BRYAN, Texas — Oftentimes, LGBTQ+ nightlife serves as the center of both culture and community for many cities and towns.
However, the smaller the community, the harder it can be to find these types of spots.
No one is a better spokesperson for that claim than Mallori Girard, the bar manager at Halo, an LGBTQ+ friendly nightclub in historic downtown Bryan.
“I have a lot more confidence because I do have spaces like Halo,” Girard said.
She’s a Dallas native.
“This is me. I’m a gay female,” Girard said.
“I feel like I have an army behind me.”
Her wife studied at Texas A&M University and was a part of the Corps of Cadets, during the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ era.
“I was used to a big city with a lot of different people, a lot of different cultures,” she said.
“I was scared to be in public with her,"
"I was scared to hold her hand, just because I didn’t want people to think we were together and think negatively of us.”
When she first came to Bryan, she remembered a town with a gay-friendly space deficiency.
“It's a community that they're unfamiliar with, so they're afraid,” she said, thinking back to that time.
But it's on these quiet downtown Bryan streets that when the sun sets and the disco ball is illuminated, that makes her and so many others feel at home.
“Having areas in such a conservative town that allows people to excel and bring more kinds of people with different sexualities and genders I think it’s very forward,” said Vitamin D, a drag queen who comes to Halo to expand its drag queen presence.
Vitamin D became a drag queen six years ago.
“The movement of drag is an art form to spread love positivity, comedy humor, sex,” the queen said.
Vitamin D performs across the state but makes it a point to come to Halo to inspire others who may not realize other people like them exist.
“It just makes me feel so good inside and I'm like this is exactly why I'm why I'm doing this,” Vitamin D said.
Girard said that the Brazos Valley is constantly making strides to be a more inclusive place as more resources are available and that she’s proud to live in a community that places importance on accepting LGBTQ+ people.
“Regardless of my sexual orientation, I can contribute to this community in multiple ways. So it's really been great to just see the growth in the community as a whole,” she said, smiling.