Reaching out to the LGBT crowd in Steamboat |

Reaching out to the LGBT crowd in Steamboat

Man organizing coffee shop event for lesbian, gay communities

Mike Lawrence

— A Saturday night event is geared toward local communities that Jacob Gunville thinks often struggle with social constraints in Steamboat Springs.

Gunville said he's hosting the two-hour event at Steaming Bean Coffee, in downtown Steamboat, as the start of an effort to provide more social outlets for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender — or LGBT — crowds.

"I didn't feel that there was a place in Steamboat where that kind of community could come together and meet one another," Gunville said Wednesday. "It's just so that people who live that kind of lifestyle can have a safe place to come be together and be themselves … without having to worry about social restraints that might limit them."

Because, he said, those social restraints exist in Steamboat.

"Oh, totally," he said. "As much as people think this is a very open community where you can speak your mind and be yourself, it's really not at all."

Gunville said he received a few disparaging "looks and comments" from some local businesses when asking them to hang fliers for Saturday's event.

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"It's really not as open a community as people think," he said.

Gunville, 21, said he moved to Steamboat 3 1/2 years ago from Milwaukee. He works at Steaming Bean and is the assistant manager at Great Outdoor Clothing, which he said is closing this weekend downtown.

Tracy Barnett, of Mainstreet Steamboat Springs, confirmed that closure Wednesday.

Gunville said he's starting a new job at the downtown Space Station gas station and convenience store and has one credit left to complete his outdoor education degree at Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat.

Steamboat resident Caitlin Scanlon and accountant Clark Davidson bought Steaming Bean Coffee on July 1. Scanlon, who previously was Steaming Bean's manager, equated Saturday's event with CMC's coffee house nights and other events with local groups.

"We're open to doing evening events like this," Scanlon said. "It's a nice evening venue, and it's open to anyone."

Gunville said he'd be pouring coffee as a volunteer Saturday night.

"I'm not getting paid for it — I'm just doing it because I feel like it's something that needs to get done," he said about the event, scheduled for 8 to 10 p.m.

"Going through high school and stuff I never felt any sense of community or anything like that. I just want to make (the event) available to everyone, especially younger people, who live in this town and don't think they'd be accepted by anyone.

"Everyone is welcome, even if you're not part of the LGBT community. You're welcome to come to the coffee shop, drink coffee and meet someone new in Steamboat."

If you go

What: Social gathering for the local gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities

When: 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday

Where: Steaming Bean Coffee in Old Town Square, on Lincoln Avenue at Seventh Street in downtown Steamboat Springs

Call: Jacob Gunville at 414-870-1879 for more information.

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