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Femme, a lesbian bar located in Worcester, Massachusetts, stands out among suburban watering holes with its welcoming atmosphere for LGBTQ+ patrons. Maire Geoghegan and her friends appreciate the safe space Femme provides for them to socialize without fear of judgment. However, lesbian bars across the country have been on the decline since the 1980s, with Femme being one of only 32 remaining in the United States. In response to this trend, Erica Rose and Elina Street launched the Lesbian Bar Project in 2020 to support and document these establishments.

The Lesbian Bar Project gained traction during the pandemic, raising over $250,000 through short films and documentaries that highlighted the importance of preserving lesbian bars as havens for the LGBTQ+ community. Since its inception, new lesbian bars have emerged in various cities, including The Lady’s Room in Florida, Mother in California, The Ruby Fruit in Los Angeles, and The Sports Bra in Oregon. These spaces prioritize inclusivity and provide a sense of community for queer individuals who may not feel welcome in conventional bars.

Lesbian bars like Femme prioritize creating a safe and welcoming environment for their patrons. They offer a space where individuals can be themselves without fear of discrimination or violence. These establishments also host a variety of events and services beyond serving drinks, such as gallery tours, voter registration drives, and themed dance nights. For Maya Falb, Femme provided a sense of belonging during their college years and served as a valuable resource for connecting with like-minded individuals.

Audrey Corley, the owner of Boycott Bar in Phoenix, Arizona, emphasizes the importance of preserving lesbian bars as essential community spaces. Lesbian bars like Boycott serve as more than just drinking establishments; they provide a support network and a sense of belonging for marginalized individuals. These establishments offer programming that caters to the diverse interests of their patrons, ranging from sports events to cultural dances, ensuring inclusivity and representation for all members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Despite the challenges facing lesbian bars, advocates like Erica Rose and Elina Street continue to support and raise awareness for these vital spaces. By highlighting the unique contributions of lesbian bars and the importance of maintaining safe spaces for queer individuals, the Lesbian Bar Project aims to secure the future of these establishments. As patrons continue to seek out inclusive and welcoming environments, lesbian bars play a crucial role in fostering community and celebrating diversity within the LGBTQ+ community.

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