On February 2nd, nightclub entertainer Jessica Dimon confirmed rumors on her Facebook page that The Dock Complex, an LGBT fixture in Cincinnati for over 30 years, would have to close its doors permanently by June 30th. The news comes after the city of Cincinnati bought the property for future improvements on the Brent Spence Bridge.
For many LGBT individuals, myself included, The Dock was the first gay bar they ever went to. It was the first place that they didn’t feel different from everybody else. Opened in 1984, The Dock was the home of the first gay pride celebration in Cincinnati. Over the years, it has been where many Cincinnati-based drag performers have gotten their start, and continues to be one of the few bars in the city with weekly drag shows.
I first learned of The Dock about a year ago, in February of 2017, when I was researching, last year, on drag bars in Cincinnati that hosted an open stage night, I learned that The Dock is the only one in Cincinnati that does so. So, on the cold night of March 12th, my parents, my best friend, and I drove down to the little hole in the wall under the train tracks. I had a full face of makeup on and I was incredibly nervous. I’ve never felt a bigger rush of excitement than when I pushed open those doors and saw the stage for the first time. The other queens in the dressing room were very nice and supportive, and Jessica Dimon herself told me she wanted to be my mentor. Unfortunately, we had a bit of a falling out in June, and I haven’t been back since.
However, the good memories that I have of performing there for my friends will always live on, long after the building is gone. The Dock is more than a building. It is the community that has gathered there for the past 34 years. It is that community that will keep its spirit alive forever.