Gaybar.com has released its first annual list of winners for World's Best Gay Bars. Dividing the winners into two categories - one for the United States and one for Global winners - the website's editors have selected 20 gay and gay-friendly bars from around the world to be on the 2006 winner's list.
US winners included SideTrack in Chicago, I-Candy in LA and Boom in Minneapolis. Among global winners were London's Heaven, Toronto's Fly and Melbourne's Diva.
Criteria for making the two top ten lists included the standard of music, the reputation with the local gay and lesbian community, décor, accessibility and the overall vibe. Winners came from all over the US as well as from Canada, Australia, France, Brazil and Germany.
"The number of gay bars worldwide has grown significantly over the last 15 years and they have become much more visible and part of the entertainment mainstream." said Marsh from GayBar.com. "The result is a huge variety of venues with some of the most up-to-date sound systems, innovative programming and creative marketing, in some cases to the broader straight community."
The website plans to run the competition annually. Next year, GayBar.com plans to open the competition to voting by site visitors.
For additional information on the list of winners visit the website www.gaybar.com or contact Kevin Marsh.
GayBar.com is a directory of gay bars and features the net's largest, searchable, interactive list of bars. The site features maps, reviews and articles on gay, GLBT and gay-friendly bars throughout the world.
ON PAGE 2: Mumbai gays come out of closet!
Mumbai gays come out of closet
Nishant* was recently accosted by a plainclothes policeman at the Andheri station, while attempting a decent conversation with another man, involving permissible levels of physical bonding.
His fault: he was gay and open about it and the location happened to be one of the favourite gay cruise spots by the station, known exclusively to community members and pesky policemen.
Predictably, the policeman threatened to put him behind bars using the clout of Article 377, unless he coughed up some cash. However, far from complying Nishant asked to be taken to the police station and call his parents, as his sexuality was not hidden.
The policeman let him go, though three years back in a similar predicament Nishant would have preferred to pay and keep quiet. An architect by profession, he feels things have changed for the better for the city’s gay community.
“It’s not that police entrapments have stopped completely, but it is limited to a few lower level officers,” says Vikram, one of the founder members of the Gay Bombay Association (GBA). GBA, which is celebrating its eighth anniversary all through September, has been organising relatively more visible social events on a larger scale, apart from the regular parties, though the media still remains a strict no.
“While last Sunday we had a picnic with nearly 80 members at the Kihim beach; this Sunday we had special guest events to educate singles on living alone, teaching them basics like cooking,” says Nishant, a regular at the meets, adding, “GBA’s parent meetings are a big hit, especially for youngsters wanting to come out to their parents.” Recently, Nishant’s mother took part in one of the meetings sharing her experiences on coming to terms with her son’s sexuality with other parents.
On safety parameters, the consensus seems to be that Mumbai still has an edge above other Indian cities with significant gay visibility like Delhi and Bangalore because of its relatively better community structures like the Humsafar Trust and GBA.
“Delhi has a much bigger party scene, but it’s generally limited to the rich and are private bashes. They are organised for profit and are high on sex and drugs, which can be dangerous,” says Vikram, adding GBA parties strictly adhere to a “no sex, no drug ban.”
Many also credit it to an increasingly positive and sustained visibility in an empathetic media, “and the buzz around films like Brokeback Mountain, My Brother Nikhil and some regional films,” says Nishant. Madhur, a city-based gay activist, even credits Mumbai’s burgeoning BPO industry with being a positive catalyst.
“The BPO industry boom has led to lot of just out of college kids getting financial independence, giving them that extra confidence to assert their sexuality and lifestyle,” sums Vikram.
*Some names have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals.