Although bars across the country closed last year due to the impact of lockdowns, queer, and especially lesbian bars have been shuttering since their high point in the late 1980s (when an estimated 200 lesbian bars existed in the country). While growing acceptance of LGBTQ+ people may have reduced the need for queer spaces, the primary reason that queer and women owned bars are force to close revolve more around economics than disinterest in maintaining these critical social hubs. Discrimination that queer women (especially women of color) face absolutely plays a role, as does rising rents for commercial properties across the country.
In the midst of the pandemic, Lea DeLaria (Orange is the New Black) launched The Lesbian Bar Project, a grassroots-fundraising-turned-documentary-film-project, to support and celebrate the 21 lesbian clubs that have survived.
Now, with The Lesbian Bar Project’s latest fundraising campaign ending at the beginning of July, the dating app Hinge is stepping in to provide much-needed additional support — while furthering its mission of creating an inclusive world where everyone can find love.
The fastest growing dating app in US, UK, Canada, and Australia, Hinge has become hugely popular and successful (the company says three out of four first dates lead to second dates, and its the #1 mobile dating app mentioned in The New York Times wedding section).
This August, Hinge is committing at least $50,000 in stimulus payments to the lesbian bars and is encouraging app users to visit the bars in person. Hinge has also committed to educate its U.S. users about the importance of LGBTQIA+ establishments and encourage them to donate to The Lesbian Bar Project on Sunday, August 8th by sending "roses." Hinge has worked with The Lesbian Bar Project to identify which bars need the most support and the stimulus payments will be split equally amongst those clubs. The campaign also encourages LGBTQIA+ singles to visit one of the participating bars on their next date, and it will offer on-site interactive experiences curated by Hinge.
Hinge recently conducted a survey that uncovered the following (further proving the need for these spaces):
The majority (81 percent) of Hinge lesbian daters said it’s important to have access to a lesbian bar in their local area.
Almost half (49 percent) of Hinge lesbian daters prefer to go to a lesbian bar on a first date.
The top reason (73 percent) why Hinge lesbian daters prefer lesbian bars is because those bars make them feel more comfortable.
Over half (60 percent) of Hinge lesbian daters are feeling anxious about dating right now, with 44 percent feeling more anxious now than before the pandemic.
Forty percent of Hinge lesbian daters who feel anxious about dating are nervous about finding things to talk about with a date.
Hinge’s partnership with The Lesbian Bar Project is its latest initiative supporting LGBTQIA+ daters while fostering meaningful relationships both virtually and in person. Earlier this summer, Hinge also introduced pronouns and sexual orientation descriptors in the app so that all users can fully show up as their authentic selves.
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