Yuppies wheeled in expensive baby strollers, helping shoo away the colorful queer artists and others who gave neighborhoods such as the South End their appeal. At the same time, marriage equality shifted some of the cultural emphasis from White Parties to white-picket fences.
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As a result, the bars and venues that remain feel less edgy, say some old-timers, and the spotty scene no longer cultivates a cohesive-feeling gay culture. Disrupters ranging from the Internet to market and cultural forces have already mortally wounded many of the institutions that support subcultures, from alt-weekly newspapers RIP, Boston Phoenix to indie music venues. Gay bars have long been spaces that prop up communities who play on the fringes, generators of subversive cultural movements that eventually go mainstream, and bulwarks against the sterilization and homogenization of city life.
As public gathering spaces and community hubs like them disappear, our cities become less diverse and less, well, interesting.
The urban pulse slows. The heartbeat feels less electric. Today, Buzz is long gone. ManRay closed in and was replaced by a condo development. Axis expired in , and the space now belongs to House of Blues.
But I miss the bygone gay bars, and for bigger reasons than sour grapes. In Boston, along with many other large U. They are where political advocacy groups host fundraisers, hash out lobbying strategies over cocktails, and give out awards to community organizers.
We go there to celebrate and mourn. I aimed to find out what, and to look for clues of a comeback. Today Bermudez is in his seventies and lives behind a colorful wall of flower beds in a quaint, antique-stuffed Cape Cod cottage with Bob Isadore, his husband and partner of plus years. But like many young men coming of age and coming out in the s, Bermudez once lived his life in the shadows. For most of the past century, gay bars largely remained underground.
Many operated under the thumbs of mobsters, who paid off police to keep raids at bay and cash-dropping patrons drinking. From the start, Bermudez says, the bars offered refuge to a maligned minority beginning to test its social boundaries.
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Dancing together was still illegal. To do so, especially under threat of police raids or beat-downs, was a political act. Then came Stonewall. Bermudez has the distinction of being one of a handful of living people who were inside at the time. Today, the clash is widely recognized as the first shots of the modern gay rights movement, and the Stonewall Inn is a national monument, the first designated specifically for its role in LGBT history. Stonewall also kicked off decades of activism that saw bars emerge as thriving hubs of political and social advocacy, especially in Boston.
Buddies closed in She held office in Massachusetts from to As the gay rights movement grew, agendas adapted.
The Friendly Toast
Milestone by milestone, the world slowly opened up to gay people—and one by one, the bars closed. Online Buddies would make a very bad gay bar. Since its founding in , Manhunt has allowed 20 million users in countries to search for Mr. Right Now based on physical characteristics, kink-related criteria, and convenient geographic proximity.
Office visitors expecting to find go-go boys dancing in the accounting department, however, would be sorely disappointed: Online Buddies looks much like any other major web developer. But he claims his critics miss a bigger point: Dating apps are the new singles bars for gay and straight folks alike, and especially for the younger generations. Already have an account?
Gay Men Board Game Speed Dating
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