So last night I was at ASC and three people sitting at the bar were, among other things, discussing the gay community in Albuquerque, or better put - the lack thereof.

I've been wondering today about what community means, and specifically what gay community means. Going to a bar isn't community forming because as I looked around everyone was involved with their own little group and there's nothing communal about that. I can't say that going to a bar builds the gay community anymore than I can say eating at a restaurant builds the community.

If I use that as a building block then we'd have to create something akin to an old Irish pub where everyone talks with everyone, knows everyone, and is invested in everyone.

So my three problem solvers raised the question of community and I'm bringing it to a wider audience:

Does Albuquerque have a gay community? And if so, where is it, what does it do, and how does a person become a part of it?

Any ideas?

PS: as an aside, all the while they were discussing the matter of community not once was I invited into their discussion. Now isn't that interesting?

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wellllll, what about a discussion group to meet regularly in a friendly place and talk about these issues?
Hi Ned, that's an idea. I would be up for that. I'm guessing there are some "movers and shakers" on this page and it might be nice to work them in. My understanding is there has been some conversation before and it would be good to plug into that. I'm not one to reinvent the wheel and if there is a wheel I'll definitely help push it along.

If we can do it could we all agree to go someplace not filled with smoke and have a nice conversation?
Winnings Coffee on Harvard is a good place
Good suggestion. Now to get a Common Bond board member or two interested. They probably have tons of suggestions and ideas some tried and true, others tried and failed.
I have lived in Albuquerque for 15 years, and when I first moved up here there was a lot more going on. But, since then, I have to realize something: I have been out at every job I've had here, I don't have to hide my sexuality from anyone.

For me, like a lot of kids coming out nowadays, there is no separation between my gay friends and everyone else. If I know someone else is gay, I could possibly flirt with them anywhere (not overtly). I don't need to hide my orientation from that many people, so I'm not looking for a place where I could be myself.

What I do need community for is that I need people who share my experience, my frustrations, my hopes. I can't talk to everyone about the man I would like to meet, or about the difficulty in building a gay relationship.

Frustratingly, we take gay community for granted, like it should always be there, or should show up magically. On the other hand, we are not that in need of gay community specifically. It would be nice if we could put it in glass, in case of emergency, but it doesn't work that way. The community was there as a refuge, and we don't need that type of refuge as we did before.

I guess the question is: What do we need? I think everyone that I talk to feels that we need community, but we're not exactly sure what it would be, or how to build it up. I think part of the problem is that we have a lot of people around who don't have much imagination, class or know how to get things done. We are entitled, which is a mixture of comfort and helplessness. I would love to have more community, but for the unimaginative it's not how they want it to be, for those without class it's an afterthought, for the lazy it's too much work.

It's not really that we're taking the gay community for granted, it's that we have no clear and realistic vision for what it should be like in this age of more acceptance.
Excellent, Daniel. I like your reflection about what this "community" means today.

Obviously from Stonewall to somewhere at the end of the twentieth century gay community simply meant bars because there were no other venues. Then we discovered other places to be comfortable in, then a greater majority of people became more accepting and tolerant, work places - open.

Still there is a fundamental human need to be with people of common experiences and goals and dreams, as you point out. A postive evironment where people coming out from homophobic and hostile environments can link in. A place of acceptance without judgment. It's probably not a building per se but the knowledge that "I'm not alone" and that there are places to go.

What I'm proposing that that this page promotes activities, a clearing house of activity if you will. I know there's a lot going on but people just don't know where to go or who to ask. If this page is used well people can link in and connect to events that are interesting to them. I don't expect everyone to join the local gay car club or dash off to bowling night but if we have enough published events all the time eventually everyone will find something they can participate in.

Recently I've been meeting with and emailing people about this (as you can see from this thread). Everyone agrees that some creativity and direction is key. Guess what? I've met people who have ideas! Sounds like you have some too :)
There are some folks who are trying to find out what the community wants - a committee has formed from Common Bond and a few others, such as myself - the idea is to do a needs/wants assessment and go from there. If there are those on here who would be interested in joining that group do let me know and we can make it happen.
My hunch is that the posters on this thread (and probably others) would be a good group to begin with. Obviously, we've cared enough to write about the question :)
Community is about people, not places. There's a long list of gay clubs and organizations in Albuquerque. The Wilde Bunch (GLB square dance), NM Outdoors and ABQMen (both on Facebook), the Car Club, Country Western and Line Dancing (weekly at Sidewinders), NM Gay Men's Chorus, Gay Bowling League, the GLBT chamber of commerce and so on. I think the problem is that many GLB people want to have 'community' but don't want to join anything that is already ongoing. The question then is - what WOULD they join or become involved in? And are they willing to start those groups?

There's also a general issue these days that more people are isolating themselves at home, preferring online 'social networking' rather than face-to-face meetings.

A GLB community center would add more groups and meetings, but it wouldn't equal community to those who are reluctant to get involved in the activities.

Vince, you might perhaps want to just go introduce yourself to groups at the ASC, rather than waiting for an introduction. An opening of "Hi, I'm new here, and I was interested in your conversation about community - is there one?" might have been a good opener. I don't care for the ASC myself because of the smoke, but I've found people there welcoming.

There's a slightly different discussion that would be interesting - that of assimilation. in the 80s, we had a very much more active community based around the fact that we were generally excluded from str8 organizations; but now we are welcomed more generally, and the energy that once was our separate community has somewhat dissipated. I'm not sure that's necessarily been a good change for us.
Good thoughts, Danny.

I suppose using an ice breaker is a good tactic, not my strong suit. A new environment or new people can be a bit overwhelming. Not an insurmountable task by any stretch of the imagination but a task nonetheless.

As to place, perhaps this is why Common Bond is now a virtual community center and there isn't a "place" per se. I think my question is slowly being answered because there are a lot of social events/activities in town - trouble is they aren't widely known. I think that's what this group is about, communicating what there is that people might enjoy.

I think about your last line a lot and its interesting that being LBGT is slowing being institutionalized, I agree, I'm not sure this is necessarily a good change.

I'm going to put this phrase out there: post gay

As a friend of mine put it "...with sexuality, what is the activity? What is the basis? Unless it's a political meeting or providing a substitute family for holiday meals, or a sex party, what is the point?"

I think that there is a lack of a fight going on with us who are middle to upper class, who are educated, etc. We are already okay with ourselves, and we have friends and family that are okay with us. Where is the fight? Where is the struggle? Where is the problem to be solved?

The problem for me is meeting potential partners, guys I would like to make a life with. I might be picky, and if I'm picky, I have to work harder at finding someone. Nonetheless, I am more than likely going to find an interest group, political or otherwise, that includes a gay man, than find a group of gay men that includes someone with my own interests.

I'm not going to make any friends saying this, and this is my personal rant (something that I should trademark) but Albuquerque is full of people doing their own thing, and on top of that, there is a real lack of leadership that brings people together and gets them talking to one another, finding common ground. Albuquerque is about being independent, being who we are and doing what we want. I have run into many situations in the gay community where the leaders are all about what they want, actively alienate people, and then cry out "What is wrong with the gay community."

There are no leaders here, there are no diplomats. There isn't anyone who is actively asking the community what they want or need.

To be fair, I have been on the other side of that. There are some times, where in my role of being a leader, I have people who ask me for the impossible, who have no context, and are ready to pounce when I have to explain the context.

Meat of my rant: If you are not asking questions, finding out where people are coming from, and trying to find a place where everyone can work together, you are part of the problem. If you don't believe that we can figure out a way to work together, leave your cynical ass at home. We don't need your laziness clouding the waters.

If you want community, then learn how to bring people together. Learn where people are coming from, find out what their concerns are, and then from that informed place, encourage people to work together.
Hi Daniel, thanks for the post-gay site. In my mind being gay is partly about sex and sexuality but really, isn't being gay about one's world vision? Isn't my being gay how I see, understand and interpret the world? For me it clouds everything from my chats with secretaries to making decisions about beliefs and conscience and choice. So its really a much larger scope that outlined (to me). But it's all food for discussion and this is always good.

As far as leadership in Albuquerque - I can't speak to that. I wouldn't know where to begin or who the "leaders" are. I suppose they are in a happy little universe somewhere that I have yet to orbit into. When I find them I hope they are big and bright stars and not the dark holes you described. Time will tell. And as for independence, isn't this a trait of the Wild West? True for every State west of the Mississippi? I always thought so, could be wrong. Wouldn't be the first time that's for sure.

I do of course enjoy that simple fact that something prompted you to reply. And isn't this really what the topic was about? Listening and finding out what the needs are, if any?

Welcome to the discussion! And dispite your previous comment - you probably made a lot of friends because of this post. Good for you, good for us. Thanks.


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