Connect with us


Lesbian Bars Were Dying. Now They’re Making a Comeback



You’ve at least seen the headlines in passing by now. 21 lesbian bars remain in America. The rise and fall of America’s lesbian bars. Why lesbian bars are disappearing.

It’s true that the once-thriving niche of lesbian bars has dwindled to a small smattering. Most of those that remain are clandestine tourist destinations littered around the heartland. Indeed, these bastions of lesbian community are now few and far between.

But recent developments may be changing that. As easing restrictions allow bars to open back up, grassroots campaigns are poised to save lesbian bars from the brink.

Let’s back up a little.

The origin of lesbian bars

“In Bed the Kiss,” an 1892 painting by Toulouse Lautrec

If you’re a fan of Moulin Rouge (or French history, I guess), you might know a bit about the inception of the modern lesbian bar. Artist Toulouse Lautrec often chronicled the lesbian nightlife in turn-of-the-century France. Bars like Le Rat Mort were owned and frequented by lesbians.

This phenomenon spread to other areas of high society in the early 20th century. In Weimar Germany, lesbian entrepreneur Elsa Conrad owned multiple such bars. Bars for women were a rarity in the US at the time, but the upper-crust Cafe des Beaux Arts, which operated in New York from 1911-1921, is cited as an early example.

Prohibition and its aftermath

Two Minnesota bootleggers, 1921, via Minnesota History Center

When we talk about the modern history of lesbian bars, the clock usually starts after Prohibition’s repeal in 1933. Bars like Roselle Inn in Chicago and Mona’s in San Francisco opened shortly thereafter.

It’s worth noting, however, that lesbian bars truly started to pop up during Prohibition. Where women had previously been legally discouraged from drinking, the total prohibition of alcohol was ironically an expanding force. Women could drink freely in speakeasies, and even own them.

The lesbian bars that sprung up after Prohibition were the offspring of the lesbian speakeasies that came before, such as Eve’s Hangout, which was shut down after a 1926 police raid.

The golden age of lesbian bars

Lesbian patrons at the Green Door in North Hollywood, 1955, via June Mazer Lesbian Archives

Lesbian bars and communities continued to grow, aided by the growth of cities and economic prosperity that followed WWII. Bars of this era still faced plenty of threats. Gay activity was still criminalized, organized crime was eager to capitalize, and internal debates split the community in twain.

In the ‘50s, de facto segregation and economic inequality kept many Black lesbians out of major lesbian bars. So did rigid attitudes about lesbian coupling built around butch/femme (or stud/femme) binaries.

Gay rights!

Members of the Daughters of Bilitis circa 1956, via Malinda Lo

The first lesbian political organization, the Daughters of Bilitis, was formed in 1955. This was an early motion in the broader LGBTQ+ rights movement, which shone a national spotlight on lesbian and gay communities.

As the movement grew throughout the ‘60s, so did identification with/interest in lesbianism. As lesbian feminism developed in the ‘70s, lesbian bars became activist spaces in addition to social ones. By the ‘80s, there were over 200 lesbian bars nationwide.

There’s just one problem, and it’s a problem that emerges any time social spaces become political ones: politics create conflict. Divisions bubbled over who should and shouldn’t be included in lesbian spaces, from trans women to straight “political lesbians.” This fed into the damaging notion that “lesbian” itself was an exclusionary term.

The slow, painful fall

Homer Simpson at a lesbian bar, from The Simpsons episode “Fear of Flying”

These divisions persisted, but lesbian bars remained fairly prevalent throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. New movements led to new expansions. The Combahee River Collective helped open doors for lesbians of color. The community was ravaged by the AIDS crisis, but activism on that front helped bring the broader LGBT community together. By the mid-’90s, the Lesbian Avengers were bringing lesbian issues to the forefront of the community.

So, what did kill the lesbian bar? 9/11? The recession? Is it somehow Ellen’s fault?

The truth is, there was no one incident that sent lesbian bars into freefall. The more society as a whole accepted lesbians, the more patronage for these tight-knit neighborhood bars dwindled.

Meanwhile, over the course of the ‘00s, people kind of stopped meeting each other in person. The social role that lesbian bars once played could now be fulfilled much more accessibly by online forums, and later social media.

Statistics show that interest in the “lesbian” label itself may have declined in the ‘00s and ‘10s as well. Post-lesbian discourse has tended to frame the label as too exclusive. While the broader LGBTQ+ community grew substantially in the 21st century, the lesbian community didn’t experience the bulk of those gains.

The ravages of COVID-19

Articles about the dramatic decline in lesbian bars started to pop up in the late ‘10s. In 2019, it was estimated that only 15 such bars remained (in fact, there were 21). A string of closings occurred throughout the ‘10s as business dwindled and rents went up.

When COVID hit, activists like Erica Rose and Elina Street sounded the alarm. Rose and Street started the Lesbian Bar Project, a campaign aimed at fundraising to keep the remaining bars open.

Lincoln, NE’s Panic Bar closed in November 2020. In Philly, Toasted Walnut shuttered in February 2021. Even as Lesbian Bar Project and other campaigns shined a national light on the issue, it seemed like the institution was quickly becoming a thing of the past.

But wait, there’s more?

A confluence of factors led to increasingly dire conditions for the country’s remaining lesbian bars. Pandemic-era restrictions were the final straw for many. But then, something shifted.

See, the pandemic may have kept us apart from each other, but it also reminded us how much we miss sharing a space. As restrictions were lifted, grassroots movements started to form dedicated to providing new, in-person social spaces for lesbians.

The lesbian bar revival

Via Doc Marie’s on Instagram

As the tireless work of the Lesbian Bar Project kept the remaining bars afloat, social groups and pop-ups started to form across the country. Lesbian Social Detroit. SHELiFE in Miami. Sip City Mixer here in Philly.

These groups coordinate regular events that go beyond the narrow scope of a bar: picnics, beach parties, sporting events. At the same time, they reflect a growing, vibrant, and (contrary to the popular stereotype) inclusive lesbian community nationwide.

As You Are in DC began as a pop-up series, but has now set up a permanent home. The Sports Bra, the first women’s sports bar, is now open in Portland, where another lesbian bar (Doc Marie’s) is opening just this week.

You can thank Lesbian Bar Project for their tireless work keeping remaining lesbian bars alive. You can also thank the internet which, once thought a detriment to the lesbian label, has now invited a new generation of lesbians to flourish.

Looking ahead, more of these pop-ups are trying to set up brick-and-mortar locations. Dave’s Lesbian Bar in Queens is fundraising at its monthly events; so is Hot Donna’s in LA.

Thanks to a renewed focus on community organizing and mutual aid, things are finally looking up for the humble lesbian bar.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


5 Simple Tweaks That Will Transform Your Mindset



smiling woman

No matter how hard we try and keep and eventually transform our mindset on the positive side, we sometimes find ourselves reverting to old ways. Negativity is the most significant barrier that prevents you from exploring your potential. And that’s completely understandable. With the pandemic, job instability, life uncertainties, and daily stressors we experience every day, having a poor mindset is sometimes the first thing we resort to.

And that’s okay, only if you decide to act on your poor mindset. A person’s character isn’t measured by the number of hardships they face. Instead, it’s measured by how they get past those hardships that make them better people. And it all boils down to mindset. Simple tweaks to transform your mindset will help you rise above every challenge and become a better person. Here are 5 to start with

1. Consider the positive in every bad situation

It can be easy to discourage yourself, especially when you’re stuck in a bad situation. But remember that true strength lies in every resolved problem. And one way you can get “unstuck” is to find the silver lining in every bad occurrence. You can’t solve negativity with negativity.

A situation would be if you lost your job recently and feel down in the dumps about it. This is totally normal behavior. But what’s not normal is when you don’t act on or do anything to better the situation. 

What you can do, though, is jot down all the positive things that can happen after losing your job. It might be an opportunity to finally let you do something you’ve put on the backburner. Or you may even have a better job offer once you go job hunting again. You know what they say when one door closes, another one opens. 

2. Don’t restrict yourself

stressed woman

People sometimes feel depressed about the things they don’t have that others have. For example, not having that nice car, that big house in a beautiful area in the city, or that dream job you’ve been pining over for years. 

Instead of saying, “I don’t have this,” add “yet” at the end to turn this statement into something more positive. Say, “I don’t have my dream job YET.” It’s a simple way to transform your mindset!

3. Be open to ideas

You must cultivate an open and curious mindset so you don’t stop yourself from progressing. One way to achieve this is to turn negative and restrained sentences into open ones. For example, you can say “Yes, and,” instead of “Yes, but.”

The former indicates that you’re more open to ideas, suggestions, and possibilities that are yet to come. While the latter already stops you from thinking about these opportunities, which feels discouraging.

4. Identify opportunities instead of obligations

When we deal with everyday house or office tasks, we often feel dreadful about having to start these tasks. Some of the reasons may be because we don’t enjoy doing these tasks anymore, or it could also be because these tasks stress us out. 

If you look at your to-do list and contemplate the tasks that you love doing, think about how great of a blessing this is. Instead of identifying this as an obligation, you can consider this a favorable circumstance that others won’t have. Once you transform your mindset to this, you’re on your way on having a better outlook on how you deal with opportunities.

5. Embrace failures

You must rise above every failure by changing your perspective about a bad situation or challenge. When people face difficulties, they can question why it happened to them and not to others. However, this mindset is already putting you further down in crisis mode. 

When facing difficulties, view the situation positively and think about how you can overcome this unscathed mentally and emotionally. Be grateful for how you can rise above the problem with more wisdom, knowledge, and upper hand when you experience the same challenge again.

And for other tips, stories, and news, read more here at Owner’s Mag!

Continue Reading


Read This Before You Deliver Feedback in Your Workplace



people holding cardboard

Feedback is one of the most vital things you can do to help your employees grow. When you deliver feedback to employees, they can adjust their behavior and work styles to improve their performance.

Consider this: how can you improve if you don’t know how you’re doing? How can anything be fixed if you don’t know what you’re doing wrong? And if you don’t know whether your work is effective, how can you figure out what you should change or improve?

The problem is that managers and leaders are sometimes clueless on how to deliver feedback effectively, especially if you’re not sure how your feedback should sound or look. Giving feedback to your employees should be done in a way that shows them that you care about their development as individuals and as members of your team. It can also help you strengthen your relationships with one another. 

The best way to make sure you’re giving effective feedback is by being clear about your intentions and following some simple tips:

1. Keep feedback specific and actionable

people looking at a laptop

Be specific. If you’ve got a lot of comments about one thing, make sure they’re all related to that subject—you don’t want to overwhelm your employee with too much information at once.

Giving examples of how to make adjustments to produce better results is also helpful. For example: “In our last meeting, I asked whether we had any plans for updating our website, and you said yes but didn’t give any details about the kind of changes.” It gives more context to why someone might have answered without realizing what was being asked.

2. Don’t Make it Personal

people pointing at a smartphone

When you deliver feedback to your employees, remember that they are human beings; they may not be perfect and may have good intentions when they make mistakes. Avoid making harsh comments no matter the gravity of the wrong action. You might think that a little roughing will push your staff to do better, but studies show that negative feedback rarely leads to employee improvement. 

You should focus on the specific actions or behaviors that led to the outcome you’re discussing, not your employee’s identity or character as a person. Instead of saying, “You didn’t do this,” say something like: “I noticed during our last meeting you did not follow up with me on this project.”

3. Make sure you’re calm when delivering feedback

people talking

Giving feedback in the workplace requires you to be in a mindset that allows you to concentrate on the conversation. It can mean putting it off or even walking away from your desk for a few minutes. If possible, try to avoid giving feedback in front of others unless they are part of the conversation.

When giving negative feedback, please don’t give it in front of anyone who might feel negatively affected by what they hear; instead, wait until later and ensure that everyone has left before delivering any criticism or suggestions. 

4. Be ready to listen

people sitting

Most people think that giving feedback is a one-way communication thing, and it’s not. As the one to deliver feedback, you must also be ready to listen to the one receiving feedback as well. Research shows that the more employees feel heard, the more they will likely take your feedback positively. 

Listening means that you are interested in what your employee says and trying to understand their point of view. Don’t interrupt while they’re talking; let them finish their sentence or thought before responding. Never assume what someone else is trying to say by saying something like, “I don’t get it.” Try asking questions instead—you’ll learn so much more from getting clarification from someone else than just guessing at the meaning behind a phrase. 

We hope you learned a few pointers on how to give constructive feedback at work. Here are a few more giving and receiving feedback examples that you can check out and learn from!

Continue Reading


14 Highest Rated and Most Downloaded Travel Apps in 2022



seated woman

If you’re a frequent traveler, you know how important it is to have reliable travel apps. The right app can save you money, time, and stress by giving you all the information you need before heading out. We’ve rounded up some of our the highest rated and most downloaded travel apps that make planning trips easier than ever before:

1. Citymapper

screenshot of citymapper website

Any savvy traveler knows how important it is to have a good map app on your phone. That’s where Citymapper comes in. 

Citymapper is possibly one of the best travel apps 2022 has to offer when it comes to mapping and public transportation. It shows real-time travel options between any two points in a supported city. It combines information for all urban transport systems, including driving, biking, and walking, in addition to public transit. 

2. Agoda

screenshot of agoda website

If you want hassle-free travel, Agoda is your go-to app.

When it comes to booking accommodations all over the world, Agoda is one of the most popular and dependable travel apps. It gives you access to hotels, hostels, vacation rentals, and even villas in various countries. This app offers just what you need to plan your next trip, from its user-friendly interface to the ability to search for properties by city or neighborhood. 

3. Roadtrippers

screenshot of roadtrippers website

If you’re planning a road trip, Roadtrippers can make your life a lot easier. The app allows users to plot up to seven waypoints. It also recommends roadside attractions, scenic stops, and food options along the route. They also offer pre-made guides for road trips popular among users.

4. Skyscanner

screenshot of skyscanner website

Skyscanner is one of the most loved travel apps for flights. It helps you find the lowest airfares and the most affordable hotel rooms. It lets you compare prices from different airlines and hotels instantly so you can find the best deal in your target destination. 

And if you’re looking for car rentals instead of airline tickets or hotels? Well, Skyscanner has that covered too! Their database includes thousands of cars available at every rental agency worldwide so that you can find what kind of car suits your needs best.

5. Timeshifter

screenshot of timeshifter website

Ever landed in a different time zone and felt like a zombie the whole day because of jet lag? Timeshifter could help. The app offers personalized jet lag plans according to your situation. In addition, the app was made by sleep and circadian rhythm experts, so you can rest assured it’s based on science.

6. Uber

screenshot of uber website

Uber is a ride-hailing app that lets you request a ride with the tap of a button. It’s available in many cities and has become the go-to option for getting around town. 

If you’re looking for an easy way to get from point A to point B, this is your best bet!

7. Meetup

screenshot of meetup website

Don’t know anyone at your destination? You can connect with locals in a few taps with Meetup. This app allows you to discover events in specific locations based on your interests. So, whether you’re interested in music, culture, or food, you’ll have a chance to meet new friends who are into those same things.

8. Airbnb

screenshot of airbnb website

Airbnb is one of the most helpful travel apps for globetrotters who prefer to stay away from hotels and instead try local inns, homestays, or bed and breakfast lodgings. It helps you find unique accommodations for your next trip — no matter where you are in the world.

It’s a great way to find a place with a little extra space, an amazing view, or somewhere just far enough away from the tourist traps. You can find everything from private rooms to entire houses! 

9. Rome2rio

screenshot of rome2rio website

Rome2rio is akin to an instant travel guide. It offers data from more than 160 countries, allowing you to explore the place at your own pace. In addition, it also allows users to compare costs so they can stay within their travel budget.

10. Hopper

screenshot of hopper website

Hopper is one of the most popular and useful travel apps for booking flights. It’s not just a flight search engine—it also helps you find the best time to book your flight, find the lowest price on a new flight, and even helps you plan your trip around your schedule.

The app takes into account things like weather, traffic, and other factors so that it can help you make an informed decision. It also assists in finding lower prices than what others are charging by comparing prices from multiple websites. 

11. TripAdvisor

screenshot of tripadvisor website

Sometimes, the best tour guides are other travelers who have also been to the places you’re visiting. If you’re looking for user-generated reviews, TripAdvisor is a good app to download. It features more than 700 million reviews of eight million destinations worldwide – from tourist sites to hotels and restaurants.

12. Waze

screenshot of waze website

Waze is a helpful navigation app that lets you share real-time traffic info with friends. You can use it to find the fastest route, get directions to your destination, and avoid accidents and hazards along the way.

Waze also allows you to report accidents, hazards, or police sightings in your area so other users can avoid them too. The app will also send alerts if there are road closures nearby or speed traps set up by local law enforcement agencies—so you’ll know what’s happening before it happens!

13. Trabee Pocket

screenshot of trabee pocket website

If you need to stay within your travel budget, download Trabee Pocket. This app not only allows you to track your receipts and spending but also offers a quick exchange rate calculator. That said, it’s a perfect companion for trips when you don’t have a small fortune to spend.

14. Google Translate

screenshot of google translate website

Have you ever needed to ask someone in a foreign country where the nearest restroom is? Then, after a few moments of questioning, you realize they don’t understand a word you’re saying! It would help if you had Google Translate

Google Translate is one of the most trusted travel apps for iPhone that allows you to translate over 133 languages directly from your phone, so all of the words can be spoken and heard by you. What makes this app even better than other travel apps is its easy use—you just hold your thumb on the screen and say what you want to be translated. It’s as simple as that!

And for other tips, news, and stories, read more here at Owner‘s Mag!

Continue Reading