Sydney Gay Bar study finds “resilient” queer community


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A new study of Sydney Gay Bars suggests that Sydney has “one of the most resilient” Queer communities in the world.

According to a recent Policy Paper released by the University of Sydney, 93 per cent of Sydney gay bars, venues, and events surveyed rebounded in the aftermath of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.

The Impacts of COVID-19 on Gay Bars and Events in New South Wales, Australia looked at 56 gay bars, venues, and events.

Of the 56 venues, only six venues, bars, or events had closed during the height of COVID-19.

Public Policy in the Department of Government and International Relations Senior Lecturer and the study’s Chief Investigator, Dr Chris Pepin-Neff stated, “Sydney is leading the queer world in the recovery from COVID-19.”

“Globally, gay bars are struggling, but in Sydney they are thriving.”

“This data illustrates the resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community in NSW in its ability to rebound following COVID, to save gay spaces, and to be an example to the world in queer community building.

“We published these initial findings due to the exceptional circumstances of the global pandemic and its impact on marginalised communities.

“New South Wales has a lot to be proud of. And yet, we need to remember many are still struggling in the regions and this paper highlights this need.”

Sydney bucks global trends

This resilience is in contrast to global trends.

Dr Pepin-Neff said Sydney stands in stark contrast to the steady deterioration and average trend in other LGBTIQ+ communities, such as those in the United States.

As a comparison, data from the U.S. national travel guidebook of LGBTQ+ spaces found a determine a 36.6 per cent decline in gay bars between 2007 and 2019, including a 51.9 per cent decline in lesbian bar listings, and a 59.3 per cent decline in listings for people of colour.

“There has been a slow death of gay and lesbian bars around the world,” Dr Pepin-Neff said.

“However, Sydney is demonstrating success because these bars, venues, and events provide social connection and that’s where you build resilience for getting through tough times.”

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Sarah Davison
Sarah Davison

After working in print and radio, Sarah has joined the team at QNews to expand their coverage into South Australia. Sarah has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, and a Masters in Journalism, Media, and Communications. Get in touch: sarah@qnews.com.au

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