Local gay bar reacts to tragedy: ‘It could have been us’

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The impact of the Orlando attack is felt right here in Richmond.

Alvion Davenport, the director of entertainment at Godfrey’s, a gay bar in downtown Richmond, said what happened in Orlando had a direct impact on everyone.

“It could have been us,”  Davenport said.

The staff at Godfrey’s continued with their normal duties but Davenport said it was an emotional day.

“Even with us performing and doing both of the brunch shows this morning it was kind of rough and emotional on us,” Davenport admitted . “We were kind of looking over our shoulders.”

It has been a long-standing notion that gay bars and night clubs are one of the few places where members of the LGBT community can feel safe.

“We are kind of close-knit,”  Davenport said. “We are more than friends around here, we are actually like family.”

Now this attack in Orlando destroys that idea of safety.

“If someone invades your home it leaves you feeling helpless, it leaves you feeling unsafe,”  Davenport said. “So that’s the same thing with us around here. This is home to a lot of people, a lot of LGBT members of our communities.”

Jack Kooncs, a manager at Godfrey’s, said the safety of their staff and guests is always the number one priority.

“We don’t tolerate any type of abuse or negative behavior in the club,”  Kooncs said.

Kooncs said they will continue to practice strict safety procedures to ensure customer and staff safety.

“A lot of our customers are regulars, that are here every week and we want to make sure that they will continually feel safe here,”  Kooncs said.

Though when it comes to outside of the bar, Davenport said dealing with hate crimes is nothing new.

“We’ve been fighting with these things for years so it is nothing new to us but it’s the level that’s new to us,”  Davenport replied.

Now, Davenport is hoping that national attention will make a change.

“Stop labeling them as straight or gay or black or white or transgender or this or this,”  Davenport said. “People are people. Get rid of the labels and put more love in your life.”

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