COLORADO SPRINGS — Community members held a fundraiser on Sunday to help expand "safe, queer spaces" in Colorado Springs. At Rico's cafe and wine bar, they held an open mic, queer art night, and fundraiser for ICONS, the gay bar.
"Since we shut down, we were unfortunately the last true gay bar," said ICONS owner Josh Franklin.
For context, Colorado Springs has two popular gay bars: Club Q, and ICONS. Since the tragic mass shooting at Club Q last year, they've been closed and are working to re-open in a new location. Then, nearly two weeks ago, a fire on Bijou Street caused ICONS to close their doors for smoke damage.
Singer Zeth Gross was at Rico's cafe for the open mic night and
says she grew up going to Club Q ever since she turned 18.
"It helped me discover myself so much. It's the reason why I am the person I am today," she said.
Gross says she, along with many other members of the LGBTQ Plus community, are dissatisfied with the lack of options for places to go in Colorado Springs right now.
"There's no like...actually queer bar in town right now," said Gross.
"I'm used to cities of our size having a whole gay-borhood, with lots of establishments that support each other and support the community at large. So I think the more the merrier, to be honest," continued Franklin.
While ICONS hopes to open within the next few months and The Q, the new location of Club Q, plans to open in January 2024, some organizers want to start something new.
Brittany Carl is part of the movement to create The Pink House, a community center for BIPOC LGBTQ+ people to drink coffee, host educational discussions, grow food, and support local businesses.
So far, they've fundraised more than $2,000.
"It's been really cool to see how everybody comes together, and the way that people are here for each other. Like, we're not giving up on them and they're not giving up on themselves, and they're not alone at all," said Carl.
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