The first time I went to a gay club was nothing like how it is in the popular imagination. You know, those EDM-soundtracked visions of gay men experiencing a sudden sense of belonging and liberation. Then they rip their shirts off and dance like no one’s watching. My night out was awkward, uneventful. Oh, and white. Very white. I was 19 and a sophomore at New York University. My roommate, a gay white boy, invited me out on a lacklustre Thursday with an obvious, slightly condescending, gay-fairy-godmother foundation to his actions. “I can’t believe you haven’t gone out to a gay club yet,” he’d been saying to me for months. “Let’s change that.” So we went to the lamest event you can think of: an 18+ night [New York’s drinking age is 21]. I can’t remember the name of the spot, or what Manhattan gaybourhood it was in, but I can remember how dark the space was and how chaotic things felt. There was so much to take in: Muscled go-go boys dancing in jockstraps, muscled bartenders pouring drinks, and, again, muscled patrons standing around and devouring each other with their eyes. Something felt off about the whole experience. Like everyone had received the memo to spend their adolescent years working out and not dancing to Rihanna’s Loud album (a masterwork of pop music, BTW). No one tried to dance with me or flirt with me or leave with me. My roommate and I just sat in a booth and talked.