The Holiday Spirit Worth Celebrating

Jim Sheppard. Photo by Chad Isaiah.

Fall and the Halloween season are my absolute favorite parts of the year. The crisp morning and evening air, warm afternoons, and of course pumpkin spice. For as long as I can remember, I have loved Fall and Halloween. Many of my most vivid and formative memories are from this time of year. I know that this feeling is shared with a large portion of our LGBTQ Community.

As much as this time of year makes me happy, there is a sadness that comes with it. Halloween kicks off a string of holidays and events that are not always the easiest for our community. The overwhelming idealization of Thanksgivings and Christmases, past and present, spent with loving families blasted at us by every channel, website, streaming service, and billboard can be depressing to those of us who are unable to spend our holidays with family or friends. This is especially true when those family members and friends are inaccessible to us because they have abandoned us for being ourselves.

The amazing thing about the LGBTQ Community is we always show up for our own. There’s a reason that for decades gay bars like Brewer’s and Lucky’s have been open on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. When there was nowhere else to go and no one else to wish you a happy holiday, they were open and ready to love you and feed you regardless of who you are. That’s community. That is the holiday spirit worth celebrating.

So, swing by Brewer’s and see Carol on Thanksgiving. Stop into Lucky’s on Christmas and wave to Nancy. Support your local gay bars, they bars, and LGBTQ-owned businesses. They are a pivotal part of our community and we need them for many more decades to come.

Happy Holidays.


Jim Sheppard is a resident of Downtown Pittsburgh. Jim served as a Commissioner on the City of Pittsburgh Human Relations Commission which investigates instances of discrimination in the City of Pittsburgh and recommends necessary protections in our City Code to provide all people in Pittsburgh with equal opportunities. He has worked for Pittsburgh City Council, the Pittsburgh Mayor, and the Allegheny County Controller. For five years he was the President of the Steel City Stonewall Democrats. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. (He / Him / His)