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Jack Ramage
4 December 2023, 13:14

History of gay bars in North America explored in new book, The Bars Are Ours

The new book documents queer nightlife across various US cities

Cover of The Bars Are Ours on a red background

A new book that explores the past and present of queer nightlife in the United States has been released. 

Published last month via Duke University Press, The Bars Are Ours: Histories and Cultures of Gay Bars in America,1960 and After delves into the influence of American gay bars on queer communities across the country. 

Authored by Lucas Hilderbrand, a professor in media studies, the book covers LGBTQ+ scenes in various cities, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, Detroit and Denver.  The book also explores themes such as political activism, exclusionary door policies, and discrimination in the form of sexism and racism.

Speaking on the book to Duke University Press, Lucas Hilderbrand said: "It was essential to me that my survey history be inclusive—that I understand Black and Latinx gay bars as gay bars... I also recognized that they often had community-specific histories and cultures, which I worked to document as best I could without claiming to speak for or exoticizing them."

Earlier this year, it was announced that the esteemed San Francisco gay bar, The Stud, was set to reopen in a new location in 2024. You can revisit Marke Bieschke's feature for DJ Mag on the fight to preserve the city's gay disco history here.

Pick up a copy of The Bars Are Ours: Histories and Cultures of Gay Bars in America,1960 and After here