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Texas Gay Bar Closure Leaves Community, Employees Devastated

Texas Gay Bar Closure Leaves Community, Employees Devastated

GoFundMe page created after Texas Gay Bar Closure Leaves Community, Employees Devastated

The bar’s former manager has set up a GoFundMe page to help the now-unemployed staff.

The community is reaching out to help employees of a Texas LGBTQ+ bar that closed without warning on New Year’s Day this year, and you can help contribute, too.

The owner of the Stonewall Warehouse on The Square in San Marcos abruptly closed the local queer landmark on the first day of the new year, leaving employees without a job and patrons with one less safe space.

Local drag queens May Magdalene, Mars, and Veronica Valentine told local ABC affiliate KVUEthat Stonewall Warehouse was more than just a bar to them.

“It almost feels like our childhood home is like being taken away,” May Magdalene said.

“They’re not just bartenders to us,” Mars added. “They’re our family, to the whole staff. We’re all really close to them. So, just that they all got laid off on New Year's Day was really hard.”

Owner Jamie Frailicks said in a statement Stonewall Warehouse was losing money and he feared the response of unhappy employees and patrons if he had provided prior notice to the closure.

“No one wanted a proper farewell for Stonewall more than myself but ultimately the dangers and irresponsibility that come with a staff who may have ‘nothing to lose’ when it comes to running a bar properly would not have been in the best interests of the business, the staff, nor our customers,” Frailicks said in a statement. “The day you announce better be the day you close. This has been my experience and I understand that many may disagree.”

Frailick also took issue with claims he left employees and staff without proper financial compensation with the closure.

“The portrayal that I left the staff ‘high and dry’ is just simply not true,” Frailick said, noting he had promised staff two weeks of severance pay and that the general manager was offered a “healthy amount of money” as well.

In response to the closure, former manager Lena Jacobs created a GoFundMe page (@stonewall-employees-benefit) to help the now-unemployed staff.

“We are devastated at the closure of Stonewall but it has left my entire staff with no income right at the beginning of the month when bills and rent are due,” Jacobs wrote on the GoFundMe page. “I’m doing this to help them while they find new jobs. Anything will help and will be divided evenly to my staff. We are a super close group, these kids were like my kids and I would do anything for them. I’m hoping this will help them even a little bit. Thank you to anyone that contributes it means a lot that the community has rallied behind us in this very sad time.”

Mars said news of the GoFundMe page has spread to New York, and May Magdalene noted that “girls from RuPaul’s Drag Race” have been posting links to the page as well.

So far the page has raised over $8,000, well above the initial goal of $5,000.

And while the Stonewall Warehouse has closed, Valentine said it will not be forgotten anytime soon.

“It will be remembered for a very, very, very long time,” Veronica Valentine said.

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