Straight to the gay club


Graphic by Fani Hsieh
Graphic by Fani Hsieh

As a straight frat boy who typically spends most nights out at Phil’s or Chainsaw, I had no idea what to expect when I decided to join the party Saturday night at The Order — a “gay club” in uptown Waterloo.

I was interested in seeing what made it different than all the other clubs I go to on a regular basis. I wanted to understand what the place means to different people.

With a little booze flowing through my veins and a tape recorder in hand, I made my way through the crowd and talked to numerous visitors. I quickly learned that this club stands for more than just the LGBTQ community.

As many explained to me, it’s a “safe place,” a “no-judgement zone,” a “domain of acceptance.” It’s a place where everyone — gay, straight, bisexual and transgender — are welcomed to join together and feel the music, which admittedly had me pulling out some of my most laughable dance moves.

One guy told me that having this place to go to actually made him feel more comfortable coming out of the closet. He explained the inclusive environment allows everyone to feel comfortable in their own skin.

I also talked to a few straight girls who said they love coming to The Order so they don’t have to worry about “creeps breathing down their backs and grinding up against them.”

Sexuality, social class and gender all seemed irrelevant, overpowered by the pulsating beat.

They explained to me it’s an environment that exists without the “judgemental” dynamic of other clubs.

“It’s one of the few places where people of the same sex can make out on the dance floor and no one will look twice,” said a lesbian student whose name I can’t remember because I was too drunk to ask for it while recording.

She went on to explain that it’s not just a “gay bar,” but how it’s a place for everyone who is willing to have a good time and be accepting of other people.

The club is set up like most clubs: there’s a dance floor in the middle, a DJ at the front, a bar to the side and a separate area for coats. One minor detail that sets this place apart: the restroom.

Yes, there’s only one. It’s an open concept area for all genders. People file in, do their business and continue with their night.

I asked people if there should be something like this arranged at other bars in Waterloo. “Fuck yeah” was the standard response. Didn’t get much else. Phil’s, take notes.

The experience opened my eyes to a night of pure fun. Everyone merely wanted to have a good time. Sexuality, social class and gender all seemed irrelevant, overpowered by the pulsating beat of the speakers and the diverse crowd dancing away.

It was a night where no inebriated assholes were kicked out because they were caught throwing punches at the dude who looked at their girlfriend funny. No one had to feel self-conscious about following a dress code (one guy barely wore anything at all). There were no tough guys hiding behind bottle service to show the crowd how rich they are. And the tequila shots never burned so beautifully.

Refreshingly enough, everyone was themselves. And that’s what partying is all about.

One response to “Straight to the gay club”

  1. Sam Kelly Avatar

    It’s transgender people, not transgenders.

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