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Since Prohibition ended in , there are a number of places open and continuously operating since that date:. Because of a raid on a Mexico City drag ball in , when 41 men were arrested, the number 41 has come to symbolize male homosexuality in Mexican popular culture , figuring frequently in jokes and in casual teasing. Relative freedom from official harassment continued until when Mayor Ernesto Uruchurtu closed every gay bar following a grisly triple-murder.
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But by the late s several Mexican cities had gay bars and, later, U. These places, however, were sometimes clandestine but tolerated by local authorities, which often meant that they were allowed to exist so long as the owners paid bribes. A fairly visible presence was developed in large cities such as Guadalajara , Acapulco , Veracruz and Mexico City. However, there are at least several gay bars in most major cities.
The first recorded use of the term 'gay bar' is in the diaries of homosexual British comedian Kenneth Williams : "16 January Went round to the gay bar which wasn't in the least gay. In the s, straight nightclubs began to open their doors to gay clients on designated nights of the week. In the s, a lesbian bar named Crocodile Rock opened in Far East Plaza, which remains to this day the oldest lesbian bar in Singapore. Mega-clubs like Zouk and Avalon are also a big draw for the gay crowd. The oldest gay bar in Beijing is the Half-and-Half, which in had been open over ten years.
Qiao Qiao also opened another popular lesbian bar, Feng bar, also known as Pipes, which was closed by the police in The oldest continuously operating Japanese gay bar, New Sazae, opened in Tokyo in In Seoul, most gay bars were originally congregated near the Itaewon area of Seoul , near the U. But in recent years, more clubs have located in the Sinchon area, indicating that 'safe spaces' for Korean LGBT people have extended beyond the foreign zones, which were traditionally more tolerant. One male bar patron said Korean bar culture was not as direct as in the United States, with customers indicating their interest in another customer by ordering him a drink through a waiter.
The oldest lesbian bar in Seoul is Lesbos, which started in When the bar was first opened, it was infiltrated by government undercover agents who were concerned about its effect on public morality and outed the owner as homosexual to his family and friends. Now, however, the owner claims to have no problem with the government and has since opened a second establishment.
The history of gay and lesbian bars in South Africa reflects the racial divisions that began in the Apartheid era and continue, to some extent, in the 21st century. The first white gay bar opened in the Carlton Hotel in downtown Johannesburg in the late s, catering exclusively to men of wealth. In the s, other urban bars began to open that drew more middle and working class white men; lesbians were excluded. The language of Gayle had its roots in the Cape Coloured and Afrikaans -speaking underground gay bar culture.
In , when the government threatened to pass repressive anti-gay legislation, queer culture went even further underground, which meant clubs and bars were often the only places to meet. These bars were often the targets of police raids. The most popular gay club of Johannesburg was The Dungeon, which attracted females as well as males, and lasted until the s. The police assault on the New Mandy's Club, in which patrons fought back, has been referred to as South Africa's Stonewall. In the s, police raids on white gay clubs lessened as the apartheid government forces found itself dealing with more and more resistance from the black population.
In the black townships, some of the shebeens , unlicensed bars established in people's homes and garages, catered to LGBTQ clients. During the struggle against apartheid, some of these shebeens were important meeting places for black gay and lesbian resistance fighters. With the establishment of the post-apartheid constitution that outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation as well as race, South Africa's gay night life exploded, though many bars continued to be segregated by race, and fewer blacks than whites go to the urban bars.
The inaugural gay shebeen tour was advertised as a gay pub crawl that would provide an opportunity for South Africans and foreigners to "experience true African gay Shebeen culture". For example, San Francisco had over gay bars when the epidemic hit in the early s, by there were only about 30 remaining.
Gay bars have always been a place of refuge and support for gay men impacted by the virus. A few commentators have suggested that gay bars are facing decline in the contemporary age due to the pervasiveness of technology. Andrew Sullivan argued in his essay "The End of Gay Culture" that gay bars are declining because "the Internet dealt them a body blow. If you are merely looking for sex or a date, the Web is now the first stop for most gay men". June Thomas explained the decline by noting that there is less need for gay-specific venues like bars because gay people are less likely to encounter discrimination or be made unwelcome in wider society.
Many commentators have argued there has been some recent decline in gay-specific venues mainly due to the modern effects of gentrification.
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They also asserted most gay men never stopped finding great value in gay-specific venues and being in the company of other gay men. Many articles have been published discussing possible reasons as to why lesbian bars struggle to exist despite a growing lesbian population. Like most bars and pubs, gay bars range in size from the small, five-seat bars of Tokyo to large, multi-story clubs with several distinct areas and more than one dance floor.
A large venue may be referred to as a nightclub , club , or bar, while smaller venues are typically called bars and sometimes pubs. The only defining characteristic of a gay bar is the nature of its clientele. The serving of alcohol is the primary business of gay bars and pubs. Like non-gay establishments they serve as a meeting place and LGBT community focal point, in which conversation, relaxation, and meeting potential romantic and sexual partners is the primary focus of the clientele.
Historically and continuing in many communities, gay bars have been valued by patrons as the only place closeted gay men and lesbians can be open and demonstrative about their sexuality without fear of discovery.
Gerard Koskovich of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society explains that "[Gay bars] were a public place where gay people could meet and start to have a conversation, where they didn't feel like sexual freaks or somehow not part of the larger social fabric; from that came culture, politics, demands for equal rights. Gay bars traditionally preferred to remain discreet and virtually unidentifiable outside the gay community, relying exclusively on word of mouth promotion.
More recently, gay clubs and events are often advertised by handing out eye-catching flyers on the street, in gay or gay-friendly shops and venues, and at other clubs and events. Similar to flyers for predominantly heterosexual venues, these flyers frequently feature provocative images and theme party announcements.
While traditional gay pub-like bars are nearly identical to bars catering to the general public, gay dance venues often feature elaborate lighting design and video projection, fog machines and raised dancing platforms. Hired dancers called go-go girls or go-go boys may also feature in decorative cages or on podiums.
Some of the longest established gay bars are unofficial hosts of elaborate local 'Royal Court' drag pageants and drag-related social groups. Gay bars and nightclubs are sometimes segregated by sex. In some establishments, people who are perceived to be of the "wrong" sex for example, a man attempting to enter a women's club may be unwelcome or even barred from entry. This may be more common in specialty bars, such as gay male leather fetish or BDSM bars, or bars or clubs which have a strict dress code. It is also common in bars and clubs where sex on the premises is a primary focus of the establishment.
On the other hand, gay bars are usually welcoming of transgender and cross-dressed people, and drag shows are a common feature in many gay bars, even men-only spaces. Some gay bars and clubs which have a predominantly male clientele, as well as some gay bathhouses and other sex clubs , may offer occasional women-only nights.
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A few gay bars attempt to restrict entry to only gay or lesbian people, but in practice this is difficult to enforce. Most famously, Melbourne 's Peel Hotel was granted an exemption from Australia's Equal Opportunities Act by a state tribunal, on the grounds that the exemption was needed to prevent "sexually-based insults and violence" aimed at the pub's patrons. As a result of the decision, the pub is legally able to advertise as a "gay only" establishment, and door staff can ask people whether they are gay before allowing them inside, and can turn away non-gay people.
Some of these sub-cultures are defined by costume and performance. These bars often forge a like-minded community in dozens of cities with leather gay bars, line-dancing gay bars, and drag revues. Other subcultures cater to men who fit a certain type, one that is often defined by age, body type, personality, and musical preference.
There are gay bars that cater to " twinks " young, smooth-bodied pretty boys and others that cater to bears older, larger, hairier alternatives to the well-manicured and fey gay stereotype. There are also gay bars that cater to certain races, such as ones for Asian men "and their admirers", Latin men, or black men. Music , either live or, more commonly, mixed by a disc jockey DJ , is often a prominent feature of gay bars.
In larger North American cities and in Australia, one or more gay bars with a country music theme and line dancing are also common, as are bars known for retro s pop and "Motown Sound. In recent years many popular lesbian bars have closed down. In , JD Samson made a documentary exploring the very few remaining lesbian bars in the United States.
Here's what dating is like in 20 countries around the world - Insider
Category:LGBT culture. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 4 November This article is about the type of bar. For the song by Electric Six, see Gay Bar song. Retrieved The Pursuit of Glory: Europe Neumann 17 June Archived from the original on Archived from the original on 16 February Retrieved 8 December Retrieved November 28, Atlas Obscura.
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