Gay Bar Rebuttal
What writer Sara Havens and others see as confining and stratifying about gay bars, many of us embrace as comforting sacred space (LEO Weekly, May 1). Gay bars satisfy cultural, historical and social needs. They tie a group together more tightly and bind it to a specific locale and its atmosphere.
The phrase “gay bar” is no longer en vogue, a victim of assimilationist and revisionist efforts to promote “inclusivity.” Unfortunately, with assimilation and its objectivity comes the sacrifice of identity, belonging and community. These are not qualities the LGBT community can spare. Assimilationism encourages adoption of norms and mores of mainstream society; relinquishing our bars only serves to further prove our likeness to others, not highlight our variances.
Assimiliationists hope to blend away the demarcation between gay and straight. However, that effort succeeds only for those gays who aspire to envelopment in the larger community; some of us seek to set ourselves apart and bask in that difference.
Traditionally, gay bars and businesses have been special refuges to individuality. They enjoyed their heyday long before I made it out of junior high school. In Kentucky, we still had gay bars in the ’90s. In fact, I came of age in those places, with their special language, rites of passage and history; things like gay vernacular are at risk when our gathering places disappear. Of course, I’m likely to apply a sentiment and depth to these places they do not hold for everyone else, and that is part of my point. By stripping away the subjective experiences of having our own bars and spaces, we lose what it is like to be gay.
Any place that refers to itself as “queer friendly” has even more to prove than something that is gay space. I hate to bear the bad news, but queer friendly is already a trite concept and phrase. These so-called inclusive bars represent further attempts at a one-size-fits-all consumerism that ask us to confine ourselves into something more warped and staggering than a label: nothingness. What are you if you lack a label? You are neutral, non-specific, vague and generic. Our sacred spaces are those that help us change the social dynamic and claim autonomy and uniqueness. I’m afraid the places without a gay identity downplay the importance of having sacred spaces and being among our own.
Kevin B. Shields, Phoenix Hill
Remember this from the March 6 issue of LEO Weekly? “Council members Brent Ackerson, D-26, and Tina Ward-Pugh, D-9, accused Kramer and other Republicans of a bit of hypocrisy, noting that they frequently point their fingers at Democrats for questionable NDF spending.” Ackerson and Ward-Pugh were referring to the grant Councilman Kevin Kramer, R-11, awarded to a homeowners association for constructing a new entrance. Not be outdone, Councilman Dan Johnson, D-21, called Kramer’s grant “illegal” and “criminal.”
This makes you wonder if the Democrats have read their budget document. On the Metro Council page, the NDF appropriation is actually named “District Operations/NDF Fund.” What are District Operations? The answer probably doesn’t matter.
Basically, I think it means the council members can spend this money on just about anything as long as it doesn’t go to their family and best friends. Kramer gets it. He knows what his constituents want, and he obviously hasn’t broken any laws. The Democrats who criticized him don’t get it.
It’s not about waste. It’s only about staying clear of the “unwarranted privileges and advantages” prohibited by the Metro Code of Conduct. Think about it. Waste cannot be defined when the appropriation lacks a specific purpose.
Tom Louderback, Highlands
Big Four Limerick
He mournfully looked from the shore
To the place he had been once before.
It was too far to stoop
To scoop up his poop.
He can’t go on the bridge anymore.
Lewis Davis, Jeffersonville