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Barone's Variety Room

Barones matchesBarone's Variety Room

Location: 1116 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Opened/Closed: 1963

Since it appears that the old days are coming back, it's important to remind folks, especially our younger readers, just how the powerful responded to lesbian space.

This excerpt is from the Philadelphia Inquirer, May 12, 1974. The quoted material is from Byrna Aronson, who was then an administrative assistant with the American Civil Liberties Union.

"We were in Barone's Variety Room (a lesbian bar) in March, 1968, and plainclothes police came in. I didn't see them. I leaned down to kiss my girlfriend on the cheek, and Captain Clarence Ferguson, in a pork-pie hat, tapped me on the shoulder and said 'You're under arrest.' And I said, 'What for?' He said, 'Sodomy.' I just started to laugh.

Twelve women were carted off in a paddywagon that night, Ms. Aronson among them. They were booked on a variety of charges. It was alleged (in graphic language) that several women had been making love on the floor, that others were drunk and disorderly, and that some had resisted arrest.

The next morning at their arraignment, a magistrate dismissed the charges. "But we were left with an arrest record. In Philadelphia, if you're booked, your records go to the FBI. And so anytime you apply for a job that requires any kind of security clearance, you're out of luck. One of the women arrested had such a job, and she lost it.

Barone's was closely associated with another lesbian bar named Rusty's. See our previous post on Rusty's here.

Bresnahan's Ladies Cafe

Evening Star, September 19, 1900
Bresnahan's Ladies Café

Location: 426 Ninth Street, Washington, DC, USA

Opened/Closed: c. 1900

Especially after the Women's March on Washington, the pressure on women to be "inclusive" (include males) is big again--as if women had a long history of excluding males.

What a big joke.

In reality, that has rarely happened. Women have had the authority to exclude male from various gatherings for only very short periods of time in history and under very limited circumstances--all while men were quite comfortable making the dominant cultural institutions all male, or at minimum, with tiny, hard fought for token female representation, for centuries.

Sometimes, we get the cognitive dissonance thing--which is very popular today. We call an event or space something "for women, "but then let the men run amuck anyway.

While it's very popular today, it's not unique to today, as the ad for the Bresnahan's Ladies Café shows. Even while the power in Washington government was 100% controlled by men in 1900, men could still barge in and take over this little "high-class" ladies café.

So why bother with the name? Because it was a crumb, and you have to start somewhere. Even as women were barred from going into many Washington restaurants, cafe's, and bars, especially with no male escort, they could still go to Bresnahan's. Without a male escort. But they still had to put up with loud men taking up seats and tables anyway. (And yes, we're talking exclusively about wealthy white women who even had this limited "privilege.")

Sound like any "women's" places you know of? That is how persistent  and consistent the patriarchal domination of space has been over history. 

National Dairy Kitchen Ladies Restaurant

National Dairy Kitchen Ladies Restaurant
Charlotte [NC] News, Jan. 3, 1900

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Opened/Closed: c. 1900

The political news is so depressing these days that I'm digging into history as a kind of reprieve.

This 1900 article on the opening of a ladies restaurant is a good illustration of the basic observations we've made about the history of women's spaces.

1) Because men tend to have the monopoly on societal resources (money, authority, expertise, etc.), it is not uncommon for men to open/own/control women's spaces. Notice that two men (Messrs. Rutledge & LeGallais) opened this restaurant.

2) When men open women's spaces, they often do as an after thought, as a way to make money off of women after the market for men is saturated. This is the case here. By there own admission, there were "several well kept restaurants in the city for men" which did not admit women. So these guys saw an untapped market for women diners who want an "a-la-carte lunch." (And yes, I fully recognize that they did not mean all women, just wealthy white women of leisure.)

3) When men open women's spaces, they do not really limit them to women--even though the men's spaces rigorously excluded women. Notice that this "ladies restaurant  is for "ladies or ladies with escorts." By escorts, they mean men. But as we know from other ladies restaurants we have examined, the "escort" rule was often broken, meaning it was not uncommon for more men than women to show up in a "ladies restaurant."

This is a persistent historical problem around women's spaces, and one that even feminists (especially of the "liberal" variety) are often unaware of (or consciously ignore).  In efforts to be all "inclusive," women will make all kinds of amends to include males, while they somehow miss (or don't care) that men are not doing the same. Notice the debate around bathrooms these days--it's all about women's bathrooms becoming "inclusive" to "all genders." Meanwhile, men's bathrooms carry on just as they always have.

Does that mean that I think ladies restaurants were somehow "bad" then? Nope. Even with all their limitations of social/economic class and race, even though it was men dictating the terms, it still opened up a space for women to dine together and talk. And that's the start of all kinds of good things.

Some Ladies Cafes in New York (1895)

This illustration was accompanied by a syndicated article on Ladies Cafes in New York that appeared in several American newspapers in December 1895. I may transcribe the article later. Since there are few graphic depictions of the ladies café, an early pioneering example of a public socializing space for women (albeit for wealthy, white women only), I thought it would be fun to share. As we have noted before, many bars and restaurants of the time did not allow women to enter, or in some cases, only allowed them to enter if escorted by a man.

Henry S. Jacob's Cafe

Henry S. Jacob's Café

Location: 25 Graeme Street (a/k/a West Diamond Street), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Open/Closed: c. 1914

As part of a fairly extensive research project, I have been looking into the history of the saloons and cafe's that used to exist around Pittsburgh's former Diamond Square (now Market Square). One of the best sources of information are the proceedings from License Court, which allowed citizens and other groups to contest the renewal of liquor licenses for various establishments. Imagine my surprise when I found the following complaints lodged against Henry S. Jacob's place. This report is from the Pittsburgh Daily Post, March 20, 1914:

Wow. Where to even start. During the same era, New York had itsCafé des Beaux Arts, a ladies drinking establishment opened in 1911. But the press emphasized that this was a genteel place. (Regular readers here will remember that saloons and bars of this era were nearly entirely identified as male-only spaces.)
Mr. Jacob's place apparently wasn't. It was somehow predominantly or primarily women, without appearing to be a genteel place for ladies. In fact, we're told that many of the women are of "bad repute" or "strange." But if they were "prostitutes" looking for customers, why go to a bar that's "primarily" women? After all, logically, you are not going to find many men there. And though detectives claimed that these "strange women" had "asked them to go out," you got to wonder what most of these women were up to....

Oxwood Inn

Oxwood Inn
Oxford Inn

Location: Oxnard Avenue, Van Nuys, California

Opened: 1972

Closed: 2017

Notice that this became a "queer catch-all bar" in its later years, so wasn't technically a lesbian bar at all any more. But even with that, it was the last lesbian bar in Los Angeles, even for all its "inclusivity." Which just goes to show that "inclusivity" as a drinking hole survival strategy doesn't work. 
And notice that no one identified as  lesbian is interviewed in this article. 

From Los Angeles Magazine

After 45 Years, L.A.’s Last Lesbian Bar Is Gone for Good

The Oxwood Inn shut its doors last weekend

The Oxwood Inn is missing its “O.” It’s hard to say how long it’s been gone, but no one bothered to replace it. The bar itself, a windowless dive sitting across from a Subway on a quiet stretch of Oxnard Avenue in Van Nuys, hasn’t had a facelift since it was purchased in 1972. Bought by Texas-born Betty “Tuck” Sutherland, it was the longest-running lesbian bar in the United States, as well as one of the only places transgender women could feel safe and welcome—until last weekend, when it closed its doors for good.

Dubbed “Menopause Manor” for its demographic—middle-aged women, many of who lived in the Valley—the Oxwood was Cheers for the lesbian working class. Two electronic darts games greeted visitors upon arrival, and a sparsely populated case offering “Bro Dart Accessories” was on the wall, looking like it hadn’t been opened since the 1980s. The place was a time warp—rarely was anyone preoccupied by their phones (at least not for noticeable lengths of time), and the old school décor included a framed portrait of Marlene Dietrich and a large art deco mirror hung on faux bois white walls. In short, it was a far cry from the purposefully decorated, dimly lit dive bars you’ll find in Los Feliz.

As products of a century where being homosexual has been both illegal and celebrated, the Oxwood’s early, original clientele saw the bar as a gathering place more than an opportunity to get drunk or meet a new potential partner. (Those were just an added bonus.) When Sutherland died in 2012, friends and family celebrated her legacy; since then, the bar had remained opened daily from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., hosting karaoke on Thursdays, DJs on Fridays, and the trans-focused Club Shine on Saturdays. Sutherland’s former partner and longtime manager, Lynn Stadler, took over the lease after Sutherland’s death and kept its doors open despite the business costing her more than it was making her. As of last week, that cost was too high: In January of next year, the bar will be torn down and an apartment complex will going up in its place. But Stadler isn’t sad to see it go. “When something’s costing you that much money, you’re not nostalgic,” she says. “I’m glad. I’m putting over $400 a week of my own money into it, and all I have coming in is my social security.”
Stadler’s stance seems to be unique, as Oxwood regulars are already feeling the loss. “It was a different breed,” former Oxwood bartender Marianne Basford says. “It was more like a sanctuary. It wasn’t some kind of hip bar scene. It was more like a secret clubhouse for women.”

What once began as a lesbian bar turned into a queer catch-all—the opposite of the swanky, trendy clubs of WeHo with bathroom attendants and celebrity guests. And now that Club Shine is no more, transgender patrons are feeling particularly affected (though rumor has it the club night will be relocating in the future). The event was “a little bit hit-or-miss” at first, according to Laura Espinoza-Lunden, a trans promoter and musician, but it eventually grew into a full-blown movement. By the end of the first year, “it took off,” she says. “It became a home for the community.” In the end, Club Shine is what kept the Oxwood afloat for the last decade. “We would have been bankrupt long before,” Stadler says.

Zackary Drucker, a trans woman and consulting producer on Transparent, feels the Oxwood was unique in that it “created a space for queer trans women without the pressures of men entering the space as potential partners,” as she puts it. “It was the friendliest, most inclusive environment for trans women. I’m getting emotional thinking about it. The fact that there were queer cisgender woman in that space with cisgender women, queer butch women—there was such a range of people who felt comfortable there that it was truly the most inclusive trans nightlife space.”
“They’ve been wonderful to the LGBT community,” Espinoza-Lunden adds. “One of the most welcoming bars ever in L.A.”
In the Oxwood’s final week, groups gathered together on different nights to pay homage to Sutherland and the environment she helped create. “The Oxwood, which was the butt of so many jokes around the Valley, outlasted all the other bars,” Basford says. “[It’s the] end of an era.”

Kimball Ladies Cafe

Kimball Ladies Cafe

Location: Perry Street, Davenport, Iowa, USA

Opened/Closed: c. July 1910

Not going to go into a big analysis here. Just a pleasant ad for a ladies cafe from the Quad City Times (Davenport, IA) from July 26, 1910. 

Kimball Ladies Cafe (1910)

Serene Bar


Image result for Serene lesbian bar berlin

Serene Bar

Location: Schwiebusser Str. 2, 10965 Berlin, Germany

Opened: ?

Closed: 2015

According to DJ Ena Lind, in a 2017 article called "Berlin's Lesbian Party Scene is Changing":

The last lesbian bar in Berlin, Serene Bar, closed two years ago.

That's all she says about it. The rest of the article is all about "inclusive" queer women party crap that only gets dumped on women, and never on men. (If women like Lind had any historical knowledge, they would know that this is not "radical," edgy or new, but the way most so-called womyn's space has operated in a patriarchal context. Even in the nineteenth century, women's cafe's and the like were always pressured to include male escorts and the like, in a way that men's spaces were not.)

Anyway, here is the description of Serene Bar from ellgeeBe

A lesbian institution near Tempelhoferfeld, Serene has a laid back atmosphere (you can dress down or dress up) and draws a middle-aged crowd. It's also one of the last outposts of 80s, New-Wave-Berlin style Stammdisco ("regulars' disco"), where the chart-hits come all evening and everybody knows your name.

And from The Rough Guide to Berlin

Great lesbian hangout, particularly on Sat when the big dance floor gets packed. The bar is used by many special interest groups as a meeting point: table tennis, amateur photography and so on. The entrance is a little tucked away down an alley. Tues 6pm until late, Wed & Thurs 8pm until late, Sat 10pm until late. 

A little depressing that the city where lesbian bars were once so strong almost 100 years ago now (!) [i.e. the Weimar era] are extinct--just as they are nearly everywhere else.

G Spot

Image result for g spot wilton manors
G Spot
G Spot

Location: 2031 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, Florida, USA

Open: 2017

Closed: 2018

Sadly, this place didn't last more than a year. 

From South Florida Gay News

Lesbian Bar Closes Down in Wilton Manors

Michael d'Oliveira 02/21/2018 11:33 am

A little over a year after opening, G Spot Bar is the latest Wilton Drive business to close its doors. Lisette Gomez, co-owner of G Spot, Wilton Manors’ only lesbian bar, announced the closing on social media on Feb. 16. G Spot closed Feb. 18.

“I would like to thank everyone who supported us from day one and never stopped supporting us. I appreciate you! Unfortunately, it was not enough. This was not my choice and it doesn’t come easy. I worked hard to build a place for the ladies to call their own, investing my retirement because I believed there would be support. My partners trusted me when I said the ladies would support us and that was not always the case,” Gomez wrote.

She went on to write that G Spot lost revenue because it was forced to close multiple weeks because of Hurricane Irma and another incident of fried air conditioning units.

“If I could save the bar I would, I just do not have the resources to buy out my partners . . . Also, if anyone knows me well, they know that I have something else in the works. I still believe that this community needs a space inclusive of everyone. Not just the boys or the girls but a place where there it doesn’t matter how you identify. That’s what I’ve been trying to create here and my Friday and Saturday nights were becoming more diverse. So STAY TUNED, this is not goodbye, this is see you real soon.”

Although G Spot is a lesbian bar, when she opened, Gomez told SFGN at the time, that it was a place where everyone is welcome. “We want to label ourselves as a bar for girls who like girls but there are a lot of gay boys who like to hang out with the lesbians. We’re not discriminatory. There will be Sunday football, drag king shows, as well as [a place for] our straight allies. We want it to be open to everybody.”

Although it’s a place where everyone is welcome, female patrons still expressed their disappointment in losing Wilton Manors’ only lesbian bar.

“This is a huge tragedy for my friends and our community and I'm really sad to see G Bar go but I fully support Lisette Gomez and I know that we will come back stronger and just work that much more harder to make a safe place for women and lesbians to be represented and enjoy ourselves in our neighborhood!” wrote Minnie Perez.

“G Bar was the first place where I felt included after coming out. Thank you for putting yourself on the line to create this wonderful space. I am grateful to know you, and I look forward to working with you to continue to create community and make waves,” wrote Darlene Hollander.

“Thank you for creating this and so sorry it has to end! My gf and I would drive down from West Palm sometimes on Saturday nights and it was so disappointing to see it empty week after week. Kudos to you for investing in spaces for us. It will be exciting to see what's next!” Stephanie B. wrote.

Que Sera

Que Sera

Ellen Ward, (left) the first openly gay woman
to be elected to the Signal Hill City Council,
stands behind the bar at The Que Sera
with the establishment's current owner Ilse Benz.
Ward used to own the lesbian bar
and live-entertainment venue,
known as the place where Melissa Etheridge got her start.
However, she turned it over to Benz,
her former manager, in the mid-1990s.

Photo by Sean Belk/Signal Tribune (2013)
Location: 1923 E. 7th Street, Long Beach, California, USA

Opened: 1975

Closed: Sold in 1996 or 1999 (both dates are reported). When it ceased to be a lesbian bar is not clear, though it was still open as of 2015.

According to the Historical Society of Long Beach, Que Sera was founded by Ellen Ward, a lesbian who moved to Long Beach for college, and eventually ended up working in local government and the city recreational departments:

In 1975, Ward bought a bar called the Monarch Room, which she renamed Que Sera. Que Sera is still standing, though Ward sold the bar in 1999 to her longtime bartender and friend Benz. It is a dark bar with no windows located on Seventh Street and Cherry (just three blocks north of the present location of the LGBTQ Center of Long Beach). The lack of windows is a signal for those that were historic gay bars. Windows meant people could see what was going on from the outside, and patrons of gay bars were often afraid of their anonymity being broached. While many people placed the Gay Ghetto neighborhood on a map that marked Fourth Street as the north border of the neighborhood, a few pushed that boundary to Seventh Street simply because of Que Sera. The bar was Ward’s fall-back plan in case her employment opportunities in the field of recreation dried up. She wanted to make Que Sera a nice bar for lesbians, something she felt was lacking in Long Beach in the 1970s. Though it’s a darkened dive bar now, in its heyday it was, according to Ward, the nicest lesbian bar around. It had couches and a fireplace and attracted a lot of professional women. Melissa Etheridge credits the bar with helping to launch her career, something Ward remembers fondly. Etheridge lived in Long Beach from 1982 to “about 1985” and played Que Sera every Wednesday and Friday for several years. Etheridge explained, “I played at Que Sera year after year, and finally Chris Blackwell (founder of Island Records) came to see me play, and the rest is history.” Etheridge has written several songs about her time spent living and playing in Long Beach, including “Cherry Avenue” and “Breakdown.” In “Cherry Avenue,” she sings,
And so you meet me

Down at the bar

7th and Cherry

That’s where we are
And I promise not to take you down too far
Beetle takes a dollar
Benz will make a drink
Two will see you holler
No one wants to think
And it’s que sera sera in black and pink.

There is also this from a 2013 article in the Signal Tribune:

To the LGBT community, however, Ward was more known as the former owner of the Que Sera, a longtime lesbian bar she opened in 1975 that today is celebrated for helping launch the career of Grammy- and Oscar-winning musician and singer Melissa Etheridge in the 1980s. One of the first items collected for display was one of Etheridge’s gold records that the singer gave to the Que Sera.
Ilse Benz, who took over the black- and pink-colored bar located at 1923 E. 7th St., after first working as the manager, said it was at the venue where Chris Blackwell of Island Records discovered the now famous musician.

Although Etheridge first started by playing cover songs, she later snuck in her originals that became popular among both straight and gay crowds, Benz said, adding that Etheridge’s song “Cherry Avenue” was written about the Que Sera and her time living in Long Beach.

“Music brings people together to where you don’t care about whether you stand next to a lesbian and that a woman maybe has her arm around another woman,” Benz said. “They listen to the music, and it makes them happy, and we all have that in common so that sexual orientation thing went by the wayside.”

Que Sera also got a mention in the Los Angeles Times back in 1996:

Que Sera (as the sign out front abbreviates it) can lay claim to the title of "grandmama" of the Long Beach alternative music scene, having outlasted Bogart's, Fender's Ballroom and a myriad of smaller venues. Ever since a then-unknown Melissa Etheridge trod the small stage more than a decade ago (Que Sera is one of the longest-running predominately lesbian bars in the Southland), the club has booked live music two to three nights a week.

But as Club Planet documents, while the music lasted, the lesbians did not:

Que Sera - Melissa Etheridge got her start at Que Sera, playing acoustic sets to enthusiastic fans back in the '80s. Times have changed for this joint as this bar no longer specifically caters to the lesbian crowd--all people are welcome. DJ's spin techno, house, and even '80s tracks on the wheels of steel, and rock bands sometimes take the stage. The legend of Melissa still lives on here

Ellen Ward passed away in August 2015 at the age of 78. From her obituary:

Part of her impact in the gay community is the fact that Ward opened Que Sera bar in 1975, a business she owned and operated for 23 years. The establishment is also known as the place where musician Melissa Etheridge got her start.

However, Ward’s scope of influence surpassed simply being the owner of a gay bar before homosexuality was as acceptable as it is today, according to Ilse Benz, who now owns the bar and met Ward there in the late 1970s when Benz was a patron. Benz, who is from Stuttgart, Germany, said they bonded because Europeans like herself are very politically minded, and so was Ward.

As Benz described her relationship with Ward to the Signal Tribune, her voice cracked when she referred to Ward as the woman who helped her make a new home in the United States.

“I’m heartbroken to lose my mentor, my rock,” Benz said. “She had also created a home away from home for me, and I’m just so saddened by her leaving.”

Benz said Ward would keep Que Sera open on holidays to offer it as a safe haven for gay people who were not welcome to join their families.

“We could never be closed on holidays at the Que Sera,” Benz said. “People got put out by their families and would not be invited on Thanksgiving. So she wanted to make sure everybody knew there was a place they could come to and get a turkey dinner or, you know, a hot dog for Fourth of July— to prevent suicides. During the holidays, I had to work for 30-some-odd years, every holiday— never had a holiday off— because I truly believe that she is right. That it would maybe make a difference, even if it’s just one person. A door is open that they can walk in.”

Benz ended up serving as manager for 20 years before purchasing the bar from Ward in 1996.

Notice there is no explanation in any of these selections as to why Que Sera "no longer specifically caters to the lesbian crowd" or the process by which this happened. 

The Martinique

The Martinique

Location: Salem Avenue, Dayton, Ohio, USA

Opened: Early 1970s

Closed: Early 1990s

From Daytonology:

This being Dayton building demolition rears its ugly head in any story, and it does here, as The Martinque, Dayton’s third oldest gay bar was torn down, perhaps twice!

The Martinique started out as a cocktail lounge on Salem Avenue, between the bridge and Grand Avenue, opening in 1967. Presumably it served the singles who were living in the new apartments buildings in Grafton Hill.

And perhaps those buildings attracted a gay population, too. There was an ownership change in 1970 or 71, and after that the place turned gay. Eventually it became Dayton’s lesbian bar (the first?) until being closed and torn down in the early 1990s. It was in a converted old house when I moved here, but I am not sure if that was the original location.


The former Redz --2218 East First Street

Location: 2218 East First Street, Los Angeles, California, USA

Open: Late 1950s

Closed: 2015

From the Los Angeles Conservancy

Located in Boyle Heights, Redz is estimated to have first opened in the late 1950s and operated until 2015. For over fifty years, this popular lesbian bar catered to a predominantly Mexican and Mexican American clientele.

Over the course of its history, the bar's name evolved from Redheads to Reds to, most recently, Redz. It opened at a time when working-class lesbian bars were on the rise around Los Angeles, particularly in Westlake and North Hollywood. It represented an important intersection of race, class, gender, and sexual identity.

Though the bar closed its doors in 2015 and its appearance has been altered, it continues to represent an important story within Los Angeles' lesbian community.

Here's a great photo of the Redz from the LA Eastside blog. The blogger is clearly not a lesbian, as lesbian existence is clearly invisible to this individual: 

"I think someone said this was a gay paisa bar but I don’t know the picture of the hot girl is throwing me off." 

'Cause all "gays" are men, ya know. 

Photo of Redz Bar - Los Angeles, CA, United States. During your taco crawl stop for a beer with Chucky and the Grim Reaper.

And, of course, lesbian bars almost always have THAT yelpreview. The one where some straight person decides to be intrusive, then gets bent out of shape about something or other. In this case, it was a straight girl using her boyfriend as "a shield" against, well, whatever it was that she needed shielding against. From Maggie in 2013:

[W]e come across Redz Bar which is a couple blocks down from Mariachi Plaza and I know it's open because there's some loud paisa music blasting from the shut door. I see a ferocious, heavy woman in a bright blue dress walk out with her music box and I realize I missed the cabaret show on Sundays that start at 8:30.

The bar is mysteriously yet cautiously dark, with Spanish music ranging from Reggaeton to Enrique Iglesias playing from a record player. I look up, and the ceiling is covered in records with glimmers of light shining from the tacky disco ball. I expect the usual looks from middle aged Mexican men staring down a gringa who so happens to love her Micheladas. I use my guy best friend as a shield to repel any sort of contact because I'm here for a drink, but a conversation with the best friend is out the door because the music is ear numbingly loud.

It turns out that Maggie is so unbelievably dense that she manages to convince herself that this is an "underground brothel." She just can't believe that the bartender was refusing to serve this man who was sitting next to (harassing) this "promiscuous, young woman wearing a very skimpy dress." This just doesn't make sense!

Bon Ton Cafe Ladies Cafe

Bon Ton Cafe Ladies Cafe

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, USA

Opened/Closed: c. 1917

Here's an ad for a ladies cafe in Jackson, Mississippi from October 1917. Needless to say, all the usual caveats about race and social/economic class apply. Still, what a menu!

Bon Ton Cafe 21 Oct 1917 - 50c -SPECIAL SUNDAY DINNER-50c ", . - AT BON...
Jackson Daily News (Jackson, Mississippi) - Oct. 21, 1917

Page Three

Buddy Kent and friends at Page Three
(Lesbian Herstory Archives)
Page Three

Location: Greenwich Village, New York

Opened: 1940s?

Closed: 1965

Martin Duberman identifies Page Three as "one of the few lesbian bars in the village" back in the 1940s and 50s. The others he mentions are The Seven Steps,Bagatelle, Swing Rendezvous,Pony Stable, and Laurel's "(famous for its free Chinese food on Sunday afternoons)." This was also an era in which Greenwich Village lesbian bars were still considered "white women's bars" where Black women were "ignored or treated like an oddity."

Buddy Kent (aka Bubbles Kent), a lesbian club entertainer from that era, shared memories of Page Three (and other gay and lesbian bars of her youth) withLisa Davis back in 2006:

She turned to another photo. “Here’s Kicky with me and Jacquie Howe and a couple of kids. Everybody in the Village back then knew Jacquie Howe.”

She paused. “We owned this place in the photo called the Page Three. You can see it had a nice little intimate room where we had some good acts. Tiny Tim got his start at the Page Three.”

“Jacquie looks like FDR with that cigarette-holder,” I said.

“Oh, she was a real character.” Buddy smiled a loving smile. “If somebody had told me that Jacquie went to bed with Queen Elizabeth, I wouldn’t have been surprised! She’d been to bed with everybody else!”

“So you always felt safe in the Village?” I asked.

“It was home,” Buddy replied, “and we had the best protection in the world from the Mafia. They ran everything.”

Buddy is also reported as saying the following about Page Three in thisarticle:

Then Kicky and Jackie decided to get this little place that was doing nothing, The Page Three. We struck a deal with the owners and bought into the place. So finally we were working for ourselves and getting a little bit of the gravy. A lot of very big people used to come down there, like Jimmy Donahue. And the crowd followed us, the hookers and the madams and the kinky guys with money. Our show was a success from the first week.

RegardingTiny Tim, we're told the following: 

In 1962, calling himself Larry Love, he [Tiny Tim] landed his first paying jobs, on the Greenwich Village lesbian bar circuit, and shortly the big vampire scarecrow - a singularly striking figure even amid the emerging period weirdness - began to develop a cult following. At this point, a manager took hold of Larry Love and sought to rename him Sir Timothy Thames. Herbie didn't like that much. Eventually, the two settled on Tiny Tim. IN 1965, following the shutdown of his chief Village venue, a bar called Page Three, Tiny Tim wandered up to midtown and got himself installed as a house regular at a happening disco called The Scene, which is where Mo Ostin of Reprise Records heard him in late 1967 and, there at the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, signed him to a recording contract on the spot.

Stage Three is also mentioned in Ruby, a novel by Cynthia Bond. 

Mr. M. M'Ginley's Ladies Restaurant

Mr. M. M'Ginley's Ladies' Restaurant

Location: Fifth Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Opened/Closed: c. 1858

I wasn't even trying to do research on ladies restaurants when I happened to stumble across this little item. It's from the Pittsburgh Daily Post, Oct. 29, 1858:

Ladies Restaurant.--Mr. M. M'Ginley's Ladies' Restaurant, on Fifth Street, opposite the Exchange Bank, is a great public convenience. He has fitted up his rooms in elegant style, and the ladies can enjoy a dish of "stewed, fried or roasted" in the most complete privacy. When at a distance from their residences at meal time, the ladies will find this establishment fully prepared to furnish them with good things.

Stouffer's Ladies Restaurant

Stouffer's Ladies Restaurant

Location: 4 North Court Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA

Opened/Closed: c. 1916

Here's an ad for a ladies restaurant that appeared in the Harrisburg Daily Independent, June 16, 1916:

Stouffer's at least appeared to have a strict code about admitting men, even relative to other local restaurants: "It is the only one of its kind in the city where a Gentleman must be accompanied by a Lady to be admitted. It is, therefore, practically a private Ladies' Restaurant...." 

Wonder what was on the menu? 

And, most importantly, do you take reservations???

Women's Beer Forum

A group of women in a brewery.
Women's Beer Forum
Women's Beer Forum

Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

Opened: 2011

Closed: 2018

It's true. The boys are even afraid of you sharing a brew with your gal pals. God only knows what you're talking about or you're planning. They need to be there to  monitor!

By Beth Demmon

Oct 19 2018, 2:34pm

Women-Only Craft Beer Forum Shut Down By Men’s Rights Activist
Ting Su, co-founder of Eagle Rock Brewery and host of the event, now finds herself needing to raise money for a legal defense fund.

The Women’s Beer Forum, hosted by Los Angeles-based Eagle Rock Brewery, is the latest victim in a long line of so-called “gender-based discrimination” lawsuits initiated by various men’s rights activists (MRAs), who are lashing out events and promotions designed for women.

According to its GoFundMe page, the monthly meetup—started by Eagle Rock co-founder Ting Su—was created in March 2011 after Su witnessed women get “pigeonholed by their male counterparts into drinking only specific beer styles. And when women asked me (a fellow woman behind the bar) about beer-style recommendations," Su continues, "some men would interject by sharing what they thought women should drink. After seeing this so frequently I felt compelled to create an environment that was less male-dominated than anything else in the beer world.”

The group’s overall goal was “to serve as an educational platform for more women interested in learning about beer, tasting through different beer styles, and being with a community of other women who enjoy good beer.” In short, it was a group created to serve as a counterbalance to a culture in which roughly 70 percent of craft beer drinkers are men.

It's far from the only group with this goal; the national women’s organization Pink Boots Society, with over a thousand members across North America, was also designed to “assist, inspire and encourage women beer industry professionals to advance their careers through education.”

Aggressive exclusionary tactics to keep men out were never used, Su says. In fact, men often participated and even presented at the meetups in the past. But in November 2017, a self-described MRA contacted Eagle Rock Brewery regarding the upcoming forum and was told it was for women only. That’s when the threats began.

“He then proceeded to demand thousands of dollars from us, while also threatening a discrimination complaint through the government if we refused to pay. Since he had never purchased admission through our online sales portal, we were unaware about his request to attend the Women’s Beer Forum. We apologized about the miscommunication and offered him an opportunity to learn about the same flight of beers provided at the event for the same ticket price. He declined the educational opportunity and instead filed a claim through the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH),” explains Su on the GoFundMe page.

At the advice of her attorney, Su declined to name the activist. However, public court records and other media reports identify the man as Steve Frye, who once sued Donald Trump for being sexist against men.

See the rest here

Hershee Bar

Hershee Bar
Hershee Bar
The closing of Hershee Bar

Location: 1083 W 37th Street, Norfolk, Virginia, USA 

Opened: 1983

Closed: 2018

From the Virginian-Pilot:

"We're losing our home": The last lesbian bar in Hampton Roads closes its doors
By Saleen Martin and Amy Poulter
Staff writers
Nov 1, 2018 Updated 5 hrs ago

Outside of the Hershee Bar's main entrance, two lit candles sat on a bench Wednesday night. Sandwiched between them was a sign.

"Thank you Hershee Bar for 'being there' for me when no one else was," it read.

Inside, flashing lights lit up the dance floor. A 1990s R&B mix blared through the speakers as people dressed as Run DMC, Minnie Mouse and pharaohs flashed their driver's licenses to get in.

It was their last night to grab drinks and feast on shrimp and french fries at the bar on Sewells Point Road before the building is torn down and the property is sold to the city. At 1:45 a.m., supporters said on social media, police arrived and watched the doors from the parking lot.

Bernie Gerlach was there with her two friends, Christi Hogge and Rene Hayes.

She met them at Hershee in 1998, she said.

For the past 20 years, the trio has gone there to remember lost loved ones, attend wedding receptions and unwind, they said. The bar was a safe haven for lesbians when it first opened, said Gerlach, who's from Newport News.

"We're losing our home," she said.

In February, the City Council voted unanimously to spend $1.5 million on the property in the Five Points neighborhood. Hershee was told to leave after Oct. 31.

Charles Cooper, who owns the property, asked the city to buy the lot in 2017 after his family removes the buildings, The Pilot reported. Cooper's son has said the bar was not targeted and other nearby businesses would also be affected by the sale.

Most recently, a spokesperson for Gov. Ralph Northam said they had received four calls by Wednesday afternoon about the bar, but an application to designate the location as historic had not been filed.

Bar owner Annette Stone hugged customers as she walked in Wednesday night. Over 200 people showed up, she said.

"It's overwhelming," she said. "But I expected that because that's how great these people are. That's how much this bar means to them."

Stone and a group of her supporters both posted on Facebook in the early hours Thursday that several Norfolk police officers showed up about 1:45 a.m., minutes before the bar shut down for good.

Michael Carney also came to celebrate one last time.

He has been visiting the bar since it opened in 1983, and he was one of the few men allowed into the bar back then, he said.

"There were maybe four or five of us who could get past the door person," Carney said. "Men would come in and harass the girls."

When his partner died, he went to Hershee to find solace. He went through a three-day depression when he found out the fate of the bar, he said.

"Today was also a very emotional day," said Carney. "The reality of it. I've dealt with it, but a lot of people haven't."

Lakela Fuller, who has been going to Hershee since she was 18, showed up, too. The bar's staff has seen her at her best and her worst, she said, grinning and pointing toward Burt McManus, a bartender at Hershee for 34 years.

McManus and other staff at Hershee have taken care of her and helped her accept who she is, she said.

If the bar ever opens in another location, she said, she'll be there.

"Whatever place they tell me they're going, I will go," she said. "It's like a family."

Pilot writer Amy Poulter contributed to this story.

Church of the New Ideal

Image result for Liscard concert hall
Church of the New Ideal

Location: Wallasey, Cheshire, England

Opened: March 1914

Closed: Before end of World War I (1918)

I found this news item while reading a newspaper from April 1914: 

There's more at this blog: Making a Track

In early 1914, adverts began to appear in women’s suffrage and local papers for the start of a Women’s Church in Wallasey, Cheshire.  Entitled the Church of the New Ideal, it was formally launched at its first service on 29 March 1914.  Held at the Liscard Concert hall,  this offered both mixed-gender and women-only services, but was organised and officered by women alone.  A proto-ecumenical adventure, women from seven different Christian denominations (including Anglican and Quaker) were represented in its management and it sought to include those who felt no place in any church: those women who, finding the Church

like a cage… (had) come away in sheer disgust at the attitude of the clergy towards the things which to women are dearer than life.

(Miss M.Hoy, letter to the Wallasey & Wirral Chronicle, 14 March 1914).
The Church of the New Ideal flourished initially but did not survive through to the end of the first world war, for by this time ministry opportunities for women were slowly beginning to open up.  Yet the Wallasey Women’s Church thus not only created unprecedented space for women but also attempted to offer a more feminine aspect of God, adding to the impetus building up within mainstream religious circles.

Harvard University Women's Organizations

Harvard University Women's Organizations

For background, see this article: Harvard Cracks Down on All-Male Clubs. But It’s Women’s Groups That Have Vanished, by Sarah Brown. 

Women at Harvard protested the administration's effort to discourage
membership on gender-exclusive student groups.

Here are the first few paragraphs from Brown's article: 

Just over a year ago, Harvard University's leaders made an announcement that they hoped would be the final word, for the time being, in a lengthy debate over the future of campus social life.

Starting with the freshman class in 2017, any student who joined a single-gender social group — like one of the university's exclusive final clubs, or a fraternity or sorority — would face restrictions. Members wouldn't be able to hold leadership positions on campus, serve as captains of athletic teams, or receive Harvard's endorsement for postgraduate scholarships like the Rhodes and the Marshall. The groups could avoid the sanctions only if they went coed.

Technically, the policy had been unveiled in May 2016. But after 18 months of contentious conversations, Harvard's governing board finally voted to approve the restrictions. The board's action would, in theory, institute the policy beyond the tenure of Drew Gilpin Faust, the president at the time, who stepped down this summer.

To some observers, the demise of exclusionary social groups on college campuses makes a lot of sense. As student populations diversify, administrators are growing more aware of the need to foster inclusive environments, not ones segregated by gender and class. At Harvard, the men's final clubs in particular seem like vestiges of a university from an earlier era, when the student body was whiter and wealthier than it is today.

So on the surface, it would be easy to dismiss the lawsuits filed against Harvard by Greek organizations last month as a last-gasp effort. Privileged people are digging in their heels in the face of threats to their privilege, the argument goes. The suits are accompanied by a national campaign and petition, with an extensive website that purports to tell "the Truth" about single-gender social organizations. Some sorority chapters at other colleges have encouraged members and alumni to sign on.

But the sorority members who have become the loudest voice in favor of the lawsuits argue that their fight isn't about protecting privilege at all. It's about protecting women.

Harvard officials have said their crackdown on social groups was designed to do just that. In their view, all-male final clubs encourage misogynistic behaviors and create problematic environments for women. The solution? To discourage the behavior at the source.

Since the university couldn't singlehandedly eliminate private, unrecognized, off-campus organizations, administrators put in place the strongest disincentives to joining that they could come up with — and that would, they hoped, pass legal muster.

The women, on the other hand, say that the administration's approach to halting gender discrimination has endangered gender-exclusive spaces that weren't part of the problem. In fact, those women say, such groups remain necessary on a campus where issues like sexual misconduct persist.

Since the policy took effect, it's the sororities and women's final clubs that have disappeared, while most of the men-only groups continue to operate. This fall, all four of Harvard's sororities shut down. One recently reopened, but with a small fraction of its former membership. The six female-only final clubs have all started the process of going coed. (EMPHASIS ADDED)

This is a phenomenon often seen with regard to women's space. When push comes to shove, liberal feminist efforts to allow women into centers of male power will be countered by a male backlash of the same. The end result: nodules of men's spatial power remains, while any remnant of female space, no matter how apparently innocuous (like a sorority) will be destroyed. 

Here are additional points brought out in the article that are worthy of note: 

* "The current social scene at the College revolves around deeply entrenched systems of power," reads the February 2017 report of a committee convened to figure out how to carry out the policy. "Men's final clubs in particular can leverage the historical dominance of gender, class, and race to preserve that power."

No kidding. And notice that efforts to help support the women within this unequal playing field were cancelled:

One committee suggested that Harvard have a five-year "bridge" period for women's groups, during which they could continue to "operate with gender-focused missions" and make the transition to an arrangement in which they were recognized by the university and yet "entirely unconnected from the typical Greek system." But last March, administrators canceled the "bridge" program.

Of course. Not surprised. 
Then we have the "you girls have to suck it up because that's the only way to achieve our feminist goals" argument. Never mind that the boys aren't sacrificing much of anything, while the women are asked to give up everything. 

* A November 2017 statement signed by 23 female students said Harvard's premise "has been that women must not be allowed to join groups without men — for their own good — because it is the only way to 'get at' men's final clubs." Women's protests of the policy, they wrote, "have been met with the response that women groups are unfortunate collateral damage for a more noble cause — this cause of protecting them. This is egregious."

And then the result. We kill off women's groups, a few men's institutions go coed, and the rest of the men's organizations thrive. Because they are men, and they don't have to obey any rules made by freaking liberals or feminists. Right?

* In the spring, interest in sorority recruitment dropped by 60 percent, according to the Crimson. By August, the newspaper reported, there were no longer any women-only social organizations. One, Alpha Phi, has since reopened; the sorority is part of one of the lawsuits against Harvard. The chapter's membership peaked at 160 women in 2017, according to the suit. Now there are eleven women who "have rejoined or expressed interest in rejoining." Four men-only groups have gone coed over the last couple of years. But nine others, mostly final clubs, continue to operate.

At least some sort of get it, though they kind of tip toe around the central issues. 

Why was the impact on women's groups so much greater? Women's groups weren't as well established in Cambridge, said Emma Quinn-Judge, a Boston lawyer who is lead counsel for one of the lawsuits against Harvard. Men's final clubs have been around for centuries and have large alumni networks and resources that can help them survive in challenging circumstances.

But still the central problem remains. Integrating a few women within male power centers without a strategy for dealing with, diffusing, or eliminating male power generally results in a backlash/mess. The result: the boys still have their exclusive power clubs where they can be groomed for entry into the elite halls of governmental/corporate power. Whereas women can't even have a little A Capella singing group. 

Bum Bum Bar

Photo of Bum Bum BarBum Bum Bar

Location: 63-14 Roosevelt Ave., Queens, New York, USA

Opened: Early 1990s

Closed: Late 2018

From the Jackson Heights Post:

Bum Bum Bar, Roosevelt Avenue Lesbian Bar, Closes After More Than 2 Decades
March 1, 2019 By Meghan Sackman

Bum Bum Bar, the gay-owned and operated bar located in Woodside for more than two decades, has closed its doors.

The bar, which opened at 63-14 Roosevelt Ave. in the early 1990s, saw three generations of LGBT owners, and appears to have closed late last year.

Its closure was announced in a release today by NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, a group that works to highlight and preserve sites connected to the city’s LGBT community.

The non-profit says Bum Bum Bar (pronounced “boom boom”), was among the four remaining lesbian bars in New York City, and attracted a “mixed, but mostly working-class, Latina lesbian crowd.”

“It’s a really sad commentary on the state of nightlife for LGBTQ women,” said Ken Lustbader, Co-Director of NYC LGBT Historic Sites Projects. “This was one of the only places that provided the opportunity for LGBTQ women to meet each other in a safe environment.”

The group even pointed to the bar’s history in providing support for the inaugural Queens Pride Parade in 1993.

It is unclear why the bar closed, and the owner was unable to be reached for comment by press time.

Danny Hart, the site’s most recent owner, was interviewed by Go Magazineabout the bar and its origins after she took ownership of it in 2016.

“The word ‘Bum Bum’ is actually Brazilian,” she said. “It means ‘the booty of the women.’ In Brazil they have a contest called the Bum Bum Contest, and it takes into account the whole physique of the woman.”

The magazine said the two gay men that opened the bar named it after the contest as an “homage to their beautiful women customers.”

The nightlife establishment, which had a 175-person capacity and a large dance floor, held a huge annual Pride event and also participated in the annual Jackson Heights Pride Parade.

The bar’s unexpected closure was met with surprise and concern.

“I was shocked to hear they were closed,” said Gwen Shockey, a Brooklyn artist who studies queer nightlife and incorporates it into her “Addresses” project–a digital map of lesbian/queer historical sites that have existed in the city. Her work is unaffiliated with the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project.

Shockey speculated that the reason for Bum Bum bar’s closing, besides the changing neighborhood and rising rents, could be the difficulties queer women face as business owners, as her research has demonstrated.

“People have frequently mentioned that it’s harder for women to open and maintain spaces because of pay discrepancies,” Shockey said. “Women aren’t making as much money as men on the dollar and it makes it harder to succeed or have as consistent of a nightlife following as gay men.”

The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project said its work in documenting this bar’s trajectory and that of other sites helps “document an invisible history to show the public that LGBTQ history is American history.”

Lilly's Music and Social House

Lilly's Music and Social House

Location: 2321 Arsenal Street, St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Opened: July 2015

Closed: May 2016

From out in stl:

Excerpt from interview with Kristin Goodman: 

Can you tell me about the idea behind Lilly’s Music & Social House?
When we were getting ready to open Lilly’s, Novak’s had already been closed for two years. People — women in particular — were sort of at a loss, especially women who are in their late 30s and 40s and 50s. A lot of women in that age group are not out at work, or they’re not out to their families yet, so LGBT bars and spaces are really important for that age group.
When we were thinking about opening a place, I wanted it to feature a lot of light music and make it a place where that lesbian who lives out in Ballwin or Crestwood would feel totally comfortable.
Kristen Goodman singing at Lilly’s. (Photo by Sandy Gutierrez)
When we were brainstorming with the staff about our mission, we landed on “safe space for women, welcoming space for all.” That really was the driver for all of the decisions we made, from menu items to price points on cocktails to the atmosphere.
We probably were in the wrong-sized space for what we were trying to do. We’d have an awesome band on Friday night and be slammed, and people would come in and hunker down and maybe order dinner or a cocktail and then sit there and watch the band the whole night. With only about 40 seats in the place, we weren’t getting the volume that we needed to sustain us on a slow Tuesday or Wednesday night.
It was an amazing learning experience, and I was sad when it closed, but I don’t regret it. It connected people to other friends that they didn’t know before, and now they’re all still hanging out and doing their own parties and social gatherings.

Lost Womyn's Spaces of Northampton, Massachusetts

This is a wonderfully researched posting by Kaymarion Raymond at From Wicked to Wedded


An unprecedented number of Lesbian enterprises existed in Northampton in 1976-77, both old ones and new, that evolved out of the 1975-76 Separatist struggles. What particularly made this creative flowering different was that Lesbians were, for the first and only time, able to control, rent, and/or buy multiple spaces within downtown Northampton.
This was made possible in large part by the economic decay of the downtown. Its largest business, McCallums Department Store, had closed and many others followed as the city’s population sprawled and shopping malls were built further and further down King St.
When I moved to Green St. in 1970,  everything I needed was within walking distance. Over the next decade, much of that disappeared except for a changing cast of banks, bars, and restaurants. One by one, all but two of the neighborhood markets folded as well as the A&P on Bridge St. and the supermarket on Conz St. The working population that lived downtown in rooming houses or over just about every business aged and declined, too. Two downtown schools – Hawley Junior High and St. Michaels – closed. The working people’s businesses I relied on began to close their doors: Fine’s Clothing, Woolworth’s Five and Dime, Tepper’s General Store, Foster and Farrar Hardware, Whalen’s Office Supply. For a brief time, before real estate speculation and gentrification took hold and turned Hamp into Noho (competing nicknames), space affordable to women became available.
Below is a map of current downtown that I’ve amended with the location of the major 1970s Lesbian enterprises, which peaked in 1976-77. Following it is a brief description of the activity that took place at each address. All of this will be detailed in future posts if I haven’t already.bst 70s map_edited-2
#1. 200 Main St. Lesbian GardensThird floor space that was originally rented along with half the second floor by the Valley Women’s Center/Union. 1974-77. Currently Harlow Luggage building.
#2. 66 Green St. Green St.Top two floors, rooming house that started to be lesbian in 1972 and continued to be all or mostly lesbian at least until 1991. Building bought and demolished by Smith College. Currently grass.
#3. 1 Bridge St. Gala Café.  Lesbian backroom 1975-1979. Torn down, part of Spoleto’s currently in that space.
#4. 25 Main St. Nutcracker Suite. One large room on a back corridor as I recall, I believe on the fourth floor, 1976-77. This address also was used by the Grand Jury Information Project, Ceres Inc., and later, I believe, by Chrysalis Theatre. It was in what is now known as the Fitzwilly’s (Masonic) building.
#5. 19 Hawley St. The Egg and Marigolths. 1976-77 (estimated). Originally rented in 1973 by Mother Jones Press which in 1976 became Megaera Press and joined with Old Lady Bluejeansdistributing and the Women’s Film Coop to form the Women’s Image Takeover WIT. Additional space in the building was rented to accommodate several craftswomyn and Greasy Gorgon Garage auto repair. These formed a collective of businesses with the self-chosen odd name. Sweet Coming bookstore moved there in 1977.
#6.  78 Masonic St. Common Womon Club. 1976-82. Private dining club for feminist vegetarians owned by the non-profit Ceres Inc. Later bought by Bill Streeter for his book bindery. Currently it is the Mosaic Café.
#7.  68 Masonic St. Nutcracker Suite: Women’s Self Defense and Karate Dojo. Moved from Main St. 1977-78. Womonfyre Books. 1978-82. Owned by Ceres Inc. Later bought by Bart’s Ice Cream as their bakery. Currently it is lesbian owned Bela Vegetarian Restaurant.

Gay Bars for Grownups?

This is a slightly different topic than what I usually post on. It's not on a lost place for women per se, but a place that is seemingly no longer defined as limited to men and women or adults in general but for "anyone."

I'm referring to gay bars. Specifically kids in LGBT bars.

And I don't mean teenagers who sneak in with a fake ID. Yes, we all know about them. Some of us even have fond memories of doing so.

That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about kids who are not even teenagers yet, 12 years of age and under. All under the rubric of being "drag kids" or "trans kids."

What kind of crap is this?

For the sake of argument, let's assume that there is such a thing as transgender kids, kids who are firmly convinced they are not the gender they were seemingly assigned, and that they absolutely know this now and for all time (actually, the research doesn't unambiguously confirm this at all, but let's assume this is true).

What is a "woke" parent to do? I suppose you could allow your trans daughter to dress in ways that are age-appropriate for other 10- or 12-year-old girls. And it shouldn't necessarily label you a fundamentalist nut job if you don't care for your preteen girls dressing in short shorts, tube tops, or t-shirts with suggestive sayings. How about a little pink, a cute dress for special occasions? That seems reasonable. Responsible parents intervene in how their kids are dressed everyday, believe it or not.

Well, no. That's not what it's about.

There are some parents--largely narcissistic attention seekers in my experience--who go well beyond this. They "allow" (encourage, subtly coerce?) their trans daughters into the whole drag queen scene, dressing in a way that is far from age appropriate. And that even means even parading them in gay bars and having them perform there.

Frankly, if you were to push your "cis'' daughter into such a scene, having her "perform" at a "gentleman's club," you could look forward to a CPS visit or a serious custody fight, especially if you're a single mother, who tend to be judged very harshly in our culture.

And you're double-screwed as a parent if you aren't college educated, middle-class, and/or white, and able to articulate why such behavior is really okay and kewl in the latest "gender queer" lingo.

But if you can link pimping your kid as a "performer" to a gay bar, it's all good. Right? Anybody who even raises the respectful questions about how appropriate this is will be smeared as right-wing despite their actual politics, an awful TERF, transphobic, or homophobic. No questions allowed!

I once had the temerity to question whether this was appropriate on Facebook, and within no time, there were texts to my employer demanding I be fired. So much for community discussion.

Who acts like this?

I know from long, painful personal experience who acts like this. Abusers act like this. Abusers who more than anything want to deflect attention away from what they are doing to their kids or the kids they have access to, so they attack anybody who they perceive as a threat to their actions. If I had any doubts before the attempt to get me fired (it didn't work), I was convinced afterwards.

After this incident, I was more convinced than ever that the parents behind "drag kids" are in most cases the same "show biz" parents that have always existed, the ones who are vicariously living through their children for attention, validation, "approval"--and frankly, money.

Parents like this typically have narcissistic personalities where they fail to recognize what their own children want or need, despite often loud declarations to the contrary.

And frankly, I have seen NO explanations from any of these parents of "drag kids" where they explain how they keep these kids safe, or that it's even a concern.

Oh sure, if pushed, they'll make a big show of concern. But the reason the topic is not brought up is that they really don't care.

Nor do certain LGBT "activists" who have been carefully groomed to not ask questions, give unconditional approval no matter what, and generally act as the narcissistic parents'"flying monkeys" and attack anyone who doesn't cheer along on demand.

Let's ask some questions.

1) If trans women are women, and trans girls are girls, then why is it acceptable to treat these girls in a way that would never be acceptable for so-called cis girls? Why the double standard? Why do these parents of "trans kids" get applause, while any parent doing this to a non-trans kid is subject to CPS intervention, loss of custody, or even jail? Especially if you're poor or a person of color and can't afford the fancy lawyers.

2) Why is there an absolute denial and inability among too many in the LGBT "community" to treat the sexual abuse of children as a serious issue? Why do so many act as hypocrites, pointing fingers at Catholic priests or Republican congressmen, but going into outraged denials if anybody points out that sexual abuse can happens in ANY home, neighborhood, organization, etc., and that the LGBT community is not magically exempt?

3) If you are so concerned about smears by conservatives regarding gay pedophiles or child sexual abusers, why do you resist even the most commonsense, minimal guidelines to keep kids safe?

4) Who started this line that "all" members of the LGBT community must approve of kids performing in gay bars, or they are not members in good standing? I have asked around, and I think this is a myth being shoved down our throats by a minority of disturbed individuals with an agenda (or people groomed by the same). I even did a survey once in a gay bar, and NOT ONE PERSON I spoke to believed that young kids belonged in gay bars. Period. Believe it or not, many of us are parents ourselves. We have nieces and nephews. We are teachers or work with youth. And we think there is some serious bullshit going on here.

5) If it's so safe for "drag kids" to perform, then how is it you ignore the substantial evidence that even adult performers are subject to sexual harassment, abuse, and rape? Do you have any real guidelines, suggestions, or proposals for keeping kids safe when even adults are not necessarily safe?

6) At least in the US, you can't work with children without an official child abuse clearance--even if you work in university administration and rarely come into contact with college freshmen, much less anyone younger. When these "drag kids" perform at bars, do you require bouncers, bartenders, waitstaff, etc. to obtain clearances? What about patrons? Why or why not? When abusers even manage to slip into youth organizations despite all the precautions, how is it you think you'll have different results in a setting that was designed for adult entertainment, with no institutionalized precautions whatsoever for the well being of children?

7) What kinds of supervision do you require for these performers, other than the narcissistic parents who don't show much tangible evidence of really caring about the well being of their kids? Do you want to assign them guardians? Why or why not?

8) Since you deny that the sexual abuse of children could possibly occur in the LGBT community, what happens if these kids come forward with abuse allegations? Do you label them as liars, troublemakers, so the show can go on with no interruptions?

9) Do you really know that the child wants to perform at all? Or are they being pushed? Abusive parents can be very subtle about these things. Yes, the kid may publicly say they like performing, but that is not really meaningful if the parent is subtly (or not so subtly) withholding love and approval unless the child behaves as they wish. Watch one of these parents fly into a narcissistic rage if the child says they just wants to play soccer or run around outside like any other kid. These parents aren't going to get all kinds of strokes for that, are they?

10) How is it you ignore that many of us in the LGBT community have experienced sexual abuse, either personally and/or as a protective parent/teacher/reporter trying to keep children safe? Why is it we are being silenced? Those of us who have been through "the system" know full well--contrary to what you may think--that it is very hard to protect kids and get any justice for them. Too often, CPS, the police, the family courts, actually back up the abusers, especially if they have money, and the accusers are only women or kids. Too many of us have found this out the hard way.

There are many of us who are aghast at what's happening to LGBT politics, but given the death/rape/financial threats, we have not gone public.

But we are not going away. And we will not shut up.

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Pittsburgh Dyke and Trans March, Revisited

With it being Pride Month and all, I started to wonder about the state of the Dyke March this year.  And that got me thinking about what is now called the Pittsburgh's Dyke and Trans March, a topic I posted on back in 2014.

Just how is this great expression of solidarity working out these days? You know, the parade where all of us who are "non-manly men" (you know, anybody who isn't a conventional masculine "cis" male) are supposedly diverted, so as to not muss up the "real" Pride events?

Well, there's a Facebook page. And what do you know. It's held in September now. Why I don't know. You'll have to ask them.

And even though we're told that numerically, lesbians outnumber trans people, you would know it by the postings. There are lots of postings for trans events/issues, one for bi visibility, a few general, all-purpose "queer" ones.

Where are the postings related to dykes and lesbians? Well, I scrolled all the say to December 2017, and didn't FIND ONE posting that used either word.

Huh. So much for equal visibility. But really, we knew that, right? It was always about cooping an event started for lesbians by lesbians and eliminating the same. At least as anything other than the "supportive" and basically deferential role you often see in...

Well, I hate to say it. The Men's Rights Movement. A movement I spent years studying and writing about as an advocate for victims of domestic violence.

Far fetched you say?

I went back and looked at some of the postings of their main propagandist, someone named Sue.

Sue often makes a big to do about "the media" in rural Pennsylvania "misgendering" various transgender "victims" of law enforcement, and how they don't follow best practices.

The same blogger absolutely ignores best practices for covering domestic violence though - when it involves transgender persons being violent and abusive in their interactions with women within their families.

In fact, she actively covers up any history of domestic violence or violence directed towards women when it suits her purposes.

Let's explore further.

Here is one set one of suggestions on how to cover domestic violence:


1) Have there been prior incidents? Acts of violence are often portrayed as an isolated incidents when, in reality, they are part of a pattern of conduct. Particularly if family members express surprise at the attack, it is easy to slip into a suggestion that the person just “snapped” or had an uncharacteristic lapse of control. A more accurate and complete story will result if prior conduct is also reported. Look for a history of controlling behavior. Review court records for prior criminal, divorce, child custody, parental rights and Temporary Protection Order (TPO) cases. Check law enforcement records for prior arrests and police response to allegations of domestic violence involving the same persons or address.

2) Who can speak for the victim? An abuser’s justification for violence commonly involves blaming the victim or the “system.” The victim and the “system” may not be free to dispute the abuser’s allegations because of fear, or because of physical or legal constraints. Presentation solely of the abuser’s point of view implies that the abuser’s violence was justified or motivated by the behavior of someone else.

3) Why did this happen? Warning signs of domestic violence are understood. Victims can be protected. Abuse is a learned behavior. Any implication that the crime was inexplicable is likely incorrect. Contact an expert to give you insight.

4) What’s the true portrait? It is incorrect to imply that “normal” or successful people aren’t typical perpetrators of domestic violence. In fact, domestic abusers often present two images: skillful in social and business settings but controlling and obsessive in intimate relationships. 

5) What language should describe domestic violence? It is good practice to use the term “domestic violence” in describing the crime. Give the public a vocabulary with which to identify a social issue. The United States and most of its communities have been engaged in a massive effort for more than three decades to provide resources to address the societal problem of domestic violence. Acknowledge the existence of that effort and the availability of those resources by correctly labeling the conduct you are reporting.

 6) Are authoritative points of view available? Seek a statement from, or consult with, a local domestic violence advocate or a recognized domestic violence expert.

7) How much do friends and neighbors really know? Use statements from associates of the abuser with caution. Domestic violence is often unknown to friends and neighbors until it becomes murder. Balance statements that express surprise at the abuser’s conduct with any record of past controlling behavior and information about domestic violence.

8) Were they separating? Was she pregnant? Domestic violence often is worst when the victim tries to separate or during pregnancy because the abuser’s control of the victim’s behavior is threatened.

9) Where can more contextual information be obtained? Information from this media guide may be used to add context and depth to a story about domestic violence.

10) What is the impact beyond this victim? Experts can help describe the impact of the domestic violence on children, families, employers, the community and the larger society.

11) How can victims get help? Include local contact information for domestic violence services. Many victims are unaware of the available support and, except through your reporting, may by unable to safely access this information.

12) How can abusers get help? One way to help prevent future domestic violence is by providing information to allow present and potential abusers to identify themselves, to understand that change is possible and to seek help to change their behaviors.

13) Can a story make things worse? Reporters should be aware that abusers use news reports to threaten their victims with similar fates or to reinforce the belief that, like the victim in the reporter’s story, the victim will be humiliated and not believed. Reporters can reduce the likelihood of this perversion of their reporting by following these suggestions.

So how does Sue absolutely violate these suggestions, in a way that actually suggests men's rights coverage?

Here is one story. Later, I may post about another case of Sue wrote about. It involves covering up the domestic violence history of a workforce shooter, a trans woman named Claire McClimans. Not to mention deliberate playing down of the shooting victim's injuries, and insinuating the victim deserved to be shot because he was supposedly insensitive to the shooter's wishes.


Sean Hakes was a transgender man shot and killed by the police in Sharon, PA (Mercer County) in January 2017.

Here's what she said about it:

Sean Hake reportedly lived with his mother in the residence. Details are very limited at this time, but I will follow this story. We don’t know Sean’s role in the domestic call or what led up to his death by shooting. We certainly do know that the death of a 23-year-old is terrible and tragic.

And then she goes into how awful the coverage was for HIM in terms of inconsistent pronoun use and so forth.

Well, we live in the age of Google so it's not that hard to find out Sean's mysterious role in this domestic call.

Here's what Penn Live said:

A domestic disturbance at a Sharon, Pa., home ended with a 23-year-old being fatally shot by police on Friday, the Associated Press reports.

According to the wire service, the mother of Sean Marie Hake called 911 shortly before midnight Friday to report an assault at their Sharon residence.

And according to CBS:

According to investigators, Hake threatened to put a razor blade to his mother’s throat and repeatedly refused police orders to put down a utility knife he was holding after he got out of his car. He was shot three times by a police officer when he began to move toward one of the officers, still holding the knife.

And this from WFMJ:

The district attorney says when Sharon police responded to a domestic disturbance call made by Hakes' mother on January 6th, they found Hake in a car, a utility knife in his hand and blood dripping from his wrist.
Police, who responded to the area of the 23-year-old's Tamplin Street home, said they tried to talk calmly to him, but he refused to put the knife down and exited the car and aggressively charged towards officers.
"Hake stated that you are going to have to kill me or I am going to kill you," said District Attorney Karson.
One of three officers, for at least the third time according to authorities, yelled at Hake to drop the weapon and again he refused and continued to advance towards the officers.  That's when he was shot twice.  Hake continued to advance towards police still holding the knife according to the district attorney and that's when one of the officers fired a third shot and Hake fell to the ground.

So how many rules were broken here?

Rule 1. Prior Incidents? Not only does Sue refuse to bring up prior incidents of domestic violence or research the same, she refuses to acknowledge the domestic violence incident behind this particular altercation with the police. It's as if Hakes is inexplicably shot by the police for no reason at all. 

Rule 2. Who speaks for the victim? Sue refuses to acknowledge there was a victim other than Hakes. Doesn't own up to what Hakes did to his mother or even acknowledge the mother's name. But there is lots of blame for "the system" and the police and the media for "misgendering."

Rule 3. Why did this happen? Was there mental illness? Maybe. But violent abusers very often know what they are doing and do it anyway. At any rate, Sue doesn't express much interest in all that. Not when we can worry about the pronoun preferences of a person threatening people with a knife. 

Rule 4. What's the true portrait? Sue is so committed to being an advocate for transgender persons that she covers up for a domestic abuser. So we get some idea that this is the same as some poor black kid shot by the police for simply walking the streets. That is not the case at all and it's highly misleading to suggest that it is. 

Rule 5. What language? Well, Sue refuses to call this out as domestic violence at all. So there's that. So of course, why even bother with rule 6? That would just muddy the issue which is all about the shooting of a transgender man and media misgendering. So absolutely sweep under the rug the story of this person threatening to slash his mother's throat. And God knows what else she and others in the family have gone through. Apparently Sue can't even pretend to have compassion or interest in their plight. And so on for the rest of the rules. 

This is what MRAs typically do--and media influenced by the same. It's all about the pain of the batterer. What a "good guy" he was. How he was "forced" to do what he did--though it's often vague what exactly forced him. How he--the violent one--is somehow the real victim. As for the real victims? Barely mentioned. Or erased altogether. 

So are we surprised that dykes barely have a nominal existence in the Dyke and Trans March?