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LGBT

Lesbian Bars Are Going Extinct, So We Asked Lesbians To Draw Their Own

"The most important feature of my ideal lesbian bar is that it would actually exist."

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In a Facebook post, Lexington owner Lila Thirkield blamed gentrification in the neighborhood for the doors closing on her business of nearly 18 years:

To My Dear Community –
It is with a heavy heart, great thought and consideration that I have made the very difficult decision to sell The Lexington Club.
Eighteen years ago I opened The Lex to create a space for the dykes, queers, artists, musicians and neighborhood folks who made up the community that surrounded it. Eighteen years later, I find myself struggling to run a neighborhood dyke bar in a neighborhood that has dramatically changed. A few years back my rent was raised to market rate, and though it was difficult, we seemed to weather it at first. But as the neighborhood continued to change, we began to see sales decline, and they continued to do so. We tried new concepts, different ways of doing things, but we were struggling. When a business caters to about 5% of the population, it has tremendous impact when 1% of them leave. When 3% or 4% of them can no longer afford to live in the neighborhood, or the City, it makes the business model unsustainable.
Please know that if I thought The Lexington Club could be saved, I would not be writing this. I understand what a huge loss this is to the community. It is difficult and painful to lose our queer spaces. However, my faith in queer San Francisco still runs deep. It is the best place in the world and dykes and queers are still an integral part of this city. They always will be. I have spent the better part of my adult life facilitating and creating community among dykes and queers in SF and I will not stop. The Lexington Club had an incredible eighteen-year run. It will forever live on in my heart, as I'm sure it will for many of you. To all who were a part of it - thank you for your contribution to a great chapter in San Francisco and a great chapter in my own life. And, of course, a huge thank you to my amazing staff. We made some incredible memories, and we will make more.
Lila Thirkield (Lexington)

In the wake of the slowly disappearing lady bar, we asked women to illustrate their dream lesbian bar. Here is what they came up with:

"At club Turn Up, there are three bars because fuck lines."

Ashley Ford

"At club Turn Up, there are three bars because fuck lines. There's room to dance because more people should dance in general. There's room to sit because sometimes a person might have a torn ACL, and that shouldn't keep them from being able to sit down and still have a good time. Not interested in drinking? I got you with TWO snack rooms. Get chocolate wasted, Baby. Not much of a dancer, but like moving your body? BAM! I included a climbing wall. There's also a carousel and three flat screen TVs that never stop playing Ellen and Portia de Rossi's wedding video. Just to class it up a bit."

"I didn't put an entrance or bathrooms. I'm not an architect, whatever."

Jessica Probus

"The best way to get lesbians to actually GO to a bar and STAY there is to include things they would already be doing at home. Beer. Snacks. Hammocks. and Singalong's."

(An architecture student actually submitted this one, though.)

Rennie Jones

Notable features: Access to party boat, outdoor terrace, free coat check, and skee ball. Situated on an unassuming street with queer people loitering about at all times.

"I'd maybe also throw in a mechanical unicorn for riding and glitter for throwing, but I ran out of room on my diagram."

Rachel Wiley

"My ideal bar would be a place with plenty of outdoor space and EVEN MORE dance floor. It would have local beer on tap, but mostly serve delicious whiskey cocktails for cheap. You'd be able to request/ queue up only the most fabulous of pop songs (read: Robyn hits) and take your pic with your buds (bar owners would make sure to stock all photo booths with HRC and Queen B cutouts). Also, there would never be a line for the bathroom- and all facilities would be safe for and accessible to all sorts of bodies. I'd maybe also throw in a mechanical unicorn for riding and glitter for throwing, but I ran out of room on my diagram."

"The most important feature of my lesbian bar is that it would actually exist."

Sarah karlan

"I'm not too hard to please, a little dance floor and a little outdoor space would make a great bar that anyone would feel welcome at. The music would be jukebox controlled on most nights, but a DJ would spin on the weekends. I can't think of a catchy name but I just KNOW it would have the most amazing name and everyone would know it and say it casually in conversation like, "Oh yea, I'm totally going to [ insert catchy name] tonight." The most important feature of my lesbian bar is that it would actually exist. You know, because they really don't seem to do that anymore."

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