Lady Liquor: Straight women, gay bars and safe spaces

This summer, a Los Angeles gay bar called the Abbey banned bachelorette parties from its establishment until marriage equality is achieved, which sparked discussion in LGBTQ communities elsewhere about the tradition of straight bachelorettes celebrating impending nuptials in queer spaces. Here in Portland, a gay bar called CC Slaughters announced it would permit bachelorettes and their parties to celebrate there provided they didn’t “flaunt it.” That is to say, bridal veils, tiaras, penis hats – and, presumably, sequined “Bride” T-shirts – now have to be checked at the door.

Just how long brides-to-be have been crashing the gates of gay bars for pre-nuptial fun, I can’t say: the bachelorette party itself is a relatively new phenomenon (historical info online is spotty, but the first how-to-plan-a-bachelorette-party guide was published in 1998, and etiquette and bridal books only started referencing this alternative to the bridal shower in the 1960s). Why precisely dancing at a gay bar, or seeing a drag show, evolved as the counterpart to male bachelor-party traditions (mostly, if Hollywood is telling me the truth, going to Vegas and either accidentally marrying strippers or accidentally killing them is another question.)

Part of it at least stems from a perception of gay bars as safe spaces for straight women – where they can drink or dance without likelihood of being hit on or groped the way they might be in straight clubs. (I like dancing in queer clubs for just this reason – and sometimes drag my computer or a book to happy hour at the gay bar in my neighborhood, partly because they have really good drink specials and partly because I know no one will tap my shoulder and ask me what I’m reading or working on.) Perhaps seeing a drag show, or dancing with gay men, or watching male strippers might provide straight women with a means to act out sexually without running a real risk of zero-hour infidelity (the likelihood of which is the running joke in pretty much all plans and narratives around bachelor/ette parties).

Of course, those are all theories that assume a level of politeness it seems many straight women in gay bars don’t honor. A comment on the article I linked above recalls an encounter between the writer and a bachelorette who grinded against his crotch, demanded he kiss his partner in front of her and used homophobic slurs shortly before getting thrown out of the bar. This post from Zack Rosen advising straight women on appropriate gay-bar etiquette, made me wince at several points: “Don’t talk about your boobs. Don’t put them in my face. Don’t ask me to touch them. Don’t ask me to weigh them. I know it’s cool to be in a place where you’re not objectified, but that goes both ways. It’s commonly understood that’s its inappropriate behavior to go into a public place and ask strangers to grope you. Treat us like any other strangers,” he writes, advising women to be aware that gay men can sometimes use their lack of attraction as a license to behave inappropriately, and that’s not OK, either.

And while I suspect the camp factor – the idea of throwing on a sequined top and fake eyelashes and watching a man parade onstage in a sequined top and fake eyelashes, too – is an innocent enough draw for many ladies, that has a dark side, too. While advising readers to “keep your fucking bachelorette party out of our bars,” Rosen writes, “If you treat my safe space like your zoo, I will seduce your fiancé while you’re out selecting stationery.” Sounds fair to me.

I wonder whether the zoo analogy isn’t a little too apt, even in situations where a bride-to-be isn’t (either thoughtlessly or deliberately) flaunting a privilege those around her do not have. That bars have even played a revolutionary role for marginalized people is seldom considered by those of us with relatively privileged lives; that one person’s campy, edgy, relatively grope-free evening out is a whole community’s oasis from a straight world has apparently been lost on large numbers of women. Rosen ends by noting many straight ladies behave perfectly politely in gay bars, and everybody has a good time. That, he says, requires a reverence for both the bars’ traditional nature as meat markets, and their relevance as safe spaces for the LGBT community.

Previously: Staying afloat at the office holiday party

by Christen McCurdy
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Christen McCurdy is a freelance journalist who lives in Portland, Oregon with too many kitchen gadgets and craft supplies. She penned Bitch Media’s “Lady Liquor” guest-blog series on women and alcohol.

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49 Comments Have Been Posted

gay bars

As long as we have freedom of choice, we're going to have straight women infiltrating gay bars/straight men at lesbian bars. Vice Versa as well.
Like any bar, club, grocery store, any establishment really....There are rules of respect which need to be strictly followed.
Any intolerance/lack of respect- perpetrated by either gender- should not be tolerated and lay on grounds for evicting whomever out of the business.
When we start to bend those rules to accommodate more business (re: $$), we not only broadcast to the world that it's ok to disrespect people's boundaries, but also, that the victim of such harassment (the employees, whether they are LGBT or straight) are less than human beings.
I've met men who have called me a waste of skin for being a lesbian, and I've had female friends who have treated gay men like handbags/accessories to bring out to a bar.

These days, everybody (LGBT, Straight) seems to need a 'mallet of etiquette' to their heads as to how to treat other human beings. Whether or not alcohol is involved.

Thanks for posting

While I've never gone to a gay bar, parties, or parades to flaunt anything but instead to enjoy the atmosphere and celebrate the past, when intoxicated, I used to try and get as many gay men to kiss me (a straight woman) as I could--using the same logic "It's safe and fun!"...I thought it was harmless...I see otherwise now. Thank you for posting this.

not okay

straight people at gay bars and queer dance nights are an egregious flaunting of heterosexual privilege. DON'T DO IT. this article is offensive on so many levels. i empathize that straight women desire to be in safer spaces to dance and be sexual. but guess what? queer culture is not the place to do it. do not co-opt our nights that are rare, hard-fought and one of the FEW places queers can go to create a community with one another in a world that otherwise YOURS. heterosexuals can cruise just about ANYWHERE for dates, flings etc. if you come to queer nights, you are INTERRUPTING that & so much more. the fact that so many straight women don't even think how offensive it is to come and have a bachelorette party w/in a group of individuals that don't even have the right to marry even if we wanted to is OUTRAGEOUS. even if you agree that it is outrageous & offensive and you would never do that, but are still in attendance at queer nights, you are still infiltrating safer queer space. no matter how informed you think you are. you are still compromising our safer space & exercising your privilege. please work harder to create your own safer spaces instead of co-opting our's.


As a straight woman (who actively supports gay and lesbian rights...Volunteering, attending parades, making phone calls re: marriage equality) I am not allowed to step foot in a gay bar? I'm not being offensive or dancing around or anything like that.

The word "infiltrating"... Makes me feel like you think straight people are enemies.

I knew it was only a matter

I knew it was only a matter of time before some straight person gave us an earful about how much they support us thus are entitled to be "down" in queer culture.

Anyway, I actually disagree with the comment you're replying to. No bar will ever be a "safe space" for any of us and I'm not fundamentally against straight women in gay bars since I've brought them there myself - because I was confident that they don't treat me as an accessory and weren't going to freak out about every dyke who assumes they're a dyke too. What I'm fundamentally against is your, and the author's sense of entitlement to them because you're like totally not homophobic - when actually, your attitudes reflect more homophobia than you apparently realize. You ARE enemies.

Queer people have been trying to address this issue for decades and it's only gotten worse. Here, scroll down to "RULES OF CONDUCT FOR STRAIGHT PEOPLE"

Written in 1990.

So while I don't completely agree, I also can't blame other dykes for just wanting you to stay out regardless.


You sure are angry.

Makes me not want to help at all. Luckily, I realize that not all people are as angry and hurtful as you are.

please tell me you are

please tell me you are trolling at this point.

Hey I think you misread the

Hey I think you misread the article. The article isn't defending the right of straight women to come into to queer spaces and be disrespectful. It is in fact going over the issue for the benefit of anyone who has not thought about it before, and referencing other articles and opinions to do so. Consider this quote: "That bars have even played a revolutionary role for marginalized people is seldom considered by those of us with relatively privileged lives; that one person's campy, edgy, relatively grope-free evening out is a whole community's oasis from a straight world has apparently been lost on large numbers of women." I think the writer of the article agrees with you.


i like those points! i wasn't clear that i was responding to the author's describing the ease in which she non-critically accesses queer spaces (happy hrs for their specials & dance night) and the over-simplified description of the experience of women in gay bars. you can find the rest my critique below under the subject "listen".

Yes, I saw that - and as I

Yes, I saw that - and as I noted in the comment you're replying to, she adds nothing that queer people ourselves haven't been saying for decades. And the author and I apparently do disagree on a few key points. Such as:

A) That people who are both les/gay/bi/trans/queer AND women exist (yes, lots of women identity as gay).
B) That these discussions should center the perspectives of those who are marginalized within the community by cis gay men and an increasing number of straight tourists: dykes and trans people.
C) That her own perspective is unnecessary, navelgazey, and lesbophobic as shit.

Besides the totally valid unease with straight people writing on LGBTQ topics, I think this article resonated badly with some of our IRL experiences. Straight women participating in queer culture seem to have a knack for showing zero consideration for queer women - looking right through us, or looking at us as human refuse. I usually pass for straight, and I've had straight women in queer space assume I was "one of them" and say really fucked up things to me - most recently one grabbed my arm and whispered "I think we're the only girls here" with amusement, while at least a dozen loud, obvious dykes stood no more than ten feet away from us. So the author is engaging in behavior that just.... feels really familiar.

It's also pretty ridiculous of Andi come here and tell us it's okay for their straight writer to ignore us because some time ago someone else wrote another article about us that we can't read.

A place for everyone

Then where do you suggest I go? Heterosexual bars are great if you are a straight man but sucks for women. I have been sexually harassed at sports bars at 3pm on Sundays while wearing sweats. Apparently entering a bar, even if it is to ostensibly support your team since you don't own a tv, is actually code for "I want you to try to sleep with me by saying vulgar inappropriate things and grabbing my legs". As a rape victim I can tell you there is no safe place for women. Sorry that we got jealous that you found one. Some of the behavior outlined here is absolutely egregious and should not be tolerated, but it should be seen as a representative of individuals not an entire gender.


I hate to burst your bubble of perceived safety, but I was dancing with my (female) partner (who is also a rape survivor) at our favorite queer bar in presumably very safe and friendly city about a month ago, when a man shoved his hand under her shirt and groped her. It was unsolicited and awful and creepy and terrifying. So please, don't use the "but it's a safe space" reason for why you come to queer places.

Do what we did. Make your own

Do what we did. Make your own safe space. Here's what happened: for the longest time, the straight world was not safe for gays. So we made our own safe places to go. We didn't "find" it, we MADE it. Quit being a victim and do the same. As a woman, I can sympathize with your concerns about how straight bars are not necessarily safe places for women to go. The solution to that is not to let shit roll down hill and solve your problem by becoming someone else's problem. SOLVE YOUR OWN PROBLEM. Make your own safe space. Don't intrude on someone else's and then get offended if they resent you for ruining what they made for themselves. How is that not obvious?

Why is the behavior of straight men towards straight women something that gay men have to solve for you? What is it about you that thinks that gay people do not deserve to have the spaces they made for themselves?

Pretty Awesome, but...

This is pretty awesome. I just wish it didn't stop at a myopic policy change like marriage. We gays & lesbians should stop letting straight people in our bars until we have some real social change: until heterosexism ends, until we have a world without gender, until institutions that enforce and regulate normative sexuality and desire (like marriage!) are abolished!

Gay bars are not THAT

Gay bars are not THAT important to straight people that being banned from them would result in "real social change."
A straight person going to a gay bar is like a white person putting on an afro wig: it's fun and entertaining while it's being done but if one could not do it again.... not a big deal.


I'm not saying I disagree, I'm just curious now to know how you'd tell which people are 'real' gay people to enforce that policy. :-) Also bi people: do we get to come to your bars?


if you're writing for a *F*eminist publication and if you <i>can't even acknowledge</I> the existence of queer people who aren't men, and the effect this phenomenon has on US in "gay" spaces, well then you're doing <B>exactly</b> what i hate most about it and you should probably just stop writing about queer topics. and stay the fuck out, please.

I was, very specifically,

I was, very specifically, writing about straight women in gay men's bars, and apologize for not making that clear. I'll be writing about the broader history of LGBTQ bars next week.

well you didn't

well you didn't "specifically" mention that - you just assume the word "gay bar" implies male. every pain in the ass str80 and misogynistic gay man.

Yeah, I absolutely didn't

Yeah, I absolutely didn't make it clear that I was only talking about gay men's bars in this post. I apologize.

Well, the reason you didn't

Well, the reason you didn't is partly because dyke/lesbian space in Portland are non-exisitent. thus, we have to resort to a lot of weird sexist dyke-hating places in order to have a place to congregate. Please keep that in mind when you're patronizing even what seems to be just a gay bar.

That's a really good point.

That's a really good point. The neighborhood bar I mention in my post is Crush, which has a really low-key, everyone-keeps-to-themselves happy hour scene. The one time I went dancing there, that wasn't the case -- it was pretty hookup-oriented. One thing I've noticed about Crush specifically is that while historically it has a rep as a gay men's bar, they've started hosting queer ladies' dance nights, as well as feminist events (including a Bitch issue launch party, Medical Students for Choice fundraisers, etc.). I've wondered why that was; I know a lot of gay bars are closing and shuttering due to a number of factors (online dating and mobile apps take the most blame) and assumed Crush was maybe trying to reach a broader demographic to stay afloat. But the other side of that is that they may just be responding to the fact that since the demise of the Egyptian a few years ago (the only lesbian-specific bar I've known about since I've lived here), there aren't that many places for queer-identified women to congregate. I dunno if my analysis is correct here -- I'd be interested in your thoughts.

I still feel OK about going to Crush for happy hour and/or specific events that interest me, but I take your point. The one time I went dancing there it seemed pretty mixed, gender and orientation wise, and also pretty hookup-oriented. I get how losing the context of "this is specifically a queer bar/dance night" can make things embarrassing or uncomfortable, and how being a being a woman in a historically gay men's bar might not mean what a lot of straight women assume it does. Thanks for pointing that out.

Your entitlement and

Your entitlement and ownership over everything in this comment, and this article, is what is so weird and confusing to me.

All I know, and I say this as a trans woman - which I am clarifying just so this makes sense, is that in my experience I would often go to gay bars in the various "hipster podunk" towns like Portland where I have lived, and it's just like being at work! There are a few queers, most of them cis gay men, and the rest are straight cis people chillin', having a lark, etc.


It's so bizarre to me how much you feel like you just flat out deserve to be anywhere, and since a gay dude bar is in the universe, you beong there too. And me, a trans woman, I often cut things out of my social calendar because I feel like I do not deserve to be there! It's a lesbian event - I don't wanna make it about me, or weird people out. It's a "gay" thing - SAME.

There is nothing really sacred about a "bar" in general. It's also not the only "community space" gay men or queer people have, so I am not going to act like it is this big deal that yr all working on a laptop in a place where that is acceptable anyway. But seriously, there are plenty of places to do this and straight people yuckin' it up at the gay bar always irritated me. And honestly, the #1 reason I would quit frequenting a gay bar or caring about gay bars, or making it a point to patronize them: STRAIGHT PEOPLE EVERYWHERE. I mean, I could just go to Applebee's, or the mall, and be around the same crowd.

This whole article is pointless, and a total exercise in futility. It's like a VERY EXPANDED comment on Zach's article (also on the mind-numbing side of things btw). I do not get it at all. Start over!

This is super rambly, whatever. Try to let it sink in. Cuz needless to say your "position" here confused the hell out of me.


i believe you're well-intentioned. and i believe you make some good points illuminating straight women's problematic behavior in gay men's bars. and while you ultimately highlight some needed behavioral reform & straight-privilege-acknowledgment, in the end you're still perpetuating troublesome misconceptions and especially this "fantasy entitlement" that Mannie addresses below. some other aspects of this fantasy entitlement include: a. that gay bars are "safer" spaces for cis women because gay men aren't sexually interested in them, b. that women don't get groped in gay bars, or can go about their business free from unwanted male attention, c. that somehow sexuality is so rigid that women & gay men aren't ever attracted to one another and/or don't hook up, d. that if a person believes themselves to be well-intentioned & somewhat aware of their straight/cis privilege that they somehow have more of a claim to establishing (and re-establishing) their comfort and ability to move freely about queer space, rather than ask for input from members of the community you're speaking authoritatively about (certainly that's not always the case--the author is correct that specific events and happy hrs etc are fine to be mixed, but that specifically dance nights or many other night time activities tend to have a different bent, so to speak), and last, f. that you should write an essay about this experience without having much exposure to what you're discussing or fielding input from those who are part of the affected, marginalized community.

I really appreciate this, and

I really appreciate this, and agree with all the points you and Mannie made about the fantasy entitlement. It's absolutely true that I have had limited exposure to this phenomenon (heck, the only bachelorette party of any kind that I've been invited to ever included a drag show at Darcelle's on its itinerary -- which does seem to actively welcome straight business -- but I didn't go to that part of it because I couldn't afford the cover charge), and that there are many, many points I could have made but didn't and many aspects of this phenomenon that I left unaddressed, largely if not totally due to lack of knowledge/exposure.

I also don't believe good intentions alone get anybody off the hook, and that people who mean no harm can inflict harm nonetheless. And it's nobody's job but mine to educate me or make me better at my job. But I have learned a lot from these comments and am thinking carefully about how to proceed writing on LGBT issues in the future, or whether I even should. So thank you.

She didn't need to.

You're derailing. In an obvious and embarrassing way. Sorry this article isn't about you -- but maybe the next one will be!

I don't think you know what

I don't think you know what "derailing" means, particularly in this sort of context where some kind of power differential is implied. Let's clear one thing up: she's the one with straight privilege. Nice try though.

Dear Bitch Magazine: Wow.

Dear Bitch Magazine:
Wow. This article really is a homophobic piece of straight privilege turd.
some angry dyke

Grrl, please!

Grrl, please! Anyone taking the time to read a progressive, analytical publication like Bitch should be willing to bring something more thoughtful to the table. The article isn't perfect, but dang, of all the crap out there, THIS is homophobic? Come on. It's flawed. Feminist to feminist, we should be able to talk about the problematic assumptions and rhetoric used. Hell, that's what we're best at. So what's with the unproductive internet yelling?

-fellow dyke

Wow this article is the

Wow this article is the WORST. How many queer spaces has this author been in?! Like 2, owned by the same people, with the most traditional stereotypical gay male theme ever created?

"And while I suspect the camp factor – the idea of throwing on a sequined top and fake eyelashes and watching a man parade onstage in a sequined top and fake eyelashes, too – is an innocent enough draw for many ladies, that has a dark side, too."

Camp factor? What is this, 1985? Reality check needed.

I was thinking of a couple of

I was thinking of a couple of specific spaces where people I know have had bachelorette parties (Darcelle XV's drag pageant is a really popular choice here) or have chosen to go dancing. I am well aware that not all queer bars are discos or feature drag pageants.

Yeah, as far as I know,

Yeah, as far as I know, Darcelle's has always been pretty straight-friendly. Maybe that's because it was the only place of its kind for decades in this town and probs wouldn't still be around today otherwise? In the 70s performers there got fined for doing 'same sex' acts. But Darcelle has always been very welcoming to those of all persuasions (would she still be thriving here if she hadn't?) and her bar doesn't seem like an inappropriate place to have a bachelorette party.
But a lot of people assume that because there are lots of queers here now that this is like some sort of Gay Utopia--and always has been. Maybe that's where the cultural tourism comes in? The assumption that these are long-established places and that there is no harm in looking/hanging out? I'm queer and I grew up here in the 80s and 90s when a LOT of anti-gay violence took place and despite all of the marches and publicity of hate-crimes and marches and ballot measures (barely) being voted down and more marches, meanwhile hetero-sexist agendas were furthered. The present state in Portland just seems like a continuation of this. Still no right to marry, no dyke bars, fewer gay men's bars, fights in gay men's bars between queer cis men & queer cis women because of turf issues/misogyny, people still getting fired from school jobs for being out, transphobia all around, and of course white affluent queers co-opting historically QPOC space...there is a lot more scarcity here than many, even queers, imagine when moving to this place. With the wealth and privilege that has moved into Portland in the last ten years, people seem to forget its history and rather prefer to remake a fantasy version of what this 'Portland' is. In addition to the points others brought up above and below, It is people's entitlement to this fantasy that irks me. Thank you.

It would have been nice if

It would have been nice if the author also explored how straight women infiltrating queer spaces threatens the safe space of queer/ lesbian women. This is also a huge problem, as it can be embarrasing to accidentally hit on a straight woman. Gay men are not the only gay people that exist out there!

hi Rosa, We had an article in

hi Rosa,

We had an article in the Summer 2012 issue about the politics of gay bars that focused heavily on the issues of straight women infiltrating gay bars and its effect on lesbian women, which is one reason we didn't go into it more heavily in this piece. The piece ("A Girl Walks into a Bar...") isn't available online yet, but will be at some point. We're well aware that this is not an issue solely affecting gay men, but one that resounds across the LGBT spectrum!

it's not just that this

it's not just that this writer didn't delve into the issue, it's that she <B>does not even mention our existence</B>. that is the exxxxact dynamic so many of us are sick of from straight women partying with "their gays." the fact that you separately published an article addressing how this impacts us doesn't make this one suddenly not homophobic (and misogynistic).

also: a better way to handle

also: a better way to handle people talking about an article being homophobic is to not just tell them there is another article talking about lesbians. it's called accepting criticism, being humble, listening, and having feminist values. geeze.

Derailing & erasure

You know what I can't stand about the so-called "activists" who are all over the internet these days? The idea that because someone doesn't namecheck your specific identity in EVERY SINGLE ESSAY, they've "erased your existence." Guess what? This isn't an article about the LGBT*IQQA scene as a whole. It's not even an article about queer bars in general. It's an article about one very specific phenomenon: straight women going to gay bars for bachelorette parties. This is perfectly clear from the content of the article. Trying to derail the discussion to talk about lesbians is pointless, politically naive and counterproductive. Do you know why lesbian bars aren't mentioned? Because straight women DON'T generally go to them and act the fool for bachelorette parties! Narcissism is not activism. Meanness is not righteousness. Willful ignorance is not strength.

--Queer, long-time activist person with good reading comprehension skills

I am very impressed by your

I am very impressed by your activist credentials and reading comprehension, Anonymous. But as other commenters pointed out, there are very few "gay bars" that aren't also a place for dykes and trans people. We know: our community is dominated by gay white men thus internally misogynistic and transphobic and racist and everything else. If you walk into a gay establishment that isn't a straight-up sex club and see no queer women there, that is a BAD thing. And straight women contribute significantly to that problem.

so glad to see that other

so glad to see that other comments pointed out the same issues that I have with this. there's a lack of safe spaces for queer women not only in Portland but in a ton of places, and bars targeted towards gay men can be pretty unfriendly towards women in general. yes, it sucks. hitting on straight women? check. being mistaken for a straight woman and met with hostility? check. i'm sure other readers could add more.

can we have a little more thought from Bitch when writing about queer spaces and LGBTQ issues, please? this shouldn't even have been published as is.

So I've mentioned in some

So I've mentioned in some other comments that I meant to narrow the topic of this post to straight women in gay men's bars, and I completely failed to make that explicit. Another commenter pointed out that even that is problematic because a lot of seemingly gay men's bars are not exclusively patronized by gay men, which makes the whole woman-in-a-gay-bar dynamic more confusing.

I don't mean for any part of this series to be completely comprehensive, and I didn't write this thinking that it would be the only statement ever made on LGBTQ issues and alcohol (the history and likely future of gay bars is of interest to me, as are LGBTQ addiction issues). Since there are a few more weeks in this series, and since I overlooked an aspect of the straights-in-queer-bars issue, I invite you (and other commenters) to tell me what I should think about addressing in the future.

your entitlement is so

your entitlement is so bizarre. what makes you think your take on these issues is so vital over the voices of so many queer women saying "omggg stoppp?"

and you seriously just said "woman-in-a-gay-bar" again implying woman = straight and gay = man. arrrrrrgh please shutupshutupshutup.

It's not an act of privilege

It's not an act of privilege to respond with humility and curiosity to critiques. And it's generally considered a positive thing for journalists and bloggers to respond to their commenters. Much more so than ignoring them. There's plenty of room for constructive criticism of this article, but the nit-picky hostility is jarring, considering the context of the blog we're on.

I'm sadly not familiar enough

I'm sadly not familiar enough with bars catering mostly to LGBTQ people due to my relative youth and my present, overwhelmingly heteronormative environment. However, I also noticed that this article, and many of the comments, implied (likely erroneously) that this was exclusively a (cis) straight woman / (cis) gay man issue--due to the number of bars frequented by mostly cis gay men (contributing to the erasure of bisexuals, other non-monosexuals, and trans* people as well as all queer women), and due to the perception that gay bars offer safe spaces for cishet women (the intersection of misogyny faced by cishet women and heterosexism). It speaks both to the relative privilege cis gay men have in the queer community as well as the entitlement of cis straight women.

I wonder if two things can be done to solve this issue: 1) have bars designed to cater to and be a safe space for women, ALL women, and other queer people, as well as 2) bars catering to bi*, trans*, and other queer people underrepresented in both gay and straight environments. Thoughts?


Ok. I am assuming that the author of this article is straight based on some comments she made in her article. What I am wondering is why is this straight lady writing an LGBT column for Bitch magazine. me = confused.

This piece is part of a

This piece is part of a series on women and drinking, not an LGBTQ column per se, but I agree that it is incredibly problematic (for all of the reasons others have posted above, as well as many more) for an apparently straight-identified woman to blog about LGBTQ issues. Is it really that difficult to hire queer writers?

When only queer people talk

When only queer people talk about queer issues, it's a sign that nobody else is listening hard enough to bother repeating what we say.

1) Props to the writer for

1) Props to the writer for her humility in responding to all this negativity. Seeing as how she was trying to talk about something that is indeed really annoying to me and other queer folks (and did indeed talk a lot about straight privilege), it's impressive that she's openly accepting the criticism.

2) My critique: There is a lot of patriarchal BS in how queer culture and spaces are talked about. For one, they're called gay. Seeing as how mainstream rhetoric has simultaneously created a queer binary (gay or lesbian) that conveniently parallels the gender binary, any feminist discussion should bring the same caution and intentionality in words used to describe queer culture that we bring when discussing other gendered phenomena. Using the word 'gay' as a catch-all is as implicitly problematic as talking about "man" and meaning everybody. It was pretty clear to me that the writer was talking about the specific phenomenon of straight women trying to get up in gay men's spaces, so I'm actually not upset about the lack of clarification. What I didn't like more than anything else was that the article didn't feel like a feminist analysis or response to the phenomena, more of a general musing on it. When I got to the line about how gay men in drag [and sidenote, that line was REALLY offensive] "is an innocent enough draw for many ladies, that has a dark side, too".. I was expecting a genuine analysis of the dark side of this phenomena.... but all we got was a threat by a gay man to sleep with a bachelorette's fiance. That's not it.

3) Am I the only person who sees the exciting implications of the annoying (and sometimes worse) phenomena of straight women inviting themselves into queer spaces because they feel safer? They're subconsciously seeking feminist spaces to party in! They're conflating the two, of course, and that's partially why it's problematic. There's still good ol' fashioned sexism in the queer community. BUT it's way better than the rest of what's out there, in my opinion--especially at queer dance nights. So while I get annoyed by the behavior, I understand it. (And I'm not talking about the straight-up cultural tourism by some straight people in queer spaces-- that's just messed up). What this weird phenomena of straight women in queer spaces tells me is that there's a real unmet need for nightlife that actively creates safe and positive spaces for people to drink and dance in. More feminist parties! More feminist-owned bars! Now that's something I'd love to see.

I think you're on to something...

With #3. Need a bartender?

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