Restaurants Down the Rabbit Hole and Cantera have both decided to support Durango’s LGBTQ+ community and get involved in this year’s Pride celebration.
Both eateries will put on events during this week’s festival. Down the Rabbit Hole will host the Pride Social on Saturday and a Pride Brunch on Sunday. Cantera will cater the Pride Festival on Saturday, and will be the front bar at the end of the Pride March.
“We are open and welcome to all,” said Aaron Brandes, Cantera’s general manager. He said the restaurant takes a stand on acceptance, love and unity. And the business is not alone.
“We welcome everyone in our business – we do not stand for anyone being negative toward anyone,” said Tony Lake, general manager for Down the Rabbit Hole.
“Pride is a celebration. It is about using your voice to say ‘This is who I am,’” said Jake Riggs, a board member with the Four Corners Alliance for Diversity and one of Pride’s event planners. “There is no wrong or right way to be yourself.”
Despite the emphasis on positive celebration, Riggs recognizes that a trend toward negativity still exists.
“It’s a very tense atmosphere,” he said. “Durango gets to express itself better than other places ... (but) there is still so much that people don’t understand. That is why (events like these) are important – it’s not just a bunch of parties.”
Riggs said people need to remember events in which people stood up for their rights, such as the 1969 Stonewall riots, of which this year’s Pride commemorates the 50th anniversary.
“Support from vendors and sponsors helps us expand our reach and save lives,” he said. “There are people who feel isolated, alone. Events like Pride help reach those people and let them know that ... everyone has their avenue to help celebrate love and individuality.”
Brandes said that LGBTQ+ issues “hit close to home for everybody” because members of the community are part community. He said Cantera has been carrying the torch from the Lost Dog, the bar and lounge that previously occupied its location, by hosting LGBTQ+ events and being LGBTQ+ friendly.
“There is always going to be change – It will always scare people. What are you going to do?” Lake said. “Are you going to stay a good person or are you going to let fear and insecurity rule you? Embrace it and have fun!”