Tell Us about Your First Trip to a Gay Bar

Slate's Culture Blog
June 27 2011 10:42 AM

Tell Us about Your First Trip to a Gay Bar

When Dan Savage first walked into the Bushes, in Chicago, after six years of intense stress from hiding his homosexuality, the pressure lift was so intense that it made him feel lightheaded. "It was like stepping through an airlock," he writes. "I'm surprised my ears didn't pop."

On her inaugural trip to the "chintzy and tacky" Satan's, in Akron, Ohio, Alison Bechdel found herself wondering, "Was I going to be spending the rest of my life in places like this?"


Susie Bright uncovered an old family secret at the Bacchanal, in Albany, California. At a "skeezy and smelly pub" called the Rembrandt, in Manchester, England, Simon Doonan met a drag queen named Mother, a "scrawny, malnourished-looking World War I vet" who would recite "The Charge of the Light Brigade" in a Courrèges-inspired mini dress, her prosthetic leg peeking out through her nylons.

As part of her multipart series on the "riotous past and uncertain future" of the gay bar running all this week on Slate June Thomas asked 11 eminent gay, lesbian, and bisexualwriters about their first visit to a gay bar.

Now we want to hear from you. What happened the first time you went to a gay bar? Was it exciting? Scary? Or was fraternizing with fellow LGBT folk old hat by the time you turned 21? Tell us your best stories in the comments, and we'll round up the funniest, sweetest, and weirdest in a future post.   

Nina Shen Rastogi is a writer and editor, and is also the vice president for content at Figment.


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM Planned Parenthood Is About to Make It a Lot Easier to Get Birth Control
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 5:03 PM White House Chief Information Officer Will Run U.S. Ebola Response
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.