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At the time, it was truly dilapidated; giant rats running everywhere once the sun went down and wooden piers that were just falling apart.But most importantly, that was the only safe space for a lot of young LGBT people.Coming out in New York City in the late ’90s was a really exciting place to be in my mind.From the earliest age that I was allowed, I would hop on the bus and the train and head down to the West Village and to nearby neighborhoods with my queer youth friends, and we'd hang out in Meatpacking.Kids who were rejected from their homes, who were homeless—I at that time had not come out to my family yet—it was a space where we could be ourselves.We would go down Christopher Street and just hoot and holler, and make a ton of noise.
Growing up in New York City compared to any other city in our country is so unique.
It wasn't necessarily okay to be gay at that time, even in New York City.
This was the ’90s, but it still felt okay to explore who I was because I knew that there were different people all around me.
That not only were we in some cases kicked out of our homes or rejected, in other ways by society and our family, but now the one space we've been gathering in, we were no longer allowed to be a part of either.
It felt in a lot of ways like the system is just really stacked against us.
It’s always been a part of my narrative, especially my dad, who always joked, "Be nice to your brother! They like to go to Broadway shows and museums, and yet, there’s this thread in my life, this through-line of urban hick.