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New York's Webster Hall was America's first LGBTQ club

NYC was home to the first drag balls in the 1920s

  • Sydney Megan Jow
  • 21 June 2016

While New York City's Webster Hall is well known today for its claim over today's popular music performances that ranges from Boys Noize to The Chainsmokers, the famed venue might have also been the country's very first LGBTQ club.

According to Milk, the first recorded account of gay bars in the US date back to the early 1930s with Oakland's WhiteHouse and New Orleans' Lafitte. Since, places like the Stonewall Inn have become synonymous with New York's LGBTQ culture, but apparently, Webster Hall preceded all of these landmarks by over a decade as it hosted the very first gay events back in the 1910s and '20s.

The first events were actually what would eventually become infamous drag balls that were so wild and rambunctious that the city dubbed the venue 'Devil's Playground'. Partygoers were encouraged to arrive in full drag - a concept considered completely novel during a time when the state of New York had actually banned the appearance or even discussion of gay people in public.

See a rare image of the venue's iconic drag balls from the 1920s below.

[Via: Milk]

Sydney is Mixmag's US Digital Content Editor. Follow her on Twitter here

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