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Old 06-27-2016, 05:24 PM   #1
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Default Lesbian Visibility--Your needs? Your thoughts?

I am starting talks in my town as to the present needs of the Lesbian community. Lesbian Visibility has once again, it seems, diminished.

The evolution of time and life has been helping us mainstream ourselves here in Los Angeles. This is a good thing. A wonderful thing. BUT when things like Orlando occur, our natural support locations are nill and gone.

We have no Lesbian space. Our bars have closed (save for one or two) and all we have is a night here or "That bar gets a lot of women on this night of the week" Type of places.

The Friday before Pride used to be a Lesbian night, but the local Pride committee has co-oped it for a music festival.

And so, my friends, Give me your thoughts? What would you need from your local community to make you feel safe and included? What would you need from your friends and neighbors to make you feel like your voice was heard and your basic Lesbian needs were met? (lifestyle needs, dating needs, etc)

Please include your age if you don't mind. I'm trying to make this TransGenerational.
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Old 06-27-2016, 05:26 PM   #2
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An example.

Back in the 80's and 90's, we had local Lesbian publications. If a bar opened, if danger reared it's ugly head, if events were happening, we got it from this newspaper.

Now with Twitter and the internet, it seems like we are so connected with so many venues that we might actually be MISSING some information. So now, for the teens, the 20's and 30 year olds, how do you keep informed about the happenings in your town?
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Old 06-27-2016, 05:59 PM   #3
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I miss having lesbian spaces. My long-term ex and I used to go to the Women's Building in LA often for all sorts of activities. It closed in 1991. This is from the Women's Building.Org:

"The founding of the Woman's Building in Los Angeles in 1973 was the culmination of several years of activity by women artists who were energized by the feminist movement in this country. This activity included protests of major museums for their exclusion of women artists, the opening of gallery spaces dedicated to the work of women, the founding of the first feminist art education programs (in 1970, by Judy Chicago at Fresno State College and in 1971 by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro at California Institute of the Arts), and the first large scale public feminist art installation, Womanhouse.

In 1973, artist Judy Chicago, graphic designer Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, and art historian Arlene Raven founded the first independent school for women artists, the Feminist Studio Workshop. The FSW focused not only on the development of artmaking skills (in visual arts, writing, performance art, video, graphic design and the printing arts), but also on the development of women's identity and sensibility, and the translation of these elements into their artwork. Central to the founders' vision was the idea that the arts should not be separated from other activities of the burgeoning women's community, and the three looked for a site for their school that could also be shared with other organizations and enterprises.

This space, the Woman's Building, opened in November 1973. The Woman's Building took its name and inspiration from a structure built by Sophia Hayden for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago to house exhibitions of cultural works by women from around the world.

When the Woman's Building first opened in 1973, it occupied the site of the old Chouinard Art Institute near MacArthur Park. Hundreds of women came from across the United States (and from as far away as Canada, Mexico, Holland and Switzerland) to attend the FSW. The facility was also home to galleries, theater companies, Sisterhood Bookstore, Womantours Travel Agency, a coffeehouse, and the offices of the National Organization for Women.

In 1975, the Woman's Building moved to a building on North Spring Street, near Chinatown. At that time, the organization began to generate its own programming, so the entire three floors of the reconverted warehouse were filled with artistic activities."

We loved meeting friends at the coffeehouse, listening to music, going to the galleries, getting books at Sisterhood Bookstore, etc.

Even in a big city like LA, there is nothing else like it now and there never will be again. Young lesbians will never know the community that existed at the time.

Now that I am older, I think it would be so wonderful to have a space like that for a community of lesbians, both young and old.
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Old 06-30-2016, 07:28 AM   #4
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Excellent topic!

Being older, I guess I don't really require much from having a sense of gay community at this age but I too wonder how the younger folks find or maybe they don't even require a sense of community??
I'm in my early 60's and I remember having bars, support groups, and a local publication (Gay People's Union) that all lent to a sense of community! The support groups at the Counseling Center in Milwaukee dealt with all ranges and ages. From those questioning their sexuality (My Space) to those who knew their sexuality (Our Space) to older lesbians (Silver Space).
Those programs/groups no longer exist and I wonder sometimes if that's a good or bad thing!
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Old 06-30-2016, 05:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by homoe View Post
Excellent topic!

Being older, I guess I don't really require much from having a sense of gay community at this age but I too wonder how the younger folks find or maybe they don't even require a sense of community??
I'm in my early 60's and I remember having bars, support groups, and a local publication (Gay People's Union) that all lent to a sense of community! The support groups at the Counseling Center in Milwaukee dealt with all ranges and ages. From those questioning their sexuality (My Space) to those who knew their sexuality (Our Space) to older lesbians (Silver Space).
Those programs/groups no longer exist and I wonder sometimes if that's a good or bad thing!

Even at our ages there could become a need for support. Especially when Homophobia rears its ugly voice.

So, in your early 60's, what do you think your area could do to get you involved in helping to start a community?
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Old 06-30-2016, 05:16 PM   #6
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And don't worry. I by no means want to make anyone feel like they HAVE to get involved in their communities. I know that just isn't feasible for some.

I just need to collect ideas to help me reach out to different groups of people here in my town.
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Old 06-30-2016, 06:07 PM   #7
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Default Interesting topic

Ok, I may be way off base, but I will just share what I have experienced and what it is like for me here.
I have lived in different places throughout my adult life. When I lived in Philadelphia, there was a large women's population, along with trans, leather etc. What I experienced was a much larger accommodation for gay men than anyone. That aside, there were some lesbian bars, however, they were not very accepting of trans folks... so, that was a huge turn off for me. I personally felt uncomfortable at some of these clubs, because they always seemed to be off in an alley, Not sure why this is, but seemed almost like out of sight out of mind. What I would have loved is more outreach, I would have liked to feel safe.
Then where I live now is quite a small town, compared to Philly, we have to lesbian bars here, very small....they are coincidently off side roads (almost hidden) as well. Now, this experience is quite special. First, we have the Christian Crusaders, holding signs of how we will burn in hell etc... that is a bit unnerving, added to that, in the deep south, it really is just known to keep it quiet... It can be very lonely as a lesbian, from what I have experienced here is the majority of the "seen" lesbians are quite young. There will be an occasional holding of hands in public here, but I literally cringe when I see it, the fear just makes me run cold. I would love to see more support here, I would love to feel more acceptance, I would like to walk into a club and not feel as if my life were not at stake.
I believe I have rambled enough... I hope that I have come close to what u were looking for!

As far as keeping in touch with happenings, I have the bar owner on my facebook page and she post updates
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Old 09-28-2016, 09:35 PM   #8
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Ok I had to dig this thread out!

During my recent travels I found out that the last two lesbian bars in Tel Aviv have closed... Gay bars are everywhere...yet similar that's not the same...

Yesterday I happen to come across "Gaycation" a Viceland TV show. I saw the Paris episode and interestingly enough noticed that almost the exact same things have been described to be happening in Paris.

I know that what I'm about to say might inflame some people, however, please do not take this statement as provocation or defamation, my intentions are far from malicious, I'm just throwing this out there as food for thought and healthy discussion...

Ehm, so here it comes- Today everyone wants to be Queer but no one wants to be a Lesbian anymore.

One thing I've noticed among some younger people (worldwide), is that a word "Lesbian" has suddenly absorbed some sort of negativity, it has become a dirty word, along with the word "Butch". "GenderQueer" is the New Millennium acceptable alternative... In my humble personal opinion those two are interchangeable or mutually compatible terms... as they are two quite different buckets of attributes.

Being a Lesbian in 2016 somehow comes with derogatory undertones...

I wonder why?

French Lesbian scene in 2016 appears to be 100% underground society just like pre 1960es. Mostly kinky society.
Israeli Lesbian scene is non-existant, I've heard someone there say "if you aren't "Queer" enough to hang around the gay boys, tough luck bitch!" lolol I am not going to reveal how I wished I could have responded to that lolol

Anyways, it's not about the Gays, it's not about the Queers, it's not about any other pink, purple and polka dotted, sliced and diced micro identity... It's about visibility... diminishing visibility...

Someone said "Being quiet does not mean being invisible" ... but how are you gong to be heard if you're quiet? Are we fine with being invisible? Out of sight out of mind!

Social battle is not over... it is far from over...

Should we be happy to retire to the underground?
In my opinion the "underground exclusive" may ostracize large portion of the community...

Is an occasional public bdsm dungeon all we shall be reduced to? (there's nothing wrong with dungeons don't get me wrong just there's more to a tree then a single leaf !)

I'm the first person not to be hitting up bars, just never felt comfortable in such social surroundings much... what can I say I'm just a nerd who prefers to deal with paperwork, petitions and lobbying for legislative push of all kinds... That said... Once you notice a social trend on national level, it concerns you. Once you notice it on global level, shouldn't it alarm you ever so slightly? Shouldn't we wake up from this deep sleep for just a second?

There you go....Those are my 5 cents....

Now I feel sad, old, Lesbian and oh so unQueer. lol
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Old 09-28-2016, 11:11 PM   #9
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Default Dyke space...yes i said the "D" word.

There is a big reduction in the amount of lesbian space at least from my vantage point. Yeah, what has happened to womyn's (or dyke) bars of the late 70's, 80's, and even thru to the Millenium. They seem to have closed being replaced by gay bars.
Do enjoy spending time at The Eagle with my leather bros, but lesbian/dyke bars are an integral part of our community that's just plain GONE. Am i just being nostalgic (came out during the late 70's)? Did we not support our sisters who were bar owners OR is it something even more sinister?
Have Lesbian Seps vanished? What has happened to our periodicals like "Lesbian Connections" and "Off Our Backs" (let alone "On Our Backs"...SEG and sigh). Don't even wanna touch the topic of MichFest's demise!
Yes, (Virginia...smile) there are Genderqueer older folks. It's not just a Millenial buzz word for lesbian, but an identifer those of us who fit somewhere else along the contineum! i own that.
<sorry...said submissively...with another smile>
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Old 09-29-2016, 12:02 AM   #10
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I noticed Hillary has a cute butch guarding her ~ watch the next time she is lead off a stage . as to this topic ~ great one btw ~V..... living in Massachusetts it's gay land. soo we r not short on visibility. lol
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Old 09-29-2016, 11:10 AM   #11
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Well, around here I am the lesbian that is visible!! For many years tho I lived in a city that had visibility. Sometimes it was seen as positive and sometimes it was seen as negative. That was dependent on where you were at the time of holding hands for example, and if not in a social lesbian club or gay safe place there were some additional locations such as parks and known areas. Also for me, being around and with my family with my gf was/is always positive.

I like the term lesbian to identify something about me, I wear that term proudly!! I think as time goes on there are different words used from what I know and knew. Yea, I think id terms were more extreme being one way or the other back then, butch being the most definitive, and yet femme was used generically if you were not butch. That left a lot of room for how people identified about themselves but didn't know how to be even more different with adding more terminology. At some point I grabbed onto the word tweener in the late 90's to describe myself. To describe someones id/look and now with all the variables it can be confusing and feeling lost or not seen happens more frequently. I have to say I remember feeling sometimes from with in and what I saw among my friends and acquaintances was the in-between of that one way or another, hence the tweener word. Where I live is rural and I don't expect to see another lesbian out here .....as much as I hope to.....she is not gonna fall out of the sky and land beside me!

The Lesbian Connection For, By & About Lesbians is alive and well, even has a website!! They do ask for a donation, but it is not necessary as they are " free to lesbians worldwide" . The cover still always promotes women art. They have been around for many years and I am happy they are still thriving!

So maybe the term lesbian is not used as much, maybe outta all the gay possibilities us lesbians are the thinkers and watchers with different variations. It's not to say that we are complacent, but I am OK with no lime light. I know where I came from, and I know where I want to go. I thank the many before me that laid the path I follow, and hopefully I have added some bricks to the path to keep it going for others. Lesbian sisters...I love you !! I see you......I just know we will always exists and are not doomed. Aww hell, hopefully not sounding full of my lesbianism .....even responding here makes me feel a little elitist with that title!
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Old 11-07-2016, 08:16 PM   #12
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Just happen to stumble upon this TV bit again tonight.... Vice Essentials "The last lesbian bars" http://www.vice.com/read/the-last-le...rs-apvideo-178

One of the arguments explaining why this phenomenon of diminishing lesbian presence is happening is that social milieu plays the major part...

Quote: "Affluent middle class white lesbians are not spending their money going to bars..."

Wow....just wow....this hit me like a tone of bricks. Then I realized this actually really hits home for me, having never been a bar goer....

My next thought is what needs to be done to bridge the gap?

What is the alternative real-estate for lesbian visibility recitation if any, physical or virtual real estate?
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Old 11-07-2016, 10:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubala View Post
Just happen to stumble upon this TV bit again tonight.... Vice Essentials "The last lesbian bars" http://www.vice.com/read/the-last-le...rs-apvideo-178

One of the arguments explaining why this phenomenon of diminishing lesbian presence is happening is that social milieu plays the major part...

Quote: "Affluent middle class white lesbians are not spending their money going to bars..."

Wow....just wow....this hit me like a tone of bricks. Then I realized this actually really hits home for me, having never been a bar goer....

My next thought is what needs to be done to bridge the gap?

What is the alternative real-estate for lesbian visibility recitation if any, physical or virtual real estate?
A smoke and coffee shop? ")
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Old 11-07-2016, 10:41 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by deeds View Post
A smoke and coffee shop? ")
Lol whatever floats you boat.

Is it just me or does anyone else feels defeated at this time?
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Old 11-07-2016, 10:45 PM   #15
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Lol whatever floats you boat.

Is it just me or does anyone else feels defeated at this time?
Why do you feel defeated?
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Old 11-07-2016, 10:48 PM   #16
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I've always been invisible... Now we all are... in a way...
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Old 11-07-2016, 11:02 PM   #17
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Just happen to stumble upon this TV bit again tonight.... Vice Essentials "The last lesbian bars" http://www.vice.com/read/the-last-le...rs-apvideo-178

One of the arguments explaining why this phenomenon of diminishing lesbian presence is happening is that social milieu plays the major part...

Quote: "Affluent middle class white lesbians are not spending their money going to bars..."

Wow....just wow....this hit me like a tone of bricks. Then I realized this actually really hits home for me, having never been a bar goer....

My next thought is what needs to be done to bridge the gap?

What is the alternative real-estate for lesbian visibility recitation if any, physical or virtual real estate?
I admit I didn't watch the video, but....

If people don't support any establishment by going there and also spending money there, then it closes.

I have had 20 years of going to lesbian bars. Owners have always given me the same reasons as to why lesbian bars close and gay men's flourish.

1) Historically women drink (drank) beer, so they spent less. Men drink alcohol/mixed drinks, so the tips are higher.

2) Women "couple up" and then drop out of the bar scene until they break up. Relationships don't keep men out of the bars.

Also, in the past, the bars were the only place that we could find each other, whether it be our lovers or our friends. Gay people don't even need their main social group to have gay people in it to find new partners. They just go online, pick up their next lover, and carry on. The same holds true as to why there is a high percentage of lesbian and gay men alcoholics and smokers. We were in the bars as that was our place to gather socially.

I have seen a lot of lesbian bars close over the years. Sad. There are some bars I/others have bemoaned the loss of for many, many years. I never expected Sister's in Philly to close. That one had been around a long time and I thought was still very busy. Young women spent money in that bar, buying mixed/specialty drinks that is more common with the younger, hip crowd. It certainly wasn't the "typical" lesbian bar where we were all drinking Coors Light back in the day. I only recently learned it closed several years ago.

Lesbians are more accepted mainstream. They can dance with their lovers in the bigger cities no matter the club. They don't need to go to the lesbian bars to be themselves. Gay men still have to hide in the shadows, so there is still a use for the bars. And their cash keeps the place going.
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Old 11-07-2016, 11:09 PM   #18
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I've always been invisible... Now we all are... in a way...
Oh..I always say hi and give a smile to all the lesbians I see..Start a secret organization where you stockpile weapons in case all hell breaks out on women... I would volunteer to fight for them all..Benefits of maintaining stealth by being invisible..
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Old 11-07-2016, 11:22 PM   #19
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Oh..I always say hi and give a smile to all the lesbians I see..Start a secret organization where you stockpile weapons in case all hell breaks out on women... I would volunteer to fight for them all..Benefits of maintaining stealth by being invisible..
Oh yes stealth mode, undercover lesbian intel! lol
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Old 11-07-2016, 11:34 PM   #20
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Oh yes stealth mode, undercover lesbian intel! lol
Hey if a bunch of women jumped out of the bushes at me garnishing intelligence and weapons I would definitely see them..
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