GoFundMe repairs vandalism at the Aut Bar--and helps other gay institutions, too.
From the October, 2017 issue
"By the end of the day, I was smiling," says Keith Orr, co-owner of the Aut Bar. On the last Friday in August one or more vandals tore down and destroyed items in the bar's courtyard on Braun Court, including strings of lights, porch trim, rainbow streamers, and the rainbow flag that sang out the bar's identity.
"The monetary damage wasn't that much," Orr says. "But you have that sense of violation--the same sort of feeling you get when your car was broken into. It was a violation," he says, of the gay community's "safe space."
When word got out the next day, Orr and his husband and co-owner, Martin Contreras, were flooded with sympathetic calls and emails from outraged friends, customers, and concerned strangers. State rep Yousef Rabhi set up a GoFundMe.com page with a goal of $2,000. By that evening, it had raised nearly $7,000. That's when Orr started smiling. In mid-September, the tally had topped $13,000, with occasional contributions still trickling in. They'll divvy up the extra funds between two other gay institutions, the Common Language Bookstore and the Jim Toy Community Center.
[Originally published in October, 2017.]
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