Saturday, June 8, 2013

Gay Bar Pros And Cons For A Duel Nature'd Nation

            According to an article written for Slate by June Thomas, in 2007 Entrepreneur magazine put gay bars on the list of businesses on the verge of extinction along with record stores and pay phones. In two cases,that list was correct. And record stores have proven not to be one of those cases in actuality to add perspective. In the 20th century gay bars were to the LGBTQ community,before it was even broad enough to have such a name, what the Sanctified Church was to African Americans. It was not only a meeting place,but where sociopolitical movements began. Of course the historical Stonewall riots in 1969 took place at a gay bar. Several years ago gay bars became unneeded as most popular night spots became perfectly open to same sex couples conversing and dancing. That applies to major cities mostly. Even today, in the semi rural area of Maine I live in,its a totally different situation.

           Ever since I became aware of the earliest gay bar in my area called The Rage in the early 1990's, the gay community (as it was then referred to) depended solely on the gay bar in this area of Maine in order to network and meet each other. This was of course not yet a decade after the murder of Charlie Howard in 1984,which took place in the area where I lived and still live to this day. After the dissolving of my first relationship a gay club opened up in the town I lived in,actually right up the street.  They had a dance floor and a full bar. This was during 2005-2007 when they shut down. I had my theories why they were short lived. But the fact was,this club represented how similar the lives of the homosexual in my area was still very much how it had been for the rest of America two decades earlier or more. I would overhear tales of people having physical rendezvous with their partners in cars on dark,secluded side streets. As if being homosexual was still something appropriate to be ashamed of.

            Eventually some extremely tragic events began to occur. Due to some unfortunate local politics, homosexual people in my local area were like anyone else living there. Quite a few of them were on anti depressants or some form of psycho active medication. Many of them had also developed alcoholism and other drug dependencies. This seemed particularly strong among the transsexual individuals who did drag shows at the club. A lot of them were not in fact transgender'd individuals. Many of them were simply ashamed of their man hood. Instead of people having fun-dancing,laughing,eating and being happy there was a lot of depressive drinking,solemn attitudes not to mention a degree of crying and what some of the more cruel customers of the bar would call "drama". By the early months of 2007 this club had closed. Unsure if the owners or attendees are still in the area, I'll restrain from mentioning the club's name. 

          Overall this entire experienced nearly eroded some of my personal confidence in my own homosexuality. I started to feel displaced in the state in which I was born in. All of a sudden it became extremely difficult for me to mingle with many of the other people who'd gone to this club because at least one of them had made me into a subject of malicious gossip. It completely changed by point of view on the growth of the local LGBTQ community. Marching in the local Pride parade last year for the first time should've helped,and in the short term it did. But the main factor of it all remains. There is a reason why few to no mass social change movements have taken root where alcoholic beverages are being served. Hard alcohol is a well known depressant. And especially for middle aged homosexual men of the modern era,who've been told all their lives they aren't 'real men", these feelings of anger and anguish flow out in over arching ways when bought out with alcoholic consumption. My opinion? Perhaps the LGBTQ community in more sheltered and semi rural towns need to find a more productive way to socialize.   


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