Monday, October 16, 2017

Chuck Tierney Owned One of Pittsburgh's First Gay Bars

Chuck Tierney (right) recently died. He and Chuck Hones (left)
were Grand Marshals the 2010 Pittsburgh Pride March.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

As one of the first owners of a gay bar in Pittsburgh in the mid-1970s, Charles Tierney offered the city’s LGBTQ community a safe place to meet and mingle. Much of America wasn’t exactly hospitable to gays at the time, and it only got worse once the AIDS epidemic began its roar in the 1980s.

But at the Holiday Bar on Forbes Avenue in Oakland, there was a sense of freedom. Patrons — both closeted and proudly out in the open — could relax and have fun.

The windows might have been bricked up to keep it incognito as well to keep those inside protected from flying rocks and angry, homophobic fists.

“But there was safety in numbers,” said Chuck Honse, Mr. Tierney’s lifelong business partner. “It was a place where people hid in plain sight.”

When [Mr. Tierney] died at Family Hospice in Mt. Lebanon on Wednesday [Oct 11, 2017] from complications of liver cancer, the longtime Squirrel Hill resident was just as well known for his efforts to raise money and awareness for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning causes through his work with the Delta Foundation and other organizations. He was 69.

In 1989, he helped bring 2,700 panels from the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt to the David. L. Lawrence Convention Center on its second tour of North America. Three years later, he spearhead what is now an annual City Theater AIDS benefit to raise funds for Shepherd Wellness Community, a Bloomfield-based AIDS community center.

“He was a quiet guy, but also a lion in the sense he was a force to be reckoned with,” said Mr. Van Horn, who first met him at the Holiday.

Donations in Chuck Tierney's name can be made to the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh, 911 Galveston Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15233 or at​donate.

See the complete obituary here

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