At a recent newly-launched lesbian party in Brooklyn, women scattered themselves haphazardly throughout the backyard of a gay bar filled mostly with men. Wearing dark jeans and denim jackets, they stood in small groups, intermittently scanning the room while talking amongst themselves. Inside the bar, the dance floor was empty.
“This is why lesbian bars all close, because everyone is U-hauling!” Valentina Osorio, a queer-identifying woman who lives in Brooklyn exclaimed, alluding to a verb that refers to how quickly lesbian and bisexual women move towards commitment and, often times, the suburbs. “When you’re coupled up you don’t leave the house.”
Osorio wasn’t imagining things: Women don’t want to spend money at lesbian bars anymore. Although the number of people who identify as LGBTQ is on the rise, the number of spaces dedicated to their communities has fallen. Statistics are few, but an analysis of gay travel guides showed the number of LGBTQ bars in the U.S. decreased by 12.5 percent between 2005 and 2011.