Friends of Dorothy

I’ve used the FOD term for years without knowing exactly where it came from. Asking if someone is a friend of Dorothy is a furtive way of suggesting sexual orientation while avoiding hostility.[2] So, as a euphemism for gay man (and in some cases all queer people), most of us just assume it comes from gay icon Judy Garland’s character (Dorothy Gale) in The Wizard of Oz, or gay-friendly wit Dorothy Parker (“The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”).

It’s a fascinating part of queer history, but the term isn’t used nearly as much these days, mostly because LGBTQ folks have all become more integrated into society. Acceptance and integration mean we don’t need these ‘fun but furtive’ terms as much anymore. Especially not in “The City Different.”

After 2 Decades

One great thing about my job is that I get to make Santa Fe gayer (happier and more LGBTQ+-friendly) with just about every home I sell. It’s an honor meeting new homeowners and showing them what I love about Santa Fe.

In fact, one of my reasons behind starting the Gay Santa Fe blog and emails was to introduce new Santa Feans to everything I love about our city and keep even seasoned locals up to date on the latest events, meetings, and parties.

For a long time, I’ve thought that given how progressive and LGBTQ-friendly our city is, it’s odd that we don’t have A gay bar. Of course, if you get enough queer people together in one space just about anywhere could be a gay bar, but it’s not the same thing as having a dedicated LGBTQ+ space. Fortunately, Santa Feans are creative by nature, and a key function of my Gay Santa Fe emails is to shine a bright spotlight on some of the great events that take place on a regular basis in our town.

One of my favorite series of events is the Friends of Dorothy gatherings that happen most months on a Friday. What started over 20 years ago as a one-off event that drew a crowd of 18 people has ballooned into a monthly tradition that often draws hundreds of locals. Originally the group was mostly made up of men, but it has since added women and all aspects of the LGBTQ+ community as active members.

An Event is Born

The events are the brainchild of Santa Fe transplant Ian Johnson, who was dismayed that when he moved to New Mexico 20 years ago, there was a dearth of gay bars. He thought back to his days living in San Francisco’s Bay Area and a group called MAX that provided gay men with social events to build camaraderie.

The events are held on Friday nights and hosted by a different venue each month, including La Fonda, Encantado Resort, Las Posada, Inn and Spa at Loretto, Santa Fe Capital Grill, Bishops Lodge Resort & Spa just to name a few. “We turn each great location into our own Santa Fe gay bar! The hosting company generously supplies the group with an array of appetizers. Plus, there’s no cover charge. I always tell venues that ‘If you’ve got bartenders, you’ll make money,’” Johnson says.

Not Just About the Bars

Those who don’t like the bar scene can also get in on the fun. Friends of Dorothy events aren’t limited to bars and restaurants. One of the most memorable events was a pre-season gathering at the Santa Fe Opera, where more than 300 people attended to hear a select group of
opera apprentices perform in a world-renowned venue.


So, yes, there are a lot of gay happenings in Santa Fe. From Friends-of-Dorothy events to Queer Nights at El Rey, to Pride After 5 Networking nights, there’s never a shortage of opportunities to get out and mingle with our wonderful LGBTQ community.

If you’re forgetful like most of us, don’t fret. Just make sure you don’t miss out on any happenings by signing up for my emails. You can thank me in person when we run into each other at the next event!