NewsNational News


Number of lesbian bars across the country shrinking

Advocates say these bars play an important role in community
Posted at 9:54 AM, Jun 10, 2022

PHOENIX — "We're a welcoming space for everyone. We don't judge, we just say come as you are. We just don't take rude people," said Audrey Croley

Nestled on this strip in the Melrose neighborhood in Phoenix, sits Boycott Bar. Audrey Croley founded it 18 years ago.

"You're coming for that acceptance, that home, that safe space to be who you are," said Croley.

Spaces for women in the LGBTQ community have been hard to come by recently.

There are just 21 lesbian bars left in the whole country. A statistic Erica Rose found shocking and inspired her to create The Lesbian Bar Project – a documentary dedicated to bringing awareness and support to the bars.

"Both Alina and I are very engrained in the queer community and we didn't even realize the numbers were so bad," said Rose.

Some think it can be difficult for lesbians to find a foothold in an ever-changing movement that many in America have latched on to.

"They're seen as homebodies that are uninterested in fashion and makeup and other aspects of consumers in society that fall under the umbrella of say womanhood or femininity," said Julia Himberg, a professor at Arizona State who's written a book on LGBTQ identities in popular media.

She thinks the commodification of the pride movement may be to blame for some of its members getting left out.

"Every June, we see thousands of companies turn their logos into rainbows. Sell rainbow-themed goods. Much of corporate America is highly invested in diversity including LGBTQ," said Himberg.

Croley says it hasn't been her experience that she feels left out of the movement, but she wants to see the expansion of lesbian bars to the next generation. To her, the movement's only ever been about one thing.

"We just want to love people and that's really what it comes down to, so we're no different," said Croley.