We only spent one night in Beaumont but I got a good chance to check things out the next morning though. The night that we got in town however, the four of us just wanted to grab a drink so we headed downtown to find an open bar with some locals to chat with. Our search became extremely limited when we only found one bar open, this little country gay bar called Beaumont Patio and Bar. We walked in and were welcomed by a large empty bar area with a few people carrying things out to their car. We sat, ordered a round from the bartender and waited. The bartender was the owner, Chris, and she welcomed us and chatted with us for a bit but we didn’t get any information until Rhonda sat with us on the outside patio.
Rhonda grew up in Beaumont and works part time in the medical field and the rest of her time cleaning vacation houses for a friend. When we asked her why there was nothing open, she said that there was really no reason for anything to be open. As for the gay bar, she told us everyone had
Rhonda was our welcome wagon into Beaumont
started to go to a new spot down the road. That is how things work in the LGBT community in Beaumont, when something new opens, the old ends up shutting down.
I find great sadness in this because if a community is working towards the same goal, then why isn’t there more cooperation? This isn’t just for the LGBT community, this is for all communities. In order to get things accomplished, we have to find common ground in order to move forward together.
In this example, yes I realize that these are business’ in competition, but there is still a way to make it work so that the entire community can flourish. I take this from the example that Madison, WI made. When I moved back to Madison in the fall of 2006, there were still only two GLBT friendly bars. They were always competing against and defamating each other. Now, in 2011, there are five successful gay bars that all have good standing in the entire city of Madison, find pride in holding winter dart leagues and summer softball tournaments and continue to build a larger and more successful pride celebration each summer. That is a community working together. We all have to find common ground and we can do it and I believe that Beaumont’s LGBT community will. Everyone can take a lesson from Rhonda and “Just find it through love”