Lifestyle

James Bond walks into a gay bar. But should he?

Actor Daniel Craig, best known for playing the dashing and decidedly straight James Bond, hit the headlines this week when he revealed he is a huge fan of gay bars.

“I’ve been going to gay bars for as long as I can remember,” Craig, 53, said Tuesday on the “Lunch With Bruce” podcast. so often.”

Gay bars, added Craig, “would just be a good place to go. Everyone was cool – everyone. You didn’t really have to declare your sexuality. It was OK. And it was a place. very sure.”

Craig, who is married to the British actress Rachel Weisz from 10 years ago, I added that I was there in the gay bars of the celibate women.

The online reaction of the LGBTQ communauté to été mitigée.

Beaucoup ont applauded Craig’s remarks, disant: “Il y a de la place pour tout le monde à notre table.”

“If you are there and that you are respectful, I am not a problem,” wrote a user on Twitter. “Nous ne gagnons pas de soutien en disant aux hétéros qu’ils ne sont pas welcomes you.”

But others said Craig and other straight people going to gay bars “comes at the expense” of LGBTQ spaces.

“If gay bars are *full* of straight people then they aren’t gay bars any more,” one user wrote on Twitter. “When I was figuring things out, the safety of two or three lesbian bars/clubs in London was so important to me. It felt safe because I knew the women there were there for the same reason as me.”

The debate over the place of straight people in gay and lesbian bars comes as many LGBTQ bars have closed in recent decades.

From 2007 to 2019, 37% of the country’s gay bars closed, according to a 2019 study by Greggor Mattson, associate professor of sociology at Oberlin College. Meanwhile, the number of lesbian bars fell 52% and the number of bars serving LGBTQ people of color fell 59%, according to the study.

Mattson’s research further showed that LGBTQ bars across the country have closed at higher rates in recent years: from 2017 to 2019, 14% of LGBTQ bars closed.

The loss is much greater for the LGBTQ community than many realize, Mattson said.

“Unlike other communities which have churches as the main place of organization or places of catering, we have bars,” he said. “In many parts of the country… it’s only in the local gay bar where you can find a non-sexist restroom or a bulletin board where LGBTQ + business owners advertise their services or a bartender who can direct you to a place to apply for an LGBTQ + friendly job. ”

“When we lose these places, we lose the face-to-face connections and especially the chance encounter with strangers that are how we as a community knit ourselves together,” Mattson added.

The economic toll of the pandemic has exacerbated the trend, as small businesses of all kinds closed last year.

To stave off the closures, Erica Rose and Elina Street co-founded the Lesbian Bar Project, a national effort to support lesbian nightlife threatened by the pandemic. The fund has raised over $260,000 since 2020 to fuel support for the country’s 21 estimated remaining lesbian bars.

Rose and Street advocate for lesbian bars to be safe spaces for everyone, including straight allies, but worry that sometimes straight people go for a “spectacle,” they said.

The women, who are both lesbians, recalled a recent outing at a lesbian bar on Fire Island, where they encountered a straight bachelorette party.

“They were cheering, they were excited to see how everyone was reacting, how everyone was dressed, and it felt like they were coming for the entertainment part, like it was an exotic experience,” Street said.

“People are like fascinated by this kind of alternative culture whereas this is our everyday lives,” Rose added. “We don’t get to put on a gay hat just like when we feel like it. We’re queer 24/7, all year round, and we need spaces that protect that.”

Mattson said that while he sympathizes with LGBTQ people who crave queer-only spaces, Craig’s comments should also encourage straight bars to create less hostile environments.

“My gut instinct was: ‘How sad,'” he said. “Yes, the vulnerability of gay spaces, but how about the brokenness of straight bars that even a famous, buff guy doesn’t feel safe going out?”

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