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Dancing at Robert’s Lafitte, in Galveston, on April 20, 2024.I walk into Robert’s Lafitte just after 8 p.m. on a Thursday in March. Early, I know, but now that I’m in my thirties, “nightlife” is no longer synonymous with “late nights.” Just a few other customers, mostly men, sit under the rainbow-colored string lights inside Galveston’s oldest continuously running gay bar (and reportedly the oldest in the state), two blocks from the island’s Historic Pleasure Pier. It’s so quiet that I pull out the novel I’ve brought with me and begin to read as the bartender makes my gin and tonic. It won’t stay that way. I’m returning to Galveston for the first time as an openly queer woman. I recently moved back to my hometown of Houston after a few years of living in New…

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