there for the LGBT community in Windsor?

We asked Derrick Biso, a University of Windsor student and graphic designer, for some answers. 

DERRICK: So I identify as someone who’s gay queer and trans and a member of the community and I’m a student here at the University of Windsor and work in the community as an assistant event planner. And there’s lots going on for lesbian gay bisexual to Spirit transgender folks here in the Windsor Essex region. The best thing to do is to volunteer and to check right in with Windsor Pride Community, Windsor Essex Pride Fest or the Windsor Essex Transgender and Allied Support to see what’s going on and to see what they could use help doing. Other than that though, because of the low density and also the high costs of running a business we don’t have any businesses exclusively catering toward the LGBTQ community or any demographic within that community. There are a lot of businesses owned by members of the community that are friendly spaces, and other businesses that recognize our friendly, kind of safe safer space initiatives and a lot of one off events happening. Lavender Promotions does a lot of drag shows with Rockstar Music Hall and also at Villain’s Bistro. But there’s not necessarily the same sort of nightlife or social events that you’d see across the river in Detroit or up in Toronto — due to those same problems of density and just the high cost of running a business.

The other thing I’d recommend is knowing that there is funding available to start something. So if there’s something not available for you then there’s definitely opportunities to find funding to do it. And also the AIDS Committee of Windsor does a lot of social events. For older demographics, there’s the ’50 Plus and Proud,’ and then for younger demographics there’s community GSA’s [Gay Straight Alliances] such as the one at the Windsor youth centre as well as other organisations that you could probably get information through, through Windsor Essex Pride Fest, Windsor Pride Community, Windsor Essex Transgender and Allied Support or the AIDS Committee of Windsor. If you’re a student there’s lots of stuff at the university. Most high schools or junior highs have active GSA or rainbow clubs or something for making sure that we’re safe and have a social area to mingle.

A lot of times we create our own thing. QT Haus initiatives was something that was going on, creating a safer space for the transgender and queer folks and there are some pretty good drag shows going on. Although I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea, the reality is that sometimes you’re just mingling and sort of a larger crowd of people that’s not all Two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender just because you want to go see some live music or you want to dance a bit. So my night out is sparse. They’re quiet usually or I’m putting something on myself that has really the warm welcoming feel that I’m looking to create

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