THE SAINT NIGHTCLUB 432 LAFAYETTE STREET, NEW YORK, NY OPEN 1980-1988 (NOW CONDOS, PICTURED) “‘The Saint was 95 percent white gay men’, notes Sharon White, a DJ at the Pavilion on Fire Island as well as the Saint, and one of the tiny number of women to receive membership status. ‘Everything else fell into the remaining five percent, whether it be women, blacks or Latinos’. The absence of black, Latino and Asian men was in fact less pronounced than it had been at the Tenth Floor and Flamingo. Terry Sherman, a Saint DJ, notes that a black friend of his called Duane was ‘one of Bruce’s regular dancing partners’, and adds that during the period he had three black boyfriends, all of whom would head to the Saint, irrespective of whether he was DJing that night or not. ‘It was a bigger club, so there was more room, so of course you saw more blacks’, says the Peruvian-born Jorge La Torre, a regular at the Tenth Floor and Flamingo before he defected to the Saint. ‘I think black men also felt more welcome, and you began to see white men with black lovers. But if you saw a handful of black people that was a lot’. If the low turnout indicates that many black men still didn’t feel welcome, it remained the case that to a significant extent the Saint and the Garage subdivided according to a combination of sexual attraction and musical preference (with black and Latino gay men heading to the Garage if their sexual preference was for black and Latino men, etc.). Moreover, the hierarchies that kept poorer black and Latino dancers out of the Saint can in part be attributed to what Sherman calls ‘societal racism’, and not Mailman’s need to introduce a business model that would enable him to repay the approximate $3–6m cost of opening the venue. ‘Should Bruce have initiated an affirmative action policy like “White Males $10, African Americans Free” and put on chartered buses from 125th Street, Bed Stuy [Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn] and the Bronx to the Lower East Side?’ asks Sherman, who struck up a strong friendship with Mailman. ‘Maybe. But Bruce didn’t care who came and there was no racial profiling [or membership policy that excluded black and Latino men] specific to the Saint.’ There was, however, sex profiling, with women excluded on the grounds that they would compromise the gay male dance ritual if they were allowed to occupy anything more than the very outer margins of the venue. According to Leslie, who previously DJed at 12 West, a comparatively mixed gay private party located underneath Westbound Highway on West Twelfth Street, the policy grew out of Mailman’s belief that ‘gay men danced well together’ and that women would disrupt this collective energy because they used their bodies differently.” (Tim Lawrence, The Forging of a White Gay Aesthetic at the Saint, 1980-84, 2013)

THE SAINT NIGHTCLUB 432 LAFAYETTE STREET, NEW YORK, NY OPEN 1980-1988 (NOW CONDOS, PICTURED) “‘The Saint was 95 percent white gay men’, notes Sharon White, a DJ at the Pavilion on Fire Island as well as the Saint, and one of the tiny number of women to receive membership status. ‘Everything else fell into the remaining five percent, whether it be women, blacks or Latinos’. The absence of black, Latino and Asian men was in fact less pronounced than it had been at the Tenth Floor and Flamingo. Terry Sherman, a Saint DJ, notes that a black friend of his called Duane was ‘one of Bruce’s regular dancing partners’, and adds that during the period he had three black boyfriends, all of whom would head to the Saint, irrespective of whether he was DJing that night or not. ‘It was a bigger club, so there was more room, so of course you saw more blacks’, says the Peruvian-born Jorge La Torre, a regular at the Tenth Floor and Flamingo before he defected to the Saint. ‘I think black men also felt more welcome, and you began to see white men with black lovers. But if you saw a handful of black people that was a lot’. If the low turnout indicates that many black men still didn’t feel welcome, it remained the case that to a significant extent the Saint and the Garage subdivided according to a combination of sexual attraction and musical preference (with black and Latino gay men heading to the Garage if their sexual preference was for black and Latino men, etc.). Moreover, the hierarchies that kept poorer black and Latino dancers out of the Saint can in part be attributed to what Sherman calls ‘societal racism’, and not Mailman’s need to introduce a business model that would enable him to repay the approximate $3–6m cost of opening the venue. ‘Should Bruce have initiated an affirmative action policy like “White Males $10, African Americans Free” and put on chartered buses from 125th Street, Bed Stuy [Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn] and the Bronx to the Lower East Side?’ asks Sherman, who struck up a strong friendship with Mailman. ‘Maybe. But Bruce didn’t care who came and there was no racial profiling [or membership policy that excluded black and Latino men] specific to the Saint.’ There was, however, sex profiling, with women excluded on the grounds that they would compromise the gay male dance ritual if they were allowed to occupy anything more than the very outer margins of the venue. According to Leslie, who previously DJed at 12 West, a comparatively mixed gay private party located underneath Westbound Highway on West Twelfth Street, the policy grew out of Mailman’s belief that ‘gay men danced well together’ and that women would disrupt this collective energy because they used their bodies differently.” (Tim Lawrence, The Forging of a White Gay Aesthetic at the Saint, 1980-84, 2013)