Where are lesbian bars in Los Angeles? Queer women need spaces

The Factory in West Hollywood (this view is from the back entrance on Robertson Boulevard) hosts a couple of nights for queer woman. In the past few years, spaces for queer women in Los Angeles and West Hollywood have diminished and vanished. Photo: File photo.

WEST HOLLYWOOD — In West Hollywood, also known as Boystown, Santa Monica Boulevard is dotted with numerous bars and clubs that cater to the queer male crowd.

FEW SPACES FOR QUEER WOMEN

But our spaces, spaces for queer women, are limited and dwindling.

Neither West Hollywood nor Los Angeles has a dedicated bar or gathering space for queer women.

In June, the Oxwood Inn, Los Angeles’ last lesbian bar, which opened in 1972, shuttered.

In 2013, The Palms, the oldest continually running lesbian bar in Southern California and West Hollywood’s last dedicated gathering space, closed after more than 40 years.

Other spaces, including the monthly, themed nights for queer women in West Hollywood like Truckstop, The Catwalk, and Club Juicy no longer exist.

In West Hollywood, we have a few places where queer ladies party: Fantasy Fridays at the Robertson,  Thirst at The Factory, and Matriarchy at Revolver. Queertainment, the ladies behind Matriarchy, host Honey Pot, a monthly event in North Hollywood at The Other Door.

In Long Beach, Executive Suite hosts Sugar, a weekly Saturday event. 

RELATED: Queer, transgender people of color face nightlife displacement in L.A.

Bars or clubs for queer woman are limited and vanishing in Los Angeles and West Hollywood. Graciela Lopez, right, enjoys a drink with a friend at a space for queer women in West Hollywood. Photo: Graciela Lopez.

JUST FOR THE BOYS

For me, going out to a gay club is more than just a night out. It’s where I often ran to find community and a safe space where I could be myself without feeling ashamed. I did not feel safe or welcomed in spaces that were non-LGBTQ.

But that same safe haven quickly became an exclusionary space where the number of queer woman was either limited or non-existent. West Hollywood’s Rage, Micky’s, and Trunks were for the queer male crowd, and almost everyone working in the bar, from the club bouncer to the DJ, was male. Many times, the only female presence came from the loudspeaker — tunes by women artists.

NOT ONE OF THE BOYS

When I couldn’t find a night with other queer women, I would tag along with my queer male friends and end up at Rage or Micky’s all over again.

But sometimes these spaces weren’t safe; they were harmful. I experienced misogyny and micro-aggressions while partying with queer males. Sometimes my friends or total strangers would make inappropriate comments regarding my body or what I was wearing.  Other times, queer males would touch my body — as if they were licensed to do so simply because they were queer.

RELATED: Circus Disco owner – who tore down iconic club for condos – to receive community hero award

Graciela Lopez, front, enjoys at night out on the town with friends. Photo: Graciela Lopez.

SPACES FOR QUEER WOMEN

WeHo equals privileged white gay male mecca. People of Color, particularly women of color, are hardly visible. We need more spaces for queer women and more spaces that are inviting and welcoming to queer women.

What about the Abbey? I don’t like the Abbey. I don’t see myself in the crowd or in the staff. Everyone looks the same and has the same body type.

Queer spaces also need to do a better job in eliminating oppressive and exclusionary behaviors.

We all deserve a haven where we can dance. And please, this place should run every weekend, not just once a month.

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About the author

Graciela Lopez

Graciela Lopez is an undocuqueer femme of color via Mexico D.F and raised in the Westlake-Pico Union area. When she is not involved with nonprofit work, Lopez takes two-hour naps, watches documentaries or works behind the decks as a DJ.