NEWS

Calgary gay bars reduced by half over 10 years

06/14/2012 04:57 EDT | Updated 08/14/2012 05:12 EDT

The city's gay and lesbian community is lamenting the loss of yet another gay hangout.

Less than a decade ago, there were 11 gay bars in the city, now there are four.

The latest closure is Fab Bar, which comes on the heels of Club Sapien's closure, which shut its doors in February.

Leah Staples was one of Fab's servers before it closed two weeks ago.

“It did become quite a part of home for quite a few people and for many different communities within the queer community."

Staples says it was a very welcoming space.

"Because of that we had a lot of fun things going on, like karaoke or name that tune, different nights and engaging with the community in different ways," says Staples.

Many are turning to the virtual world for that sense of community. Others say straight bars are now more welcoming, and there's more selection.

Brett Aberle, of Calgary Outlink, says the loss of these establishments means fewer spaces where one can come out — literally.

“If queer couples go to a straight bar, people do still get harassed. It's important for people to have places to go where they can be who they are,” said Aberle.

It's part of a bigger trend. Damron Guides, a gay travel publication, said the number of gay and lesbian bars and clubs around the world have decreased by 12.5 per cent in the last seven years.

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