Where Are We?

Q: How do I find the local lesbian bars?

Ok, this may seem like a silly question to some, but to tell you the truth, I get it all the time. It’s about time I answered it. How do we find one another? I remember the days in my early “out” phase, wearing my pride necklace wherever I went, putting my ring with the entwined women’s symbols on and grinning broadly at anyone who even registered a blip on my newly forming ‘gaydar’. My every move screamed “I’m a newbie, ferchrissakes!! Help me! Love me! Guide me!” I was desperate for queer contact… having spent the previous 20 years of my life wrestling with my budding libido on a hard wooden church pew.
So how do we find one another when it seems to the new folk like everything is so underground, so hidden and so cliquish? Here’s a list of a few places to begin the hunt.
Online Yellow Pages: This is a handy little tool to find anything queer in your hometown. Put in your city and state and type in Lesbian or Gay or Queer or whatever you can think of. To be honest, it comes up with political organizations more than it does the bars because a bar isn’t exactly going to name itself “The Lesbian Bar” – at least, not if it’s a smart bar — but if you’re absolutely desperate to find SOMETHING, ANYTHING in your area where the queer folk gather, it’s a place to start. Call your local gay and lesbian organization. They will, I guarantee you, at least have a number you can call to get more information. And remember, there’s a real human being on the other end of that phone who probably goes out on saturday nights. So it’s pretty likely that they’ll know the places to go!
Here’s a stereotype that I just can’t argue with… Lesbians LOVE BOOKS. We love to read. We love the smell of them, the crinkle of the paper, the owner’s pet cat that weaves in and out of the aisles, rubbing up against our ankles. We love bulletin boards and fluffy couches. Find a women-owned or feminist bookstore, and you’ll find scads of lesbians, and more than likely a local queer newspaper with all the events information you could ever want. If you want to see which bookstores are alternative and which aren’t, try calling first and asking if they have Girlfriends or Curve magazines. If they do, you are guaranteed a dyke-factor of at least 7 on a scale of 1 to 10.
This may seem like overstating the obvious, but it’s true. If you’re brave enough to head down to your local Gay Pride festivities, you’ll be handed at minimum 438 little pieces of badly photo-copied paper with bar addresses, after-event party locations, non-profit addresses and probably a few condoms and dental dams to boot. If you absolutely cannot find the queer folk the other 364 days of the year, you can more than compensate on Gay Pride. Check Interpride.Com for a very good listing of pride dates and locations.
If all else fails, go for a walk. Wander around your downtown scene. People-watch. Look for visibly queer couples and see if they’re congregating anywhere in particular. Look for subtle gay symbols on the doors of restaurants or coffee shops. We really are everywhere, darling… you simply have to open your eyes.
Good luck!

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