Not only do plenty of people prefer not to drink, but multiple studies suggest that LGBT are at greater risk of alcoholism. In 2019, isn't it time we offered more spaces to an often marginalised community?by Beth Desmond / February 26, 2019 / Leave a comment
Alcohol has played an outsized role in the modern history of the LGBT community. In New York in the late 1960s, hundreds of demonstrators clashed with police in protest against an NYPD raid of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Manhattan. Since the 1990s, Coors Brewing Company has put a lot of time and money into winning back the custom of LGBT drinkers after a long-standing boycott which began because of what activists saw as homophobic hiring practices in the 1970s. In 2013, gay bars across Europe and North America began refusing to sell Russian vodka in protest against the anti-LGBT Putin regime.
The LGBT community has a long history of seeking refuge from the bigotry of the outside world in bars and clubs. The Cave of the Golden Calf, open in London from 1912 to 1914, is generally considered to be Britain’s first gay bar in the modern sense of the word. The prevalence of venues aimed specifically at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people only increased after the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967, and according to an audit by University College London there were 125 in London in 2006 (although that number had fallen to a mere 53 by 2017).
Whilst we can be grateful for the role of gay bars as a safe haven for the community, there is a severe lack of spaces for LGBT people who aren’t looking to drink. According to TravelGay, in the six British cities with the most LGBT venues—London, Manchester, Brighton, Birmingham, Liverpool and Newcastle—there are a total of 95 bars and 51 clubs, but only four cafés and two restaurants. (There’s also the wonderfully named Queers Without Beers pop-up bar in London and Manchester, but as a monthly event it does little to resolve the general shortage.)
Even at events originally intended purely to celebrate the LGBT community, it can be hard to get away from the toxic hydroxide. Brighton Pride, one of the largest annual events for the community in the UK, is these days often associated with excessive alcohol consumption. The Brighton Beach Patrol reports that a quarter of its interventions taken last year to prevent intoxicated people from drowning occurred during Pride Weekend.
Multiple studies show or suggest that LGBT people consume more alcohol…