By my count, about 33% of gay bars outside big cities have closed in the last 20 years, but only 15% of those in cities with gayborhoods. Common explanations for this are social acceptance, gentrification, and social networking apps. Yet bars are closing fastest in Middle America where gentrification is a pipe dream, social acceptance elusive, and apps are least useful. Even in cities, the bars hit hardest are those for lesbians, people of color, and leatherfolk.
To learn more, I’m hitting the road to visit these bars that are outposts for LGBTQ people. If you’re the owner, manager, employee, or regular along my route, I’d love to speak with you. I’m also interested in bars that closed that left a region without any gay bars at all, or bars that function as gay bars in regions without a full-time establishment. Contact me at gmattson [at] oberlin [dot] edu or (779)-GAY-BARS. Yes, that’s (779)-429-2277. Operators are standing by
You can follow along on this blog, @whoneedsgaybars on Twitter.
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