BALTIMORE, MD—An innocent night on the town turned traumatic Friday night for Canton resident Alex Shafely when he and a friend, Shaun Livingston, ventured to the Mt. Vernon neighborhood for a night of fun. Leaving the confines of Canton for the first time since moving to Baltimore in June, Shafely chose to ignore his friends’ warnings of “some serious gayness” in Mt. Vernon.
Livingston, a friend from college, was visiting from out of town. “Since my friend was in town, I figured why not try something new? To explore the city a little. Canton can get old, ya know?” said Shafely. Alex and Shaun took a cab from O’Donnell St. to the Washington monument in Mt. Vernon. “I had no idea where we were going, but there’s lots of shops and restaurants in the area, so it seemed like a fun place to hang out.”
It wasn’t long before Alex noticed something was amiss. “I was looking around and I realized that nobody was wearing khaki pants or polo shirts. I mean, I’ve been to DC before, so I guess I’m cool with that.”
The two friends walked around for thirty minutes, unable to decide on a bar. “We couldn’t tell which bars were the gay bars and which ones were the straight bars. So we just picked a place. I think it had an animal name—it sounded fun” said Livingston, who was making his first trip to Baltimore.
Their choice proved fateful, as they entered Hippo, a club known for being extremely gay. Once they were inside, the two boys were disoriented by what they described as “overwhelming gayness.” “There were men running around with their shirts off, dudes making out at the bar, guys buying us drinks. I mean, I’m totally cool with being gay, but kissing in public? That’s disgusting” said a clearly shook-up Shafely.
His friend seemed more receptive to the experience. “I kinda enjoyed it actually” said Shaun. “When else do you get free drinks like that? And some dude asked if he could blow me in the bathroom. I was like ‘no way’ but it made me feel strange, like hey this guy thinks I’m hot! Does that make me gay?”
Shafely said that he would consider returning to Mt. Vernon, but only during the day.