Since Phoenix's birth, there have been spaces for the LGBTQ+ community to meet and thrive – but much of that history has been erased. Nonetheless, there are spots that still remain today. Here's where to find some of Phoenix's LGBTQ+ history.
The Dressing Room
Since the 1970s, the 307 Lounge on Roosevelt Row was known as a LGBTQ+ friendly space, and even more well known for its drag shows. The 307 Lounge building at 222 E. Roosevelt was demolished in 2015 to make way for an apartment complex, but a plaque commemorates the history of the space. Next door, however, you can eat and drink where the drag performers would change, now aptly named The Dressing Room.
The Coronado Neighborhood
This hip historic neighborhood near downtown was Phoenix's first and perhaps only "gay ghetto." In the 1970s, middle class gay white men began moving to the area and renovated many of the mid-century homes. The neighborhood – which encompasses 7th to 16th streets on the west and east, and Thomas to McDowell roads on the north and south sides – has become a highly sought after area for Phoenix residents, thanks to its beautiful 1920s ranches and 1940s bungalows, as well as popular eateries like Tuck Shop and The Coronado PHX.
Corona Ranch and Rodeo Grounds was home to Arizona's first gay rodeo in 1984, and at the time, Arizona was only the fifth state to host an event of this kind. The Arizona Gay Rodeo Association, which was one of the founding members of the International Gay Rodeo Association, is still going strong 30-plus years later.
At the same time the Arizona Gay Rodeo began, John King and Kenny Cunitz opened Charlie's Phoenix, a country-themed gay bar in Phoenix's Melrose District. The nightclub is still one of Phoenix's most popular bars to go two-stepping, catch a drag show, or spend Sunday funday on the patio.
Casa de Cristo
In 1975, the state legislature introduced a bill to ban same-sex marriage in Arizona. This led to a protest from the LGTBQ+ community, including a marriage between Allen Kather and Wally Conoway by Reverend Paul Brenton of Metropolitan Community Church. Because of the church's support for the community, it was burnt down in 1978. LGBTQ+ activists banded together and pooled funds to build the church in a new location, renaming it Casa de Cristo. The church has been and still is a strong advocate for LGBTQ+ equality today.