As an LGBT Community, our bars and nightclubs serve as our safe spaces. We live in a world where being LGBT can be rather dangerous sometimes. While many country’s (including the US) are increasingly becoming more accepting of our community, it is not always the case. In many places, the local gay bar is the only place where men and women can be themselves.
For the heterosexual community, this many seem like an odd concept. It’s easy to ridicule another community for their norms adopted out of necessity and fear of persecution. It wasn’t too long ago, in the US, when gay marriage was still constitutionally illegal. In many places, gay men and women can still be fired from their jobs simply for their sexual orientation.
Most the heterosexual community doesn’t understand what it’s like to be afraid to hold the hand of or kiss the person they love. There have been times, in public, when I felt real fear. I was afraid that a group of people in our proximity would attack us because I had been just a little too affectionate with my husband.
And in some countries, the fear of reprisal is much more blatant. People in other countries are much more visceral in their reaction towards the gay community. The danger is very real and this is why our gay bars and nightclubs are, in a sense, sacred to us.
But recently, it seems our gay institutions are being invaded (if that’s an appropriate word) by the heterosexual community. Now don’t get me wrong, it is wonderful that more and more people are becoming more and more accepting of the LGBT community. However, lately, it seems that gay clubs and nightclubs are becoming entertainment for the heterosexual community.
There are a number of reasons LGBT safe spaces deserve respect. One of the most annoying things to us is when bachelorette parties take place in gay clubs. It’s very disrespectful and none of us really think it’s cute. In any case, here are three reasons our safe spaces are important to us and why we still need them.
1) The LGBT Community Is Not A Zoo.
As I stated above, in many instances the heterosexual community treats the LGBT community as if it’s a zoo. If we kiss in public, people stare and point. If we hold hands, people giggle. When straight people come to gay bars, they usually do it because (to them) it is a novelty and something outside of the norm. Women throw their bachelor parties at our bars, use transgender slurs, and feel entitled to touch gay men inappropriately. It isn’t cool and we don’t exist for the entertainment of others. Gay bars are our solace from the nasty glares and inappropriate questions.
2) Freedom To Be.
This sort of goes with number one. The LGBT community is constantly berated by the outside non-queer world. At times, it can feel like the whole world is out to get us as a community. Gay bars provide us the outlet to be ourselves. We can be ourselves with no fear of reprisal and then we go home. But the moment of freedom we feel in our gay institutions is necessary.
3) Our Community Matters.
Gay bars are just like any bar; people go there to meet others and hook-up. But gay bars and clubs also serve as community centers for many cities and towns. In Raleigh, many gay community organizations use gay bars as gathering places. In this sense, our bars and clubs serve as tools for building community.
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