Dear Straight Girl at a Gay Bar
This piece was submitted by a member of the LGBTQ+ community at American University as part of the Rival American’s Pride Week. Their views do not necessarily represent that of The Rival American or its staff. If you’d like to submit your own work, please do so with our submission drive which will be open until Thursday, April 25th.
By Abby Henry
Dear Straight Girl at a Gay Bar,
I’m coming to you, straight girls, as a former “straight” girl. Trust me, I know exactly how you feel. You want to be a part of a community that makes you feel special. You also want to get attention from men who don’t want to fuck you. Why wouldn’t you want to be a queen to the LGBTQ+ community? I realized that I enjoyed gay bars, not just because they're fun, but because I actually am an LGBTQ+ queen and I deserve to flaunt it. And hey, maybe your gay awakening is impending, I mean, everyone is a little gay. When you’re ready, feel free to join me on the dance floor. But if not, you need a harsh wake-up call: gay bars are not for you!
The LGBTQ+ community was created to get away from cisgender-heterosexual (cishet) people in society. Sure, straight people can identify with the LGBTQ+ community, but I am more specifically referring to people who identify as both straight and cisgender, in other words, someone who does not identify as divergent from the romantic/sexual/gender norms of society. I have nothing against y’all, but you just aren’t part of the LGBTQ+ community and you need to respect our space.
Despite popular belief, gay bars are not solely places for cisgender gay men. Gay bars are meant to be spaces for the entire LGBTQ+ community. There is no rule mandating only cis-gay men can have fun. So if straight girls go to gay bars there is a chance they may get hit on by bisexuals, pansexuals, lesbians, or anyone else who might be attracted to women. As a woman who is attracted to other women, gay bars are frustrating because the limited amount of women there, usually, aren’t interested in other women. Maybe a solution is for cishet girls to wear a sticker that reads “STRAIGHT,” but also stay clear of queer girl fashion such as cuffed jeans and flannels.
Gay bars are supposed to be a safe and brave space for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Gay bars were created because, often, LGBTQ+ people don’t feel safe at mainstream bars or straight bars, as they are commonly referred to. There are countless bars where cishet folks can find community and feel safe, but queer people have a limited number and the numbers are continuing to dwindle. Not only are gay bars a place for queer people to get (safely) wasted, but gay bars have also, historically, been places where queer people could build friendships, relationships, and networks with one another. When cishet people invade gay bars, they are invading one of the only safe spaces queer people have access to. It is especially weird and disrespectful when straight girls have their bachelorette parties at gay bars. Queer people were trying to get away from cishet people, but they keep following us; it’s creepy.
Going to queer bars because you like queer media is also inappropriate, queer identities are not a show for you to enjoy. I know, queer people are cool and the representation of queer people in the media make them incredibly attractive to cishet folks, but queer people aren’t cool for the amusement of cishet people. Shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race and Queer Eye make you want to have your own version of the Fab-5, but queer people are actually complex human beings with feelings. Many of the things that cishet folks love about queer people are stereotypes or unrealistic tropes perpetuated by a heteronormative media industrial complex. Anyways, haven’t you heard that the “gay best friend” trend is out of style because it is incredibly problematic?
All of this doesn’t even mention the, less frequent, tragedy that is straight men at gay bars. Cishet men, if you are reading this, I am begging you to stay away from queer bars. Queer bars aren’t places for cishet women, but they are especially not places for cishet men.
If you couldn’t tell, I’m (not so) subtly suggesting that cishet folks shouldn’t attend gay bars, but I will concede there are a few exceptions. If you’re going to a gay bar with any of your queer friend(s) or family to support them, that is an exceptional reason to attend a gay bar as a cishet person. In general, just use your common sense and ask yourself, why am I attending a gay bar? Or ask, why do I want to attend a gay bar? If you have any shadow of a doubt that your intentions aren’t pure and your presence will harm the folks at the gay bar, then simply don’t go. Think before you drink, folks.
Hi, I'm Abby Henry and I use she/her pronouns. I am a sophomore at American University studying Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and Sociology. My passions include but are not limited to transnational feminism, vegan chicken nuggets, and queer reproductive justice.
I am a bisexual girl who likes to go to gay bars, but it can be hard to meet other queer girls due to the overpopulation of straight girls at gay bars. I wrote this article to let all the straight girls know how I feel about them.