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Fri Feb 8, 2019, 04:31 AM

Remembering the gay bar inferno that most people have forgotten

The 2016 massacre at Pulse in Orlando was, at the time, the worst mass shooting in US history. Most of those killed were members of the LGBTI community. Gay people across the world remember and mark the tragedy.

However, it wasn’t the first time that dozens of people have been killed in a gay bar in the US.

The arson attack on the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans in 1973 killed 32 people. Despite this, outside of Louisiana, the world has largely forgotten about it.

It happened at a time when politicians were far less likely to condemn the deaths of LGBTI people. Indeed, decades passed before the city of New Orleans erected a permanent memorial to this tragic event.

February is LGBT+ History Month in the UK. To coincide with this, a documentary, Upstairs Inferno, is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video. The award-winning film explores the full, tragic story – including interviews with former bar regulars and survivors.

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Reply Remembering the gay bar inferno that most people have forgotten (Original post)
Behind the Aegis Feb 2019 OP
Control-Z Feb 2019 #1
Berlin Expat Feb 2019 #2
mountain grammy Feb 2019 #3
Scarsdale Feb 2019 #5
Roy Rolling Feb 2019 #4

Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 04:49 AM

1. For what it's worth

I have never forgotten. I can't imagine I ever will.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 05:41 AM

2. A horrific tragedy

From what I recall, the police strongly suspected an occasional patron of the bar was responsible for the inferno; he'd been 86'd earlier that evening after starting a fight in the bar, and apparently, he confessed (more than once) to a friend that he started the fire with lighter fluid and a match, but he never expected the fire to get out of control the way it did.....he was pissed off over having been kicked out.

The suspect committed suicide in November 1974 and the case was closed by the state fire marshal in 1980.

If you read up on the case, what's truly sad is that many churches refused to hold memorial services for the dead and many of the victims' bodies were left unclaimed by their families; thanks to the efforts of some anonymous individuals, they were interred in a mass grave at Holt Cemetery, so at the very least, they were given a proper burial.

RIP.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 07:09 AM

3. I remember it well..

and also remember reading that many dead went unclaimed. Just one of the countless events that made me wonder what the hell we are?

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Response to mountain grammy (Reply #3)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 07:30 AM

5. So very sad.

Everyone should be able to live their lives as they choose or I should say as was chosen for them at birth. Why should anyone hide who they truly are? So much hatred has been directed at people for no other reason than being themselves. We have a long way to go before all are treated as equals.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 07:20 AM

4. Remembered

It was an horrific event, the Upstairs Downstairs fire deserves more attention.

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