The Lack of Lesbian Bars in Montreal is Absurd

Where do the Lesbians go?

There are not lesbian bars in Montreal. Graphic Nadine Abdellatif.

I’ve known that I’m into women since my second year of high school, when my friend in physical education class said unprompted, “when I first met you, my gaydar went off.” 

My hometown, California, was filled with heteronormative individuals. Nonetheless, I thankfully found other queer people by chance in school. 

Upon arriving to Montreal in 2021, I made a plethora of queer friends and acquaintances, and I had the pleasure of experiencing queer events here and there. Before coming to Montreal, I looked up “gay bars in Montreal” on my computer, and the results were disappointing. 

The Gay Village should be called ‘The Gay White Cis-Male Village’ since there are no spaces to be found for lesbian, bisexual, transgender, non-binary or people of colour in this supposed homosexual haven. I was surprised to find that the last Lesbian bar in Montreal closed in 2014

Recently, Champs, a sports bar on St. Laurent, has been slowly transitioning into a Lesbian bar. It hosts lesbian events curated towards different demographics and interests like oil wrestling, sports nights and DJs. These specific queer events, however, are the only time when the space is purely queer-based. On most nights, it’s just like any other heterosexual bar. 

In reality, queer events are the main source of gathering for the women-loving women, trans, and queer Black and Indigenous people of colour community at the moment. While these events move around to bars and create a welcoming and enjoyable environment, they do not solve the issue of having a space you can depend on for queer fun and mingling.

What irks me is that while gay men can go to any gay bar to find hookups, maybe kiss a little or just dance with someone they’re attracted to, I need to plan to go to a Lesbian event to do that. I want a go-to place where I can interact with people like me, not a dance party/oi,l wrestling/poetry, slam event that happens once every couple of months. 

I am tired of going to regular (straight) bars with all of my queer friends. It’s always noticeable how out of place we are, but our options are either that or a gay bar that opens at midnight with bad techno music. 

Last semester, I went to a very straight club on a second date with a girl I met on Tinder. It seemed like we were the only gay people there and the ambiance was sub-par at best. 

I think one of the main reasons for the decline of Lesbian spaces in Montreal, is because gay white men have always been at the forefront of the queer community. As always, when women and trans people of colour fight for their right to love who they love and identify how they want, gay white men dominate and take all the credit. Sure they are gay and face prejudice, but they are also cis, white and male, which gives them almost as much privilege as the next guy.   

The other reason is an obvious one: the patriarchy. Society is catered toward white cis men and probably will be until they go extinct. People think they need to provide men with more spaces when they already have everything! In Montreal, there are over two dozen gay bars and currently zero lesbian bars. 

My question is, why were there more lesbian bars when homophobia was more socially acceptable than now? It could be because you can now go to a regular bar with your girlfriend and not get hate-crimed or arrested. But would it not make sense to have more queer spaces in this time of acceptance?

I guess for now I will need to settle for sports games and Ed Sheeran but I can only handle that for so long.

This article originally appeared in Volume 43, Issue 4, published October 12, 2022.