Monthly Archives: May 2017

Where Have All the Gay Bars Gone?

Many long-running, successful gay bars around the world have been closing over the last few years, and the rise of homosexual online dating apps are supposedly to blame.  However, the prevalence of straight dating apps has exploded as well, and yet the business of traditional, heterosexual bars remains stable.  In fact, many straight bars are finding new life as safe meet-up places for first dates, even for non-drinkers.

Gay bars provide purposes the dating apps cannot entirely replace, such as spaces to hold fundraisers and political events, plus a safe and organic way to make friends, network, and date within the same sex.

So if not for apps, then why are these centers of civil rights disappearing?

The theories include:

  1. Gays are more accepted in general and can congregate more freely in “normal” establishments.
  2. Gays have more straight friends than in the past, and so often spend social nights out with them.
  3. Gay clubs are stuck in an EDM and drug-based loop, which is very unappealing to gay professionals.
  4. Gentrification: rising rents are pricing the clubs out.

#1 is the most supported by evidence.  While points 2 and 3 are based on published anecdotal accounts, and also by nature cannot be easily quantified, #4 gentrification has been well-documented.

Most gay bars have survived for years in second-tier parts of the urban landscape, and so join many other businesses that are getting caught in the cycle of economic progress.

The placement of gay bars is determined by the residency  of gays.  Up until the 1980s, gays were liable to face loan discrimination, and so often chose places “less-desirable” to live that were cheap enough to be paid for in cash.

According to an article by the UK’s Guardian,
(Gays) choice of where to live is not limited by money alone. As Michaels, a transplant to New York from rural Oregon who still subsists on a below-average income, puts it: “I didn’t leave the country[side] because I wanted to, I was pushed out. As a queer person in America growing up in the country, I did not find rural areas to be safe, welcoming or financially viable – it was only in the cities where I was able to make a stable income.

Some say LGBT residents, especially gay men, cause most gentrification, bringing with their residencies artisanal food and coffee, expensive furniture and boutiques, and remodeled apartments.

In addition to their vulnerable geography in the face of gentrification, gay bars are also less likely to be able to adjust to the rising rents.  By only seeing business at night, they cannot diversify like traditional bars can with food and happy hours, to draw some daytime revenue.

Yet, if cost is such a concern for a struggling gay bar, and existence so crucial, then why not relocate to another part of town, even knowing the cycle may repeat in a couple decades?

This brings us back to point #1: while gay bars are an endangered species, that fact indicates a promising phenomenon: the declining need for such exclusivity and protection.  More bars are now “gay-friendly,” and can serve as meet-up spots for any gender combination of couple.  Just as sexual orientation no longer defines a person, so patrons no longer define an establishment.

Anniversary of Miami Riots

The Herald looks back on the race riot that started on May 17, 1980, because of the acquittal of white cops who beat a black motorcyclist to death.

Ironically, almost all riots committed by the poor and minority residents within their own communities exacerbate poverty and unemployment, as destroyed businesses must move–taking jobs with them.

“The day Miami was rocked by riot after cops cleared in McDuffie beating”

McDuffie Riots, 1980

UPDATE: On Cities As Victims

In November, we brought you news of the Supreme Court’s decision to consider whether a municipality could be  treated as an individual victim of the banking crisis.

This week, the court sided with the city, 5-3.

In other words, Miami, FL is free to pursue the banks for damages to its tax base.  The precedent will likely reverberate for years to come.

The city was finally vindicated in its 2013 move to sue Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup.  Miami claims the banks violated the 1968 Fair Housing Act (which prohibits racial discrimination in real estate transactions) by intentionally issuing high-risk loans to African Americans and Hispanics.  Later, there was a surge of foreclosures and lost property value.

It is unclear whether other cities around the country will now follow suit.

What did remain in doubt was the claim that the banks could know the future damage; the court did not believe the city sufficiently proved this.

From a conservative standpoint, the broadening of the scope of victimhood is troubling.  It feeds the litigious society that is eroding American values of personal responsibility.  Any individuals who are allegedly discriminated against ought to be the sole agents and benefactors of justice–not governments.