I need to post about what’s happened recently but I’ll do that later. Right now, I want to talk about an entry in the Houston Post about the closing of a local lesbian bar. This isn’t news-bars open and close all the time (more close than open in this economy, though). But one of the comments got me thinking:

So one gay bar closes, and gays and lesbians can go… anywhere in town they please, because they’ve become accepted into mainstream culture, as they should. A lot of places like Marys, and now Chances, are more relics of times when gays and lesbians had to flock to gay bars because they didn’t feel comfortable outing themselves in public.

One would think that letting Montrose evolve from a segregated district that was formed to escape gay intolerence into a place that everyone can enjoy and be a part of would be a unanimously positive thing, but people have to bitch.

No, people bitch because we’re losing part of our culture. It was a gay bar in New York City where the whole “gay liberation” movement got started. Gay and lesbian bars of all sorts were where you could meet and be accepted. If you think that mainstream bars are ready for us, read a little farther…

Which got this reply:

Um…that’s pretty inaccurate, Anonymous, and rather ignorant. if you’re a mainstream wealthy gay or lesbian, maybe that’s true. But think outside your own experience.

Chances is an important place for lots of queer folks, mainstream and non-mainstream alike. The fact that they’re replacing it with an expensive restaurant is just one more example of how non-mainstream gays and lesbians are constantly marginalized in society (so is your comment by the way!).

The reference to wealthy gays and lesbians sounds classist, but it’s not. There really is a schism in the LGbt “community” and it’s one of wealth, appearance (how “straight” you look and act) and privilege. If you’re on the right side, you’re all for mainstreaming because it goes with your lifestyle. If you’re not so straight looking, if you’re a drag queen or leatherfolk or a bit nelly or butch you’re supposed to just stay at home because you’re a risk to the privileged getting their “rights.” Just let that bus roll over you, okay?

And this:

Ok seriously, you actually think queerfolk are actually accepted in mainstream society? We are accepted as novelties on tv and in the movies, but not as valued human beings in the “real world.” As a shining example of this point(and the fact that Montrose is dying as a bastion and sanctuary for the queer community) I was out at a supposedly “everyone” bar(i.e. Not exclusively gay bar)with my boyfriend the other night to celebrate my birthday. He kissed me at midnight in celebration and the table next to us began making comments about how they ” did not need to see that” and quite specifically “thats fine in the privacy of their own home, but in public? Eww” So Gide you tell me if we are accepted in mainstream culture? Keep in mind this was in MONTROSE! So yes we do need our own safe spaces! And yes we will express displeasure as we lose them! From what I’ve seen(and this isn’t the only example of growing homophobia in what was once our Gayborhood) when you start gentrifying an area you displace the people and culture which were already there. And generally speaking, the people that come along with that gentrification tend not to be so open minded.

Ironically, if it’d been two lesbians kissing the next table would have probably been all “Oooh, that’s hot!” because it’s okay for two women to kiss and reinforce your little fantasies (even if they’d never let you near them in bed ever). Two guys kissing? DISGUSTING!

Yeah, we’re so mainstream aren’t we? Right…

Since I have lived here, Dallas has lost two LGbt bars. It also lost the only LGbt bookstore in town, which was a cornerstone of the Cedar Springs “gayborhood.” A gay-owned leather shop closed because the rent was raised so high it was unaffordable (and that space is still empty, two years later). We’re losing our community, one space at a time…