There are only 15 lesbian bars still standing in the U.S., and many of them are in financial peril due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One new fundraising effort could help ensure their survival.
The Lesbian Bar Project, a branded campaign created in partnership with Jägermeister’s #SaveTheNight initiative, launched this Wednesday, October 28. The initial launch consists of two parts: a ’90s-style PSA directed by filmmakers Erica Rose (GIRL TALK, Please) and Elina Street, and a four-week fundraiser on the Lesbian Bar Project’s website.
“When the pandemic hit, I learned that there were only 15 lesbian bars left in the country,” Rose said in a statement. “That number is staggering and frankly unacceptable. Losing just one more of these cherished spaces has devastating consequences for queer people in this country.”
Rose recalled how she “immediately felt seen” the first time she walked into Cubbyhole, one of New York City’s most well-known lesbian bars. Years later, as a proudly out filmmaker, she’s made it her mission to “use the power of filmmaking to illuminate the rich history of these 15 spaces and provide an opportunity for lesbian bars to tell their stories.”
All proceeds from the fundraiser go directly to participating lesbian bars. As Them reports, those bars are A League of Her Own in Washington, D.C..; Blush&Blu in Denver, Colorado; Cubbyhole and Henrietta Hudson in New York City; Herz in Mobile, Alabama; Ginger’s in Brooklyn, New York; Gossip Grill in San Diego, California; Lipstick Lounge in Nashville, Tennessee; My Sister’s Room in Atlanta, Georgia; Pearl Bar in Houston, Texas; Slammers in Columbus, Ohio; Toasted Walnut in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Walker’s Pint in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Wildrose in Seattle, Washington.
Out actress-comedian Lea DeLaria (Orange Is the New Black) narrated and executive-produced the PSA with The Katz Company. The one-minute, 50-second spot highlights popular lesbian bars past and present.
“I remember the lost spaces,” DeLaria says in the video. “I remember when it all suddenly went silent. I remember that Pride began as a riot, that our community is getting stronger and more vocal every day. And that we, too, can protect a safe space.”
Watch the full PSA below, and learn more about the Lesbian Bar Project, including how to donate, here.
Main image: Henrietta Hudson in New York City, which temporarily closed its doors due to COVID-19.