The Bars Are Ours: Histories and Cultures of Gay Bars in America,1960 and After

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Gay bars have operated as the most visible institutions of the LGBTQ+ community in the United States for the better part of a century, from before gay liberation until after their assumed obsolescence. In The Bars Are Ours Lucas Hilderbrand offers a panoramic history of gay bars, showing how they served as the medium for queer communities, politics, and cultures. Hilderbrand cruises from leather in Chicago and drag in Kansas City to activism against gentrification in Boston and racial discrimination in Atlanta; from New York City's bathhouses, sex clubs, and discos and Houston's legendary bar Mary's to the alternative scenes that reimagined queer nightlife in San Francisco and Latinx venues in Los Angeles. The Bars Are Ours explores these local sites--with additional stops in Denver, Detroit, Seattle, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and Orlando, as well as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Texas--to demonstrate the intoxicating, even world-making roles that bars have played in queer public life across the country.

About the Author

Lucas Hilderbrand is Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Irvine, and author of Inherent Vice: Bootleg Histories of Videotape and Copyright, also published by Duke University Press, and Paris Is Burning: A Queer Film Classic.

"The Bars Are Ours is a joy to read. Lucas Hilderbrand is able both to insert himself into his narrative in ways that makes it come alive and at the same time to step back and analyze. The stories are so compelling! Some made me laugh; some left me teary-eyed; and some offered eye-opening insights into a history that is shamefully under-told and under-appreciated."--John D'Emilio, author of "Memories of a Gay Catholic Boyhood: Coming of Age in the Sixties"

Publisher: Duke University Press
Pub date: November 21, 2023
464 pages
Format: Paperback