Lesbian spaces are disappearing. AfterEllen.com has shut down, for all intents and purposes, and suddenly “sad” is not adequate to describe the way lesbian community feels. Without a doubt, this has a global impact. Lesbians from the US all the way to Australia have been visiting the website for years, and it certainly cripples the lesbian Internet community to have this safe space taken away.
On a local scale, Phase 1, the oldest lesbian bar in the United States, now also has a “For Sale or Lease” sign hanging on its door… As someone who made many fond memories there, I am also (way more than) sad about it closing for good. While not global, this has a historic impact on the narrative of lesbian/queer women’s spaces in America.
What does it all mean? That’s a rhetorical question. We all know what it means or at least have solid theories. Our presence is diminishing. Our spaces are disappearing. Another troubling thought is that there have not been many lesbian spaces around to begin with. Why is that? Another rhetorical question right there. It’s not like all of us stay in on Friday nights with our significant others, pets, and Netflix. And even if we did, how would that account for the disappearance of online lesbian presence. My guess is that the presence itself did not go anywhere, it’s that the avenues for us to congregate, learn, educate, and generally speak out that are being taken away. By whom? OK, I really have to stop with the rhetorical questions.
Where do we go from here? Now that’s a question where I do need an answer. What is our plan of action? How do we make ourselves heard clearly and distinctly? How do we stand up for ourselves? How do we stop disappearing? Help me out here. I need a loud and strong response from our community. We need to stand up and do something. Now, what are you waiting for?