This bar owner is raising LGBT visibility with the help of drag queens and burgers

Meka Beresford February 19, 2017
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A bar and restaurant owner in a conservative part of Florida is aiming to raise LGBT visibility with the help of burgers and drag queens.

Kurt King has opened a restaurant in Brandon, a typically conservative area of Florida and hopes that by opening the ‘Hamburger Mary’ he will be able to create diversity and offer a safe space to LGBT patrons in the area.

The business man said that he opted for Brandon and SouthShore because he knew of a lot of LGBT people in the area, and since opening the place has been a hit.

“I know a lot of people in Brandon who are gay and will welcome the area’s first LGBT club,” King said to the Tampa Bay Times.

“The response so far has been overwhelming. When we put up our Facebook page for the new restaurant, the response was off the charts.”

King credits the number of charitable events, which feature the help of drag queens, for the success so far.

“We welcome everybody as long as they leave their rhetoric at the door and just have a good time,” he said. “It’s a rule of mine: we’re not there to judge anyone. That attitude just brings out the best in people.”

King doesn’t just put on charitable events either, he decided to expand the number of venues so he could employ his friends who were unemployed following the 2008 recession.

He employs 225 diverse staff including 30 trans people and 45 drag queens.

Now, he has 17 restaurants across the state, seven of which are in Florida, and all of them are working to support the LGBT community.

“I can’t believe the way Florida has embraced Hamburger Mary’s,” King added.

More: America, Conservative, drag, drag queens, Florida, LGBT, US, US

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