Bars for queer and transgender women are disappearing worldwide. Will they survive the pandemic?So what do they attribute the closing to?
By Bianca Hillier
November 24, 2020
LGBTQ bars have been steadily disappearing for decades. In the 1980s, there were more than 1,500 LGBTQ bars in the US; now, there are less than 1,000. For bars catering to queer women, the plunge has been even steeper, with the number dropping from more than 200 lesbian bars in the 80s to just 15 today.
It’s not just in the US. Queer nightlife is shrinking around the world — from the UK to Turkey, and beyond — and now the coronavirus pandemic threatens to shutter even more queer nightlife spaces.
In the US, those 15 remaining bars continue to provide important and liberating experiences. Erica Rose, a queer filmmaker in New York, remembers the first time she walked into the legendary Manhattan bar, Cubbyhole
Rose and Street have teamed up to direct the Lesbian Bar Project. They’re raising money to celebrate and preserve the country’s 15 remaining lesbian bars, which they define as spaces for all marginalized genders within the LGBTQ community, including cisgender queer women, transgender queer women, nonbinary folks, and transgender men. People can donate to the month-long campaign through Nov. 25.
But nailing down the reason for these closures can be tough. To start, non-male entrepreneurs get a tiny fraction of the investment money men do, so it is harder to open doors in the first place. Plus, according to a study in the UK, queer people get paid 16% less than cisgender, straight people. That means LGBTQ people may have less disposable income to spend on a night out.That all makes sense and I would like to add to the reasons...marriage.
Then there are the dating apps: queer adults are twice as likely as straight adults to use them, and therefore might not rely on going to bars to meet someone.
But Marshall says their research on queer nightlife points to something bigger.
“LGBTQ venues have occupied space that nobody else wanted to occupy,” Marshall said. “[This is] partly about accessibility. Partly, historically, because of stigma. And those kinds of spaces have gone on to be regenerated or become gentrified.”
As more LGBTQ+ people get married they are not interested in the bar scene.
I think that there has been a shift of why LGBTQ+ go to be with other people. I say “be with other people” instead of picking up people because as the article said “there are apps for that.” I think people just want to be with other people and don’t like the bar scene. Some do, but I think that their numbers are dropping.
Personally I prefer a coffee shop, or someplace with folk music or an open mic. Before the plague struck I used to go a board game night once a month.
Maybe it is time to start looking for alternative for the bar scene.