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2 filmmakers from Brooklyn working to document NYC lesbian bars

2 filmmakers from Brooklyn working to document New York City lesbian bars
2 filmmakers from Brooklyn working to document New York City lesbian bars 01:58

NEW YORK -- In 2020, Erica Rose and Elina Street, two filmmakers from Brooklyn, were afraid that their favorite lesbian bars in New York City would close during the pandemic.

"Elina and I spent a lot of time on the phone with each other, kind of processing this time apart in this time of isolation. And we found this article that stated that there was only 16 lesbian bars left in the United States at the time, and that the pandemic could bring that number down to zero," Rose recalled.

So, the two friends did what they do best: they made a love letter to their favorite queer spaces, in film.

"They are spaces where you can be your authentic self"

The short video was an effort to fundraise for the businesses nationwide, and they raised nearly $300,000. It was also an effort to highlight the importance of the spaces for the LGBTQ community.

"These spaces are more than bars. They're community centers. They are spaces where you can be your authentic self, and where you can meet people from all walks of life, in all generations," Street said.

That's when The Lesbian Bar Project was born. The documentary became a mission to celebrate, support, and preserve the remaining lesbian bars in the country.

"The proportionality of how many people would go and patronize those bars compared to the amount of bars that exist in the United States is really unacceptable, and it also speaks to how our society values us," Rose explained.

Since then, others were discovered and added to the list. Some ultimately closed, while others, like The Bush in Bushwick, opened last year.

"I think the work that they're doing is fantastic. We definitely need that. We need some way of like archiving our history. I think, obviously, we don't see these types of things in history books," said Nikki Alleyne, co-owner of The Bush.

Rose and Street have new docuseries on The Roku Channel

There are now 32 documented lesbian bars nationwide, a glimmer of hope and a push to keep going.

"I think we encouraged people that had this dream of opening their own space and showed that there is a community waiting for them when they do open," Rose said.

Rose and Street have since expanded to create a docuseries on The Roku Channel, and a new season takes the show internationally to Germany. The hope is to use the platform to showcase queer spaces around the globe.

Have a story idea or tip in Brooklyn? Email Hannah by CLICKING HERE.

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