Archive | June 14, 2016

‘You are not alone’: Lady Gaga breaks down during fierce tribute to Orlando victims

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2016/06/14/you-are-not-alone-lady-gaga-breaks-down-during-fierce-tribute-to-orlando-victims/?tid=a_inl

She was amazinly sweet last night and quite frankly, every one there last night was in tears when we weren’t furious

A bar is not just a bar when it’s a gay bar

One of my straight friends on Facebook and I had a discussion yesterday. He  said he didn’t understand all the public rituals of grief that went on when a tragedy happened and he thought was all just for show and I had to disagree and I went to the vigil at City Hall to be with my brothers and sisters.

I can just about say with certainty that every single out gay person when they heard about Orlando said to themselves. “That could have been me”. Most straight people don’t really get the violence and hatred out gay people have experienced unless maybe they volunteer as escorts at abortion clinics. Gay people live with that threat all the time.

Women live in fear all the time anyway. We learn to fear men at an early age. Compound that as a lesbian and you really escalate the fear. Your inner voice cranks up. “Am I too butch? Am I safe? What is that guy looking at me for? Who is behind me? The street is dark, is there someone by my car?” As I came out of the bar or as in last night coming home from the vigil in my purple shirt and pride ring necklace? “Do they know I’m gay? Am I safe, Am I safe? Am I safe?”

We live with it every time we go out.

But there has always been one safe space. One my friend Marie Cartier did her PhD thesis on, the bar.

When I came out the local lesbian bar was the about the only place you could find your friends when it wasn’t camp season. We were there most weekends with our friends making sure we got there before 9 when they started charging the cover fee because we were all college students and poor.

I learned to dance in the bar, at least dance any other way but folk dancing at camp. I learned to flirt in a bar. I tried to learn to smoke and look cool but friends kept taking my Virginia Slims away because they said people with my babyface looked dumb smoking. I discovered after one night stand with really butch women were not my thing. (My only one night stand and as in Stone butch. {Joan, way butcher than you or Carol, LOL)) I lost a lover in one dance in the bar. For some reason I knew if Lynn danced with Chuck I had lost her and I did, sometimes it sucks to be an empath.

I learned there were Girl Scout dykes, and softball dykes. That there were granola dykes and Country Western dancing dykes. I learned who was butch and who was femme and who was androgenous. I learned dyke chic dressing. I learned I wanted to be the designated driver most nights. I learned about love in a safe space when there was nowhere else to go.

Much later they would found things like the Center here in LA. There would be GLSUs that when they started were GSUs because why would the boys want to include lesbians? We had to fight for that. There would be Gay bowling leagues and choirs. But in 1979, it was the bar or nothing. And the bar was the safe space. Yes, occasionally a straight man would come in and sit down and announce to all and sundry that all we needed was a “REAL MAN” and he quickly found out that was not a good idea in a bar full of dykes and the bouncers probably saved some men’s lives when they did that.  But inside it was our safe cocoon.

People went to that bar in Orlando to be themselves, to have a good time with their friends. They went to their holy place. They went to a place they assumed was inviolate. A gay bar is not just a bar even if you never drink anything but a coke, it’s holy and sacred and safe and now…every gay person is remembering all the unsafe places, and they are getting mad. And maybe just, maybe something will get done.