The Gay Bar: a church?



The Acme Bar in San Antonio, Texas. Long Beach Post | 14126

For Dr. Marie Cartier, the author of “Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall”, gay bars became the church for the LGBT community pre-1968. Gay bars shared rituals, had a genuine feeling of loyalty, and were for many a common part of their life.

“It had a big import in your life because religious identity could not be dismissed. All of the spiritual, alternative religions we know of now—particularly in California, as part of everyday life—weren’t an option.”

The gay bar acted as the conduit between identity and having a community for that identity. Or what many of the women Cartier interviewed called “the only place”: the only place to meet, socialize, and most importantly, be yourself.



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