Letters of Gratitude

Hey Joy

Although I’ve said this to you multiple times, when it comes to this question, I think about you again.

You’re from Korea and I’m from China. Neither of us technically belong to the US. But here we are. I’m so lucky and blessed to know you and be your friend.

You were there, you are here with me in the darkest time in my life.

You give me belonging.



John Cartwright’s place of belonging is The Stud. He is a member of the 18-person worker-owner cooperative that formed to purchase the bar when it was facing permanent closure due to rent increase. He wrote a letter of gratitude to Michael, the prior owner.

Dear Michael

This is a deep brief note of gratitude. Thank you for the years and tears of toil, labor, and money that you invested with such heart, into the old building at 399 Ninth Street.

The Stud is a place of queer magic; this you know.

You've heard the stories from patrons who last visited the place at its old location... The people who met their spouses there... The people who had their heart broken there... Those who found their hearts or had them re-born. Those that have grieved their loved ones... The lists go on.

It is a church of queer community. We are all so lucky to have it, and if it weren't for your tireless guidance for your tenure as co- and eventual sole owner, we would not have it for the community. Without your help throughout the transfer, we could have floundered, and without your support we wouldn't have been able to start with such a leg up to continue the history into the future. Thank you for all you've done, and the love and support you continue to give and send us.

With love and gratitude,

John Fucking Cartwright