about the 'Raising The Bars' Initiative

Email me at GayBarchives@yahoo.com

"The gay bars were safe harbors in a cruel world:
a place where you always had a welcome place at the holiday table,
a place where you could hold your loved one's hand without shame,
a place where you  could confidently express your gender identity
without fear of violence.
 'Raising the Bars' is a bold step
in the future of preserving the memories of these spaces."
- Michail Takach  
Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project  and Author, LGBT Milwaukee

“Queer history began in the only place we could be ourselves, in Queer Bars across America. It’s so crucial we preserve these stories to remember those special nights we will always long to remember.
That's why projects like 'Raising the Bars' are so important.”
- Damian Pelliccione       CEO/ Co-Founder of Revry

"For most of us perhaps 35 and over, LGBTQ+ bars were THE PLACE for us to connect with others, meet up with friends, and overall feel like we could be completely ourselves for a moment in this haven we'd call home. I'm often the first to embrace new technologies and how they elevate the LGBTQ+ experience, but this new technology has come at a price when it comes to these institutions of LGBTQ+ history. 
Raising the Bars is the right project at the right time, allowing future generations to have a better understanding of how LGBTQ+ bars of yesterday have helped shape the LGBTQ+ world they live in today. "
-Matt Skallerud  President, Pink Media

"I am so pleased for this effort being put forth by Art Smith, GayBarchives
Stonewall National Museum, Archives & Library, and 'Raising the Bars' to promote the documentation of gay bar history. As the owner of the first gay bar, show bar and dance bar in Nashville, Tn in 1971 and the Cabaret from 1975-1993 
I am so proud that this project is underway. 
It is important for this generation and future generations of LGBTQ+ to know their history and to preserve the memories of our gay bars and safe places."
-Jerry Peek   Watch Your Hat & Coat Saloon, Cabaret   Nashville, TN

When I began working on the doc STUDIO ONE FOREVER I had personal memories of the club that I attended in the 80’s, but I had no idea what happened before I got there.   Layer after layer began to unravel and I realized that few people knew the richness of that club that started in 1974 and existed through the rise of the LGBTQ civil rights movement and through the AIDS crisis when it became ground zero for HIV fundraising.  
In this moment when our rights and history are once again threatened by dark forces that want to erase us and our progress, it’s so important to preserve these memories through projects like 'Raising The Bars' not only for those who lived and survived those times but for the younger generations who don’t realize how fragile those rights are and the battles that so many of our ancestors fought to attain them.
-Marc Saltarelli     Director, Studio One Forever documentary

“The significance of our gay bars as original community centers and safe spaces can not be underestimated, not just historically,
but for so many places still around the world today.
Teaching and bringing awareness to our LGBTQ+ history is so important to navigating the path ahead; celebrating and supporting our nightlife bar stars
who maintain this legacy in the present is key to opening doors for LGBTQ+ visibility and ultimately achieving the social change that leads to a better  world.
Initiatives like ‘Raising The Bars’ are a
vital component of this process.”
- Patrik Gallineaux    Stoli Vodka Global LGBTQ+/Multi-cultural Ambassador

"When I think of preserving LGBTQ+ history and programs like 'Raising the Bars',
I immediately think about a quote from Nikole Hannah-Jones, where she said, 'learning history made the world make sense.' Understanding the history and memories of LGBTQ+ spaces is no different.
In order to understand who we are, we must understand how we got here, and the people and spaces that opened the door for us today. Preserving these important memories will ensure we never forget."
- Eboné Bell       Publisher and Editor, Tagg Magazine

"Much of LGBTQ history has focused on cultural flashpoints such as the Stonewall riots, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, or same-sex marriage. All imperative, to be sure. But now it’s time to dig deeper and uncover the history beneath the headlines, and one of the most fertile areas to mine is LGBTQ nightlife. More than places to let loose or hook up, these bars and clubs have offered safe havens that fostered identity and community in the face of hateful oppression. 
'Raising the Bars' promises to help preserve this rich, forgotten history."
-David Kennerley    Author, GETTING IN: NYC Club Flyers from the Gay 1990s

"Back in the day, clubs were our community centers, our safe spaces. Yet they have been so often ignored by historians who seem focused on activists and politics.
'Raising the Bars' is an innovative approach to preserving our history.
Kudos to the Stonewall National Museum, Archives & Library and GayBarchives
for undertaking this extraordinary mission."
-Dick Woelfle     Founder, Channel125.com Gay TV

"The Stonewall National Museum, Archives & Library is a national treasure and collective wealth of resources documenting the lives of our Q plus community. 
As a Q Plus nightclub owner for over 41 years I applaud the efforts of Art Smith’s initiative, 'Raising the Bars' that will focus on elevating the documentation of
gay bar history in the Stonewall National Museum
The bars have had an important part in the history of our community. 
They were a safe and welcoming beacon in an unwelcoming social environment, often used not just for meeting people but as a 
gathering place for social change as well.
I feel this initiative will create new interest in the museum 
as it continues to expand."
-Mark Hunter    Owner, Hunters Nightclubs   Palm Springs CA and Wilton Manors FL

"How do we know where we are going, if we don't know where we have been? It is an ever important question as we grow as a LGBTQ community culture. Anniversaries have become a milestone for many, as remembering has become the new mantra.  All needs to be held up and celebrated so this new generation knows what has come before to define who they are today...
The 'Raising the Bars' project becomes the sacred place where storytelling takes center stage, and where memories are preserved for future generations." 
-Robert Bonanno   President, Fire Island Pines Historical Preservation Society

"History must always be preserved, especially LGBTQ+ history, otherwise anti-LGBTQ+ factors can distort the past. Also, our LGBTQ+ youth and future generations need to know what their predecessors went through so they can appreciate the rights and freedoms they have today. 
Our LGBTQ+ past comes from safe spaces, like gay and lesbian bars. 
It is therefore essential that programs like
'Raising the Bars' be supported and included."
~ John Sotomayor    Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, EMBRACE Magazine

"As someone who has frequented gay bars since the 1970's, and who has been an owner of 6 different gay venues since the 1980's, I do feel it is important to preserve the history and the culture of the gay bars through projects like 'Raising the Bars'.  
These venues were the safe spaces for our subculture and allowed us to be open, free and uninhibited during a period of time when many of us had to hide our gay identity; where we learned that we were not alone; where we found love and support that could not be found in society at large." 
- Joel Weinstein     Owner, Multiple Gay Bars [PA, DC and FL]

“It's very important to save our history. Much of our LGBTQ history and a lot of our political activism and rights movements revolves around these safe spaces
known as the gay bars.
It is important then as it is today to support your local LGBT bars even as the world becomes more inclusive. They are our spaces and we need more projects like
‘Raising the Bars’ to preserve their memories.”
- Arthur Hood, President HV Entertainment
LGBTQ Bar Owner, Real Estate Developer, Investor

'Raising The Bars' is vital to our LGBTQ+ history.  
After the Stonewall Riots in 1969 our community crossed into a new world.
Our bars were our safe places before Stonewall that were mostly secretive.
Our bars after Stonewall began to be our safe spaces, community centers and gathering places.  Most importantly the development of our culture and an affirmation of who we were.  At times in this long history, they became secretive again, but our LGBTQ+ 'Watering Holes' were much more than a place to get a drink to celebrate and often cry.  They were the places that developed our pride."
-Al Ferguson      Host, Queer News Tonight

“They're not just spaces—they are songs
—places where we spent time and lost our hearts.
‘Raising the Bars’ is the keeper of those memories."
-Randy Dunbar       Chief Executive Editor & Publisher at SoCal Magazine

“Gay bars have been an institution, as a meeting place, a safe haven and respite from the cares of the world for the LGBTQ+ community for several hundred years.  
Large spaces, small spaces, dance clubs, lounges, sports bars, leather bars,
strip clubs, drag bars, clubs of all types, some hidden from prying eyes,
have dotted the landscape of big cities around the world.
I had the privilege of visiting many of these bars, in my role at
FunMaps® and Fun Travel Guides®.  
 ‘Raising The Bars’, a cooperative partnership between the GayBarchives project and The Stonewall National Museum, Archives & Library, is a boon to remembering these treasures and how they impacted the lives of so many of us and those
who came before we arrived on the planet.  
Kudos to the project.  I will be closely following the project's nascence and growth."
- Alan H. Beck        Publisher, Fun Travel Guides

"As someone who came out during the height of the AIDS crisis, I realized how many gay brothers we were losing and how much history they were taking with them. Preserving our history is one of the most important things we can do, and I know for one that I love looking back on gay history, reading about it and knowing that I got to stand on the shoulders of great people who fought for me.
Thanks so much for devoting your time to saving our history through
'Raising the Bars'."
- Daniel Nardicio    
Owner, RedEye NY; Ice Palace Fire Island; Founder Underwear Party Fire Island

“GayBarchives is helping to preserve and archive those most cherished
safe places that were where most of 'our' first encounters with the then
gay community at large happened.
Remembering these business establishments helps preserve our culture
and history that is quickly disappearing.
‘Raising the Bars’ is diligently working to honor those iconic places that are locked in our fond collective memories before they are lost forever.”
- Todd Evans             President & CEO, Rivendell Media

“LGBTQ+ bars have been safe spaces for our community for decades. They were
the sanctuaries we went to when our churches wouldn’t accept us.
These establishments are an important part of our LGBTQ+ history
and it’s imperative that we document the stories and memories of each
one by ‘Raising the Bars’. I commend Art Smith and the Stonewall National
Museum, Archives & Library for taking on this incredible undertaking.
We look forward to supporting their efforts through OutCoast.com.”
- Rachel Covello      Travel Influencer, OutCoast.com Publisher