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Food, Friends, and Cocktails…

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Who could ask for anything more? Brunch of Gays hosts monthly meals
by Bradley Donalson
Photos by David Guerra

Established in 2013, the Brunch of Gays fills a deep longing for many LGBT Houstonians: enjoying good food with good people. Brunch is many things—a mash-up of breakfast and lunch, a typically weekend event, and perhaps the gayest meal ever to grace the calendar. Brunch is a tradition dating back to 1895 and Guy Beringer’s essay “Brunch: A Plea,” in which he described brunch as “cheerful, sociable, and inciting. It is talk-compelling. It makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings.”

Baba brunch: (clockwise from top left) Jackie Ritter, Alexandra Santos, Larry Wilkins, and Samir Joza at Baba Yega Cafe.
Baba brunch: (clockwise from top left) Jackie Ritter, Alexandra Santos, Larry Wilkins, and Samir Joza at Baba Yega Cafe.

Upholding this longstanding tradition is the Brunch of Gays, a local organization that dedicates itself to bringing together LGBT individuals. Larry Wilkins, the first vice-president of the organization, says that one of the goals of the organization is “coming together as a community under the umbrella of having a meal.” The brunches are held at different restaurants in Houston, usually in the Montrose or Heights areas. The restaurants chosen have included Baba Yega, Berryhill Baja Grill, Shade, and Canopy. The board gets together to choose the restaurant, selecting gay-friendly or LGBT-owned businesses. The group brunch is always held on the third Sunday of each month at 11:30 a.m., and the locations are posted on the group’s Facebook page about a month in advance.

On average, a diverse group of about 25 people attends the Brunch of Gays event each month. Wilkins boasts that the brunches attract “gay men, lesbians, transgender people, [and] drag queens in full regalia.” Some couples even bring their children, while others use the event as a professional networking opportunity. Some of the people who come to brunch are in their 50s or 60s, while others are in their 20s. The group is about inclusiveness, concentrating on the social and community aspects of coming together for a meal.

But if you think this group is all about cocktails and carbs, you’d be mistaken. The Brunch of Gays is proud to give back to the community in more ways than just providing a safe space to eat. Every November, they get together to host a canned-food drive that benefits the Houston Food Bank. And every other month, the group partners with Guava Lamp to put on the Brunch of Gays Art Show. The group connects with artists in the community and offers them a free space to show up to six pieces of their work. In addition to providing the space, Brunch of Gays also offers hors d’oeuvres and light refreshments for the event, and cocktails can be purchased at the bar.

The group provides a service to the community, Wilkins says, by offering a place for those who want to socialize beyond the bar or club scene. “There’s a lot of potential with this type of group,” he says. “We’re constantly looking ahead to what we can do for the gay community.”

And the socializing often extends beyond the brunch itself. Many people who attend walk away with new friends . . . sometimes walking toward the bar to continue the fun!

More information about the Brunch of Gays can be found on their Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Brunch-Of-Gays/439810899441487?ref=br_tf.

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Bradley Donalson

Bradley Donalson is a frequent contributor to OutSmart magazine.
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