Watch: Albuquerque's LGBTQ Community Rally to Save Beloved Social Club

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday October 20, 2020

Members of the Albuquerque Social Club
Members of the Albuquerque Social Club  (Source:Screencap / KOB4)

A longtime nexus for the LGBTQ community in New Mexico state capitol, the Albuquerque Social Club is a landmark that's distinguished by its distinctive purple paint job. In a grim turn, the club was hit so hard by the COVID-19 pandemic that its board decided to shutter the establishment. But the local community wouldn't hear of it and responded with hard work and funding to the tune of $60,000, enough to rescue the beloved institution, reports news station KOB4.

"It's another great example of how the LGBTQ community and its allies come together" in times of trouble, the news station noted.

The report also hailed the LGBTQ community for its "fierce generosity and its ability to thrive in the worst of situations," enabling a rare happy outcome for a story of pandemic hardship.

Flashing back what times were like at the start of the Social Club's three-decade history, the news report replayed a scene from an earlier era. "Some of these people didn't want their faces photographed today," the narration to the archival clip said. "That's because they're homosexual - and afraid of being found out."

Those fears don't hold any longer. With the Social Club in danger of closing, Albuquerque's LGBTQ community showed up in force, unleashing a "tsunami of generosity," the report said. Fundraising efforts of all sorts — including car washing events and the sales of tamales — secured The Social Club's finances.

"The social club — or just 'The Soch' — dates back to a time when being 'out' wasn't a safe option for people," KOB4 reports.

The establishment remains an important touchstone for Albuquerque's LGBTQ residents.

"The history that is here is so important," board member Gail Starr told the news channel. "Can we save the social club...? Absolutely. I was completely on board."

Watch the KOB4 news clip below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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