There are two gay bars that have come to my attention since moving from the lost green forests of pines in Northern Minnesota to the intriguing colors and sites of the Twin Cities. There is first the Gay 90’s and secondly, Lush. I am sure there are more gay and lesbian bars within the metro, but I don’t care to hear about them because I am frustrated with what they might be doing to the queer scene.
It is widely published, especially by the opponents as well as supporters of the queer movement that the queer community has a high addiction rate. An article titled Gay and Ashamed. How America’s shame Culture is Feeding LGBT Addiction discusses how shame and stigma feed the flames of chemical dependency of queer individuals.
. . . according to Joseph Amico, president of the National Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Addiction Professionals and Their Allies, this culture of shame is much more than embarrassment, though. In fact, it is the leading cause of addiction, and it is the reason why drug and alcohol abuse is higher in the LGBT community that it is among heterosexuals.
The article shares a too frequently read narrative of an addict going from bad to worse in an attempt to feel good about herself. Where family members were not open to their daughter Erin’s sexual orientation, Erin turned to drugs as a place for acceptance. Being intoxicated was the place for escape from the reality that her family was rejecting her. She quickly felt, like many others, there was nowhere else to turn to feel good.
But, this addiction phenomenon is highly complicated pulling in many factors. Not only can alcohol and drugs reduce the stress and social tension that comes along with a queer identification, it is often tied into a social atmosphere of acceptance which the queer community is desperately seeking. That is where gay bars come in.
I have been told on many occasions that to find a boyfriend, I would have to head to a gay bar to have a “good time”. Though an occasional scurry may be fun, I know the consequences of such a culture. The gay bar to me is a place where the stereotypical “gay lifestyle” hides itself behind glazed eyes and highly sexualized bodies. More disturbing is the fact that the gay bar is one of the places where queers can actually be themselves. If I went to a gay bar, I wouldn’t have to worry about a number of things that the heterosexual world rarely considers when courting and dating.
In a day out on the town, I can be considered freaky and perverted for checking out another man. People become judgmental if you act a bit effeminate when you are a male or manly as a female. When dating, people will taunt you for holding hands and even throw condoms at you for expressing your love through a simple kiss or a lean on a shoulder. (Black People: Condoms and Faggots) When you are at the Mall of America, people will actually laugh at you and utter statements like, “Hey, look at these two.” for just sitting close to your partner’s side.
The question left is, where are the safe places to be gay? Where is it safe to hang out with your partner? Where is it safe to check out someone and ask people out on a date? Sometimes the only place that it can be found and safe to express such sentiments is within the gay scenes that often actively promote drug use and promiscuity getting the queer community hooked, and addicted. That is precisely why I don’t go to gay bars.
Jacob Woods blogs at Good as Gay and can be found at @thejacobwoods