Also.Also.Also: Why We Really Need Gay Bars and Other Stories We Missed This Week

Hello, tiny furniture! HAPPY NEW YEAR! I’m 99% sure this will be the cutest year yet; here’s the news we missed while I was romping around Vancouver this week making sure of it.

Why We Need Gay Bars

A Texas town’s ban on gay folks dancing to country music reminds us why we need safe spaces for everything – even listening to country music.


Several other commenters said that if gay men want to dance together, they need to go to a gay bar. Except, of course, that there isn’t one in Victoria. Indeed, there are fewer and fewer gay bars all across the United States. Back in 2011, when I wrote a series about gay bars, I reported that between 2005 and 2011, the number dropped from 1,605 to 1,405, a 12.5 percent decrease.

Meyer and Douglas seem like the kind of young men who feel no shame or embarrassment about their sexual orientation. They appear to be perfectly comfortable expressing affection with each other in all kinds of situations. It’s too bad the straight world still isn’t ready to see them dance together.

F*ck This Sh*t

+ The Pacific Justice Institute is LGBT Misinformer of the Year because it “set a new standard for dishonesty on LGBT issues” in 2013.

+ Destin Holmes is speaking out against her homophobic school:


Destin Holmes, 17, said her principal called her “a pathetic fool” and said he did not “want a dyke in this school.”

One teacher allegedly forced her to use the boys’ bathroom and another refused to let her participate in a boys vs. girls quiz game — forcing her, instead, to sit in the middle of the room.

“I actually cried during that class,” Holmes told The Huffington Post. “And what was running through my head was, ‘Why would a professional teacher say that to a student. Why?’ I’m still human. I’m not an alien.”

Being LGBT in Uganda

It’s not easy being queer in Uganda.


CNN this week takes a deep look at what life is like for people with a big secret in the nation:

Kasha Nabagasera peers warily from behind the slightly cracked gate to her home.

“People don’t know I live here,” she explains, smiling half-heartedly. “I’ve been kicked out of so many apartments, this is the longest I have stayed in one place, a year. It’s rented in someone else’s name.”

Nabagasera is one of the few gay rights activists who speaks in public in Uganda, a deeply conservative Christian nation that is rabidly homophobic.

Evidence of that is everywhere. At Christmas Mass a few hours earlier, Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali praised the country’s Parliament for passing the anti-homosexuality bill.

“We love everybody. The homosexuals, the lesbians are children of God. We want them to repent.” He preached to the congregation as it broke out in applause, his voice growing increasingly animated.

“But to say we accept and then tomorrow you begin to see a man bringing a man. Can you imagine that?”

Nabagasera, like many other members of the LGBT community, rarely goes to church, and it’s not because she’s lost her faith.

Gay in America: The Round-Up

+ Gay marriage in Utah looks a helluva lot like a turning point.


+ 2013’s DOMA decision did everything folks thought it would do for gay marriage in America.

+ The Log Cabin Republicans are pissed off by sexy Obamacare ads.

+ For LGBTA people protesting the Sochi Olympics, being heard is awfully difficult.

+ LGBT people love Barack Obama, Sochi or no Sochi. Always have.

The Pew Research Center’s survey of 1,197 LGBT adults, conducted this spring, found that Obama enjoyed significantly higher favorability ratings among LGBT adults than the general public. And according to the national exit polls, lesbian, gay and bisexual voters supported Obama 76% to 22% over Mitt Romney in the 2012 election.

The survey also found a widespread belief among LGBT adults that the Obama administration, and the Democratic Party, are generally supportive of LGBT people: 63% said the Obama administration was generally friendly toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people; while just 6% said the administration was generally unfriendly (30% said it was neutral).

+ The more we talk about rape culture, the more we see people coming forward about rape. Case in point? Sexual assault reports rising in the military.


On Trigger Warnings

2013: Year of the Trigger Warning.

The trigger warning became a mainstream concept in 2013. Whether or not this is a good thing will continue to be hotly debated. But even if trigger warnings become as ubiquitous as many feminist bloggers want them to be, odds are that most people will end up tuning them out like we do similarly intended parental warnings slapped on movie posters and TV shows. As for me, I write often about difficult subjects like rape and abortion, but I never use trigger warnings. My experience is that the audience can do a better job than I can at figuring out what kind of content will upset them by reading the headline than I ever could randomly guessing what blog posts count as triggering.

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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. I kind of wish we could run an A-Camp for teens. Less of the practical sex stuff, but even as an adult (and old for A-camp!) being surrounded by a culture where queer is normal is a life-altering, positive experience that I didn’t know I was missing, and I can only imagine what that could do for kids like Destin.

    • There are a few camps kinda like that in existence (Camp Ten Trees and OUTdoors are the only two I know of off the bat) but from what I can tell, they’re few and far between, and unfortunately for a lot of teenagers – especially kids from rural communities or economically underprivileged families – traveling that involves more than a couple hours’ drive or heavy fees can make camp impossible.

  2. I officiated gay weddings at the courthouse in Salt Lake County. Gov. Herbert’s tears sustained me as I read off, “I now pronounce you partners in life.”

  3. The trigger warning debate is really interesting. I found that the author of the Slate article seemed to be missing the point when she said “most people will end up tuning them out like we do similarly intended parental warnings slapped on movie posters and TV shows.” In my understanding, trigger warnings’ intentions are not similar to those of parental warnings at all. They are meant to protect and warn a specific group of people: those who already know they might be triggered and don’t want to experience that. I imagine that group will continue to read trigger warnings, and if a trigger warning helps even one person feel more agency in a society that doesn’t usually protect them – then it has done its job.

    Anyway, I’d love to see an Autostraddle writer give their take on this media discussion.

    • Exactly this. I guess they think they’re akin to the parental warnings? They don’t actually understand what they’re used for? The quote sounds like they don’t, in a way.

  4. Damn right we need gay bars. And I’m not talking about gay clubs. Personally, the mainstream gay club scene isn’t my thing- everything from the music to the largely dominant male presence turns me off, as much as I appreciate it’s role in society. But it would be great if that one particular scene didn’t define the majority of the queer public sphere in most towns/cities.

  5. We need Lesbian clubs or queer women clubs. Pretty much all the clubs in my area are gay men clubs and there isn’t anything wrong with that but wouldn’t it be nice to have more clubs that are all for queer women? Or women on one floor men on the other?

    • And what, nonbinary people stuck in the stairwell? Could we have non-segregated clubs before making more ones that screw over part of our population?

  6. When trying to investigate why lesbian bars don’t do well in my city, I got an interesting perspective from a lady-loving entrepreneur and she said that the Uhaul Phenomenon makes it difficult to keep steady business. I had mixed feelings on this. It made me chuckle, pissed off at such an accusation, and contemplative on how very true it is that my gf and I are typically homebodies. I really want to support the few women-dominant bars there are here as most have about a one year shelf life. Thoughts on this?

    • Interesting (and yes, a little aggravating) theory, but for as long as there are lesbian couples meeting and retreating to their bedrooms and/or choosing to homestead instead of socialize, won’t there always be lesbian couples breaking up (wah wah), not to mention a consistent new wave of young single ladies who aren’t settling down yet?

      I think the natural progression from bar scene to bedroom (or more accurately, Friday nights with your SO, Netflix and a bottle of wine)) is more of an age, not gender, related phenomenon.

    • My wife and I are pretty serious homebodies, but we still go out (to bars) often enough that our favorite one or two know us by name. I’m not saying our one anecdote proves anything, but my gut instinct is that there’s more to the issue than a lack of patronage.

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