Tag Archives: LGBT

Disappearing Gay History: The Ninth Circle Steakhouse, New York City, NY (1961 - 1990)

Disappearing Gay History: The Ninth Circle Steakhouse, New York City, NY (1961 – 1990)

Gone, but not forgotten The Ninth Circle Steakhouse which closed in early 2002 was located in the West Village on 10th Street right off Greenwich Avenue.  And yes, at one time it really was a Steakhouse that seriously rocked in the 1960’s with a quasi-bohemian clientele..

Originally opened and owned by Mickey Ruskin of Max’s Kansas City fame the Ninth Circle Steakhouse played host to array of singers and musicians and  literati including the likes Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Charlie Mingus and others who gathered there nightly to drink and eat.

But in the 1970’s what little star power and customers that remained were not enough to keep business going.  Ruskin sold full ownership of The Circle to Bobby Krivitz.  

The restaurant section downstairs was closed and became a disco starting out completely straight but realizing that there were some serious dollars to be made of the newly liberated gay crowd in NYC, The Ninth Circle literally became a gay bar overnight.

After a few years the disco floor was replaced by a pool table.   And now instead of Janis Joplin and Jimmy Hendricks the 9th Circles celebrity clientele changed to Rock Hudson and Jack Wrangler. With one of the best damn jukeboxes in NYC.

Today you’ll be hard pressed today to find out much about the Ninth Circle.  Very little can be found out about it on internet and few pictures remain.  What little info you can find calls The Circle  a hustler bar. But it was far from that and  lets be real in NYC in the 70’s and 80’s almost EVERY gay bar in NYC had a few hustlers in it. But to be honest as its business began to fade in its final few years there were more young men working the world’s oldest profession.

For over 20 years The Ninth Circle was the place to to drink and cruise in Greenwich Village.  Weekends would  literally packed people wall to wall.  And customers wanting to get in would be held at the door until some patrons left.  It was literally a sea of men on the make. All ages, all types.  Clones, twinks, and trolls all getting drunk, trying to get laid, and having a great time doing it.

The Circle was so busy that one night in the late 70’s a man walked in the front door and made his way up to the crowded bar pointed a gun at the bartender and demanded money.  The  bartender who was so busy pouring 4-5 drinks at a time glanced at the robber and  without missing a beat told the gunman that he had to wait his turn. 

The gunman was so shocked by this he turned around and left the bar.

I was a patron of The Ninth Circle and  then worked as a cocktail waiter for a few years from 1980-1982.  I was extremely young, 20  years old and this was before right before New York state raised the drinking age to 21. When they did raise it I was “grandfathered” in meaning that because I was of age to drink before they raised it. I still could.  Which made the the youngest legal worker at the bar.  But i tell you, after working there for a while I may have been young, but I was no longer naïve. (Again. Oh the stories I could tell.

Upon entering The Ninth Circle you looked at a long wooden bar leading down 1/2 the length of room.  A long wooden bench ran down the opposite wall  and over the bar was an equally long mirror so you could sit drinking your cocktail and look up at the mirror to see who entered or who might be behind you worth checking out.  At the end of the bar was the waiters station and a jukebox.  Opposite the jukebox was the entrance to the downstairs bar. (Fred Tree’s domain) On the other side of the jukebox against the wall were chairs and tables and a small square area with more chairs and tables and a pinball machine.  At the end of the room stood a doorway with a small staircase that led to the dimly candlelit patio “garden”.  Which was aptly named because there was much green in that garden being the copious amounts of marijuana that was smoked and sold back there. (Along with other various pharmaceuticals of the era: Black Beauties, Quaaludes Valium, etc.)  I cannot even tell you how many times I was tipped in joints, Nickle bags and other substances. (Ah memories. Well what I actually can remember.)

When you ventured downstairs there was a much smaller bar, a pool table, pinball machine, a video game and the bathrooms.  Theis was bartender Fred Tree’s kingdom. This is where most of the “twinks”  and a few hustlers hung out along listening to Tree who told the worst jokes in the world, celebrated Russian Christmas, and  was an all around great guy.  Tree still bartends today at The Stonewall Inn. 

It was really was the best of times to be young and gay.  But in a few years because of what was loomed on the horizon it would become the worst. 

But looking back now, even mixed in with the tragedy of the AIDS pandemic and the loss the followed the memories of The Ninth Circle  are some of the best memories of my life.  What compares to serving cocktails and hanging out with Jack Wrangler.  (Oh by the way and the reason his cock looked so big was because he was really short. I know this for a fact.) Or dancing the night away at Crisco’s Disco, or The Anvil and leaving their drenched in sweat on a Sunday morning at sunrise.  Nothing beat going to Fire Island, The Bartenders Ball or being on the guest list at Studio 54.

Tree, John Koch, Jerry, Michael, Portia, Randy, Sonny, Don and Craig (whatever happened to you man you man. You were my first huge crush) and many more I miss to this day and if you ever read this and are still around PLEASE CONTACT ME.

The Ninth Circle which was my institute of higher learning (literally) and will always be a part of who I am today.

They say what gets posted on the Internet is there forever. 

So consider this is just my way of making sure that the memory of The Ninth Circle never disappears.

Have an interesting  bon mot, humorous story, or raunchy memory of the The Ninth Circle?  Please feel free to post it in the comments section below.

3 Men Dead In "Intentional" Hit & Run Outside Chicago Gay Bar

3 Men Dead In “Intentional” Hit & Run Outside Chicago Gay Bar

A hit-and-run car crash that killed three and injured one outside a gay bar in Chicago early Sunday morning “appears to be intentional,” police said. The attack occurred outside the Jeffery Pub at 7041 S. Jeffery Blvd., one of the oldest gay bars in Chicago.

The attack “appears to be intentional” but is not being investigated as a hate crime, Chicago police said at a news conference Monday. “It appears to be intentional,” Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan told reporters Monday. “We don’t have any evidence to support that somebody was trying to harm these individuals based because of their race, religion, etc. That can change once we get more witnesses and a suspect in.”

Taiwan Cancels WorldPride 2025 Over "Taiwan" In Name Controversy

Taiwan Cancels WorldPride 2025 Over “Taiwan” In Name Controversy

Via The Taipei Times

The organizers of WorldPride 2025 have canceled the Kaohsiung event because its licensing group, InterPride, demanded that it remove “Taiwan” from the event’s name, they said in a statement yesterday. Kaohsiung was to host WorldPride Taiwan 2025 after being granted the right by the global LGBTQ advocacy group. However, the WorldPride 2025 Taiwan Preparation Committee said that InterPride recently gave “abrupt notice” asking it to change the name of the event and use “Kaohsiung” instead of “Taiwan,” even though it applied for the event using “Taiwan” in its name. “Taiwan deeply regrets that InterPride, due to political considerations, has unilaterally rejected the mutually agreed upon consensus, and broken a relationship of cooperation and trust, leading to this outcome,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Taiwan are regarded as the most progressive in Asia. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity are legal, and same-sex marriage was legalized on 24 May 2019, following a Constitutional Court ruling in May 2017.

InterPride said in a statement they were “surprised to learn” the news and while they were disappointed, respected the decision.

In the end. Obviously Taiwan is not proud enough to handle this event.

New Orleans To Exhume And Attempt To Identify Unknown LGBT Victims of "Upstairs Lounge" Inferno Through DNA

New Orleans To Exhume And Attempt To Identify Unknown LGBT Victims of “Upstairs Lounge” Inferno Through DNA

 In New Orleans on a warm Sunday afternoon in June 24, 1973 an  afternoon arson attack on a gay bar called the Upstairs Lounge resulted in the deaths of 32 people. The UpStairs Lounge fire is the deadliest fire in New Orleans history and now the second largest mass murder of LGBT people ever in the United States after the Florida Pulse Massacre.

News coverage at that time, both print and television, made every effort to omit the fact that the fire had anything to do with homosexuals in the community, even though a gay bar and members of a gay church congregation had been involved.  The stories that appeared included quotes from local citizens that can only be described as ignorant, such as a cab driver who said “I hoped the fire burned their dresses off,” and one woman who opined that “the Lord … cooked them.”  Local talk radio hosts were making jokes such as, “What do they bury the ashes of queers in?”  The answer:  “Fruit jars.”

Of the 32 victims  four of the bodies were buried by authorities in an unmarked grave in the local “potter’s field”. Sadly, a record of exactly where those bodies were buried was lost during the Hurricane Katrina tragedy of 2005. Now, officials in the city have announced that they plan to renew efforts to find the victims in the unmarked grave.

Last Thursday, NOLA city council passed a motion promising to renew efforts to find the lost bodies. Doing so opens up the possibility of carrying out DNA testing to identify those not previously named. It also means they can receive a proper burial after all these decades..

“The City’s callous and deeply inadequate response … rooted in pervasive anti-gay sentiment” made suffering worse for victims´ families and friends” states the motion written by Councilmember Jean-Paul “JP” Morrell.

The motion says the city has a moral obligation to do all it can to aid “the recovery and dignified interment of the victims of the UpStairs Lounge massacre.”

You can rad more about the UpStairs Lounge Inferno by CLICKING HERE.

New Orleans To Exhume And Attempt To Identify Unknown LGBT Victims of "Upstairs Lounge" Inferno Through DNA
TEXAS Sues USDA Over Added LGBT Protections In Food Supplement Programs

TEXAS Sues USDA Over Added LGBT Protections In Food Supplement Programs

Last May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that food assistance programs that receive funding from the Food and Nutrition Service were ordered to “investigate allegations of discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation” and to update their policies to specifically prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

Of course Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is challenging the federal Food and Nutrition Service’s new policy.

Paxton claims the guidance issued by the USDA is “unlawful” because states were not consulted and did not have an opportunity to provide feedback, in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act. They also argue that the USDA is misinterpreting the Supreme Court case Bostock v. Clayton County, which extended sexual discrimination in the workplace to include discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

“[It] will inevitably result in regulatory chaos that threatens essential nutritional services to some of the most vulnerable citizens,” Paxton’s office said in a press release.

Tuesday’s lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of Tennessee Knoxville Division

Former NBA Star Charles Barkley: “If you’re gay or transgender, I love you”

A video, originally posted to TikTok by user I.­ banana, taken earlier this month at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe, a casino located in Stateline, Nevada shows NBA legend Charles Barkley pledging his support for the LGBT community 

The clip shows the 11-time NBA All Star onstage telling a crowd that, “If you’re gay or transgender, I love you. And if anyone gives you any shit, tell ’em Charles says f**k you!”

This is not the first time that Barley has stood up for the gay community.

In a 2013 interview on The Dan Patrick Show, he expressed support for out NBA player Jason Collins. “Everybody’s played with a gay teammate,” he said at the time. “As a Black man, I’m always inclusive.”

In 2016, Barkley also spoke out strongly against North Carolina’s infamous bathroom bill, which would have barred transgender people from using public restrooms that corresponded with their gender identity. He even went so far as to call for the NBA’s 2017 All-Star Game to be relocated from Charlotte, North Carolina.

“I think anytime you’re Black, you got to stand up for other people because you – Black people know what discrimination is like. And if you’re in a position of power, you got to always stand up against discrimination. And I’m blessed man, and… I’m never gonna sit back and let discrimination happen on my watch.” – Charles Barkley

FOX News Host Mark Levin Compares LGBT Families To Bestiality

FOX News Host Mark Levin Compares LGBT Families To Bestiality

Transcript quote via Media Matters

“The language will be as follows: parental leave instead of maternity leave, parent instead of mother or father, parenting, birthing parent instead of mother, non-birthing parent instead of father. But what if it’s a woman who is beyond birthing age? What do we call her? Now the reason behind this, the NEA writes, is that in using this contract language members need not worry about how a board of education defines maternity leave. Mother and her father, the language is an inclusive reflection of how the LGBTQIA+ members build their families. This rationale assumes that the way that heterosexual members build their families should be rewritten regardless of their personal preference. How about bestiality? Is that part of it? I’m just waiting. And if it’s not, why not?”

Hey Levin, Anita Bryant called, she wants to sue you for stealing her shtick.

It’s 1977 all over again.

Ultrawoke and Trans Activists Go After Bette Midler. Oh No You Don't Even!

Ultrawoke and Trans Activists Go After Bette Midler. Oh No You Don’t!

On Sunday, Bette Midler who has never been known to hold back on a Tweet drew the ire of the ultrawoke and trans activists when going off about the recent recent decision of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade.

Midler tweeted:

Midler was criticized for the misuse of gender-neutral language to include trans people, seeking reproductive or other medical care. To which Midler was immediately labeled “transphobic” and “another JK Rowling”. Because we all know a 76 year old irate woman who has supported the community openly all her life has GLAAD’s Media Reference guide next to her computer to make sure she is using the proper language on every tweet she posts so she should know better and did it on purpose. -smh-

Bette responded to the backlash, insisting, “There was no intention of anything exclusionary or transphobic in what I said; it wasn’t about that. “I’ve fought for marginalized people for as long as I can remember. Still, if you want to dismiss my 60 years of proven love and concern over a tweet that accidentally angered the very people I have always supported and adored, so be it. But the truth is, Democracy is slipping through our fingers! I’m all in on trying to save Democracy for ALL PEOPLE. We must unite, because, in case you haven’t been paying attention, divided we will definitely fall.”

Midler is right about one thing:We must unite, because, in case you haven’t been paying attention, divided we will definitely falland if that means taking it on the chin when someone uses the wrong pronoun roll with it and instead of calling a loooongtime ally “transphobic” perhaps you can take that energy and apply it to the REAL transphobes and homophobes. Like. I don’t know? The Republican Party that wants us all dead maybe.

Take some advice from an old time activist. Back in the old days of the 70’s and 80’s the L, G, B, and T communities did not generally mix or generally got along well. BUT we tolerated each other and fought together side by side against the real enemy we fought hard and we won, some. We had our differences. But we did not make them the major issue at hand and let them separate us. We kept our eyes on the prizes But we didn’t finish the job. And we have to now.

WE have to all put our differences aside once again and work for a common goal. Freedom, Equality, the Right to Choose and the destruction of the Republican party.

Priorities people.

Gay History – July 4, 1965: Philadelphia’s Independence Hall Annual Reminder Protest

Annual Reminder 2On July 4th. 1965, gay rights activists gathered outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia, carrying picket signs and demanding legislation that would codify the rights of homosexuals as a minority group. Referencing the Constitution’s inalienable right to the “Pursuit of Happiness” and its foundational belief that “all men are created equal,” the activists called for legislative changes that would improve the lives of American homosexuals.  (Which at that time included the lesbian, trans and bi community.  Compartmentalization and isolation was not part of the movement yet and all groups were together as one and fought as such) 

New York City gay activist Craig Rodwell conceived of the event following the April 17, 1965 picket at the White House led by Frank Kameny.  Rodwell along with  members of the New York City and Washington, D.C. chapters of the Mattachine Society, Philadelphia’s Janus Society and the New York chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis would get together and picket in front of Liberty Hall on July 4th.  

The protest would be called “Reminder Day” and would continue for the next five years in a row

The name of the event was selected to remind the American people that a substantial number of American citizens were denied the rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” enumerated in the United States Declaration of Independence.

Thirty-nine people attended the first picket, including veteran activists Frank Kameny, Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin.  As with the Washington, D.C. picket Kameny insisted on a strict dress code for participants, including jackets and ties for the men and dresses for the women. Kameny’s goal was to represent homosexuals as “presentable and ’employable'”.  Picketers carried signs with such slogans as “HOMOSEXUAL BILL OF RIGHTS” and “15 MILLION HOMOSEXUAL AMERICANS ASK FOR EQUALITY, OPPORTUNITY, DIGNITY”.

The picket ran from 3:30-5:00 PM. and press coverage was sparse, although Confidential magazine ran a large feature about the Reminder and other gay pickets in its October 1965 issue under the headline “Homos On The March”.

The annual Reminder continued through July 4, 1969.  The final Annual Reminder took place less than a week after the June 28th. Stonewall riots,

At the last Annual Reminder Rodwell received several telephone calls threatening him and the other New York participant’s lives, but he was able to arrange for police protection for the chartered bus all the way to Philadelphia. About 45 people participated, including the deputy mayor of Philadelphia and his wife. The dress code and behavior code was still in effect at the Reminder, but two women from the New York contingent broke from the single-file picket line and held hands. When Frank Kameny tried to break them apart, Rodwell furiously denounced him to onlooking members of the press.

The annual Reminders were commemorated in 2005 by the placement of a Pennsylvania state historical marker by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission at 6th and Chestnut Streets where it is viewed by thousands of visitors daily.

In 2015 the city of Philadelphia celebrated the 50th. Anniversary of the reminders. Unfortunately. the event did not draw the crowds it had hoped and the city itself tried to re-write LGBT history by wrongly claiming that it was the “birthplace of the LGBT rights movement.”  The organizers dropped that false claim before the event after much pressure from this website and other LGBT historians.

Pride Anthem 1980 - The Story of "I'm Coming Out" sung by Diana Ross

Pride Anthem 1980 – The Story of “I’m Coming Out” sung by Diana Ross

In 1979, Diana Ross commissioned Chic founders Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards to create material for a new album after taking her daughters to see the band in concert.  Rodgers got the idea for “I’m Coming Out” after noticing three different drag queens dressed as Diana Ross at a Gay/Drag/Trans New York club called the GG Barnum Room that had a trapeze with flyers soaring over the dance floor. 

Thus, ever since the song has bee interpreted as a celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, identity and the encouragement of self-disclosure.