LGBT Game Face
It's easy to navigate the city's LGBT scene. Just roll the dice and make your move.
By Brandon Burt
Whether you’re a newcomer fresh off the plane, or a Utah native fresh out of the closet, Salt Lake City’s vibrant and diverse LGBT scene has something for everybody—so much to offer, in fact, that it can be difficult to know where to begin. To help get you started, here are just a few of the community’s many available resources. Ready? Let’s play!
There’s no better place to begin than the Utah Pride Center (361 N. 300 West, 801-539-8800, UtahPrideCenter.org)—the epicenter of Salt Lake City’s LGBT community. A gathering place for advocacy organizations, support groups and a vast array of networking and social groups, the center is home to Café Marmalade, a full-service coffee shop and an LGBTQ library.
It’s your move: Want to shake things up? Work with smart, passionate folks impacting the lives of LGBT families? Move forward to The Political Swamp.
The Political Swamp
This is the place where real-life policy changes are made. It’s easy to get bogged down in conflict here, but that’s how democracy works. Equality Utah (175 W. 200 South, Suite 3001, 801-355-3479, EqualityUtah.org) focuses on ending discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. If you’re of a more partisan bent, you can join the fray with Utah Stonewall Democrats (UtahStonewallDems.org) or Utah Log Cabin Republicans (LogCabinUtah.org).
After all that political wangling, you’re probably eager to cleanse your soul. Move forward to The Spiritual Realm.
The Spiritual Realm
Sacred Light of Christ Church (823 S. 600 East, 801-595-0052, SLCChurch.org) has long been a vibrant, welcoming congregation for LGBT Christians. Gay and lesbian Latter-day Saints find respite and inspiration with Affirmation Gay & Lesbian Mormons (801-486-6977, Affirmation.org). Gay men can attain a magical connection through retreats and meditation with Queer Spirit (QueerSpirit.org). Many congregations may not be primarily gay, but are welcoming to the LGBT community, including First Baptist Church of Salt Lake City (777 S. 1300 East, 801-582-4921, FirstBaptist-SLC.org) and South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society (6876 S. Highland Drive, 801-944-9723, SVUUS.org).
Now that you’ve done your duty to God, it’s probably time to go shopping, right? Advance to The Commercial Zone.
The Commercial Zone
Whether you’re a fashionista or a fashionisto, we’ve got a shop for you. Spark/Cockers (629 S. State, 801-467-1574) is mainly for the style-conscious men; women will prefer Q Clothing Boutique (215 E. 300 South, 801-474-2000, QClothing.com). Kitschy gifts, surprising artifacts and perhaps somewhat-naughty items are on sale at Cahoots Cards & Gifts (878 E. 900 South, 801-538-0606) and Mischievous Cards & Gifts (559 S. 300 West, 801-530-3100). For us thrifty folks, the treasures at Our Store (358 S. 300 East, 801-819-7884, YourThriftAlternative.org) offer an attractive and affordable shopping option.
All dressed up with nowhere to go? Don’t sit there alone, decked out in your new finery—just move forward to The Social Whirl.
The Social Whirl
What would Salt Lake City be without The Royal Court of the Golden Spike Empire (RCGSE.org)? That crazy crew of drag queens and other sparkly individuals puts on fabulous charitable fundraisers. Furry male specimens will feel at home with the friendly Utah Bear Alliance (UtahBears.com). And, each June, our city is home to “the running of the gays”—the biggest regional LGBT event, courtesy of the dedicated volunteers and staff at the Utah Pride Festival (UtahPrideFestival.org).
It’s time to ask, “Why don’t we go and get a drink somewhere?” Move forward to The Club District.
The Club District
Get ready to match wits with the smart set at Jam (751 N. 300 West, 801-891-1162, JamSLC.com)—a nice, bright place with nice, bright people. Club Try-Angles (251 W. 900 South, 801-364-3203, ClubTry-Angles.com) is the spot if you’re in mood to relax—come for the friendly neighborhood crowd, stay for the beer-soaked weenies! You can get your cowboy on at the “cozy, country, cruisy” Trapp (102 S. 600 West, 801-531-8727, TheTrappSLC.com). The sisters are doing it for themselves at the Paper Moon (3737 S. State, 801-713-0678). Many clubs offer special gay nights, such as Fusion Saturdays at Metro Bar (540 W. 200 South) and PÜRE Fridays SLC at Club Sound (579 W. 200 South, 801-328-0255, 18+, Facebook.com/ClubSoundSLC).
If you’ve played your cards right and made all the best moves, you might’ve met the love of your life. Congratulations! Unfortunately, Utah marriage law discriminates against gay and lesbian families—but why not honor your commitment with the closest thing to marriage equity Salt Lake City can offer? Advance to The City & County Building.
The City & County Building
Since 2008, Salt Lake City has allowed same-sex couples (and other interdependent pairs) to enter their names into its Mutual Commitment Registry. Mutually committed couples receive no real legal benefits beyond what employers are willing to offer, but they do get a certificate suitable for framing, and a certain sense of satisfaction.
Brandon Burt is a freelance writer and author of Brandon’s Big Gay Blog.