Is the Gay Bar Dying?

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June Thomas in Slate asks, in the light of the most recent victory for same-sex marriage rights for gays and lesbians and greater acceptance across American society, if the gay bar is in danger of disappearing.

It’s an interesting question because as Thomas points out, “gay liberation is the only civil rights movement that began in a bar. The Pride celebrations that take over the streets of America’s gay ghettos every June commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall uprising of June 28, 1969—42 years ago this week—when the patrons of a Mafia-run gay bar in Greenwich Village protested against a police raid. Stonewall was not the first time that gay people had fought back against police harassment, nor, as we will see, was it the first time that bar raids sparked protests. Bars played this political role because bars were where gay people gathered.”

It’s a really interesting piece.


Brian Spears is Senior Poetry Editor of The Rumpus and the author of A Witness in Exile (Louisiana Literature Press, 2011). His poem “Upon Reading That Andromeda Will One Day Devour Triangulum and Come For Us Next” was featured in Season 9 of Motion Poems. More from this author →