Gay bars, like this one in San Francisco, have always served a vital function in LGBT community. Image: Franco Folini licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Creative Commons

Why Our Gay Bars Are Worth Saving

By Beau
Beau is the founder of Apollo Social. He recently relocated to Melbourne with his husband and has begun a love affair with the city.
CNN Business explores the significance of gay bars to the LGBT community and why they are worth protecting, especially through the pandemic.

Alexi Minko, the owner of the first LGBT bar in Harlem, is determined to see his establishment survive Covid, despite the many challenges. Alexi sees his bar as vital to the LGBT community in his neighbourhood and he does not consider closing down an option. A crowd-funding campaign has raised more than $169,000 to keep the bar afloat and it has been recognized nationally by The Human Rights Campaign.

Gay and lesbian bars have always been more than a place to get a drink. They have served as vital meeting places for the LGBT community. They reached their peak between World War II and the 1970s as demand was at a high for safe spaces in an often hostile world. However gay bars have been in decline for decades. There were 1500 gay bars in the United States in the 1980s. That number has dropped to 1000 today. And the statistics for bars that cater to women or people of colour are even worse. Women make relatively less income than men and therefore have less disposable income.

The reasons for the decline in gay bars is complicated. However, the proliferation of online dating apps such as Grindr are clearly having an impact. Eric Gonzaba, an American studies professor at California State University at Fullerton, is still optimistic about the value of gay bars. 

"I think it's totally conceivable that we might see a rebirth or a renaissance once people can interact again," Gonzaba said.

Let's hope Gonzaba is right.

Read the full article "The pandemic is hurting gay and lesbian bars" on CNN Business.