I have been thinking alot about this in relation to also gayborhoods and the fact that many of them that I visit are changing and losing their gay edge (loaded statement, I know).
I enjoy going to gay spaces as it is a place where you are not even remotely unusual for being who you are. There are a lot of reason swhy gayborhoods and other gay spaces, like anything else, change. But one thing that concerns me a little (and I never thought I would be saying this) is that it seems that the momentum for gay rights has been lost. I mean it is like there is not enough noise around demanding equality. o make that noise is to simply complain not be a pioneer or a hero.
I am not so sure we have been mainstreamed as much, especially given some recent political activity in the states. Some ground has been gained but also it seems much has been lost. I would give up the entire series of Will and Grace for marriage to be legal with whomever you choose in the US, for instance. There is a lot more to say about this.
But it seems that it is now merely complaining to mention things like gay rights or even African American rights, or civil rights of any sort. It is like there is this notion that we have achieved enough equality and should just sit quietly and take what we have been given. I don't think we have achieved anything like true equality and even when we do there will be new ways of thinking and living that will require being attentive to how we are fucking people over in new ways. As human beings we seem to have a talent for making someone damned and treating them as such.
So while gay bars and clubs, like any kind, come and go, they do represent a space that is for us uniquely and should be around as such. I don't think that the fact they are the hip places to go right now makes us mainstream, it just reaffirms we are deeply cool.
We can't go into most straight bars and hold hands or kiss like straight couples can, which even further proves the point that we are not so mainstream. So I think we should have our unique spaces. We are always going to be in some way unique and even when we do achieve mainstream there is just certain things that we like in a club that straight people might not be so cool with. So there should be spaces we don't have to compromise (how hysterical to use that word like that?)
All that being said, some of my favorite clubs (not all) are gay-friendly.