Updated: August 26, 2020 07:15 AM
Created: August 25, 2020 08:47 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- The Albuquerque Social Club, which has been a safe space for the LGBTQ community for decades, is closing.
The announcement came as a shock to members and performers of the club.
"Whenever you would walk in there, like, people would just be there with open arms and be very welcoming," said Faustino Gallegos.
Artists said the venue allowed them to express themselves, and inspire others around them.
"It was a magical place," Brad Howard. "It was a place where I could just go and be immersed."
In addition to providing a space for entertainment and community, the club raised a lot of money.
"We've lost a very large fundraising arm of our community. We've lost, not just a playground, but a place where people can come and learn social skills, learn how to interact, learn how to dress, learn how to put on makeup, learn how to put on events," said Renato Estacio.
The Social Club's Board of Directors said it had suffered from debt prior to the pandemic, but the closure made matters worse.
As a business and a social club, ASC was not immune to hardships, recessions, and of course, the pandemic. It is public knowledge that we suffered from debt, and prior to the shut down, ASC was closing in on eradicating that debt. Unfortunately, the state mandated closure came at a horrible time. We actively tried to apply for grants and loans and were ineligible. Business expenses still had to be paid, but with no income, those expenses were the priority with the hope that we would have the opportunity to reopen. That opportunity has not arrived and this has forced us to make the difficult decision to close the doors to avoid any further debt. - Social Club Board of Directors.
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