“Our Happy Hours: LGBT Voices from Gay Bars” edited by Renee S. Bess and Lee Lynch— Listening to Ourselves

Bess, S. Renee, and Lee Lynch, editors. “Our Happy Hours: LGBT Voices from Gay Bars”, Flashpoint, 2017.

Listening to Ourselves

Amos Lassen

The gay bar has always played a prominent role in gay life. For many years it was the place where we could find a sense of community with others like ourselves. Today with online meeting sites the place of the bar has diminished yet I believe it is an institution that will never totally disappear. During the days and nights following the shooting massacre at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, we heard people try to explain what the gay bar/club means to LGBT people and words “safe place,” “refuge,” “free to be ourselves” were mentioned many times.

Story collectors (as they prefer to be called) Renee s. Bess and Lee Lynch have brought together the way writers dealt with the terrible tragedy from the point of view of being different and how we do not conform to the heterosexual world. We all were devastated by what happened in Orlando even though we may have not known the victims. After all, it could have been any of us there that night.

What happened at Pulse could have happened anywhere— It was an invasion of our private space; a place where we could be ourselves and feel as part of a community.

The stories and poems explain the importance of just that. We hear from Ann Aptaker, Dontá Morrison, Rae Theodore, James Schwartz, Jennifer Morales, Cheryl Head, Heather Jane, Beth Burnett, Cindy Rizzo, Stephen Reigns, Clay Kerrigan, Earlon Sterling, Sallyanne Monti, Karen DiPrima, S. Renee Bess, Richard Natale, Mercedes Lewis, Martha Miller, Liz McMullen, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Penny Mickelbury, Johnny Townsend, Merril Mushroom, Brian Heyburn, Lee Lynch, Joan Nestle, Ian Cassidy, Angela Garrigan, Nahshon Anderson Fuentes, Ardy Tibby, Katharine E. K. Duckett, Rachel E. Bailey, Darryl Denning, Lisa Carlson, Katherine V. Forrest, Jen Silver, Shelley Thrasher, Kitty Kat, Jamie Anderson, Shawn Marie Bryan, Ann Laughlin, JP Howard, L. K. Early, Patrick Coulton, Michael Ward, Karin Kallmaker and Bonnie J. Morris.

All proceeds from the sale of the books will benefit LGBT Youth Charities.

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