Where are the Lesbians? NYC’s Lost Community

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Where are the Lesbians? NYC’s Lost Community

While most people may think lesbians have a built-in gaydar, we don’t. In reality, checking to see if she’s watched the L Word or has an all-flannel wardrobe won’t land you a date with the cute girl you see on your commute.

You would think attempting to find lesbians would be easy in New York, but in reality it’s much more difficult. While many people in the LGBTQ community head to their favorite gay bar on the weekends, lesbian bars are being closed down, not just in New York but across the country.

Wage Gap

Lila Thirkield, the owner of Lexington Club, one of the last lesbian bars to be shut down in San Francisco, mentions that her club created a safe and affordable space for lesbians. But with the rising prices in San Francisco, many lesbians are moving away from the gay friendly city to more affordable locations.

Interestingly enough, bars for gay (mostly White) men don’t seem to be facing the same issues. Gay White men, like other White men, tend to have more economic and social capital. According to the Gender Wage Gap of 2015, women who are full time employees made only 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, creating a gender wage gap of 20%. Jack Halberstam, a professor in gender studies at USC, also mentions that class has continued to stratify the queer community, limiting the accessibility to gay bars in more urban areas.

Stereotypes

There are also several stereotypes that impact the process of finding lesbians in today’s society. For example, lesbians are frequently referred to as the “U-Haul lesbian,” meaning they meet, get into a relationship, then move in together all within a very short period of time. These stereotypes, while may be true for some, aren’t true for all. This creates pressure for lesbians who aren’t looking for relationships, or may seek polygamous or open relationships.

Dating Apps

In previous decades, lesbian bars were the primary way that lesbian women found a community, friend, or partner. Now with online dating and apps such as Her and Pink cupid, the need for lesbian bars has probably decreased even more. Now, lesbian women may be even less likely to go out to find a partner and search for one online. On the flip side some people are not fond of apps leaving them with limiting options to find partners or even a community.

Gender Inclusion

Additionally, with the trans community becoming more and more visible, many question if lesbian bars are trans affirming and welcoming. This lack of inclusion may have marginalized lesbian bars, also adding to the decrease of attendance.

Mental Health

Lesbian women are also impacted very differently than other people. According to a study by the CDC, 44% of lesbian woman have reported intimate partner violence compared to 35% of heterosexual women and 26% of gay men.

Here at KIP we have therapists who specialize in working with the LGBTQ community, and are trained in addressing trauma, interpersonal conflict, and abuse and violence. Learn more about our work here!

Kenya Crawford
KIP Intern

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