Many are often surprised to learn that Oklahoma City has a number of extremely popular gay bars and clubs, some part of the thriving scene around the NW 39th Street Enclave at NW 39th and Pennsylvania Avenue. The most popular is perhaps the Copa. A dance club with a state of the art sound system, multiple levels, drag shows and male dancers on weekend nights, the Copa quite frequently has a line to get in on Friday and Saturday. Angles has been an OKC favorite for over 20 years and is known as one of the best in the metro.
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Some have been closed since the UK went into its first lockdown in March ; others managed to reopen for brief periods in the autumn and early December with new social distancing guidelines and strict cleaning procedures in place. Dating apps have reduced their USP as gentrification has made their town and city centre locations more desirable — and now Covid has made them temporarily unviable. But when we talk about saving our vital queer spaces, gay saunas tend to be excluded from the conversation. Nick Batt, owner of Pink Broadway in Southampton, says a local radio station was interested in hearing about his struggle to survive the pandemic as a small business owner until he said he ran a gay sauna. In my experience, gay saunas are sexy, sex-positive spaces where not everyone ends up having sex. But at the same time, he feels grateful for the way they connected him with other members of the queer male community. Other young gay and bi men visit saunas because they offer relatively hassle-free hook-ups.
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Lebanon is one of the most liberal, progressive and gay friendly places in the Arab world. This is saying a lot for a country where homosexuality is still punishable by law. However, by comparison to its Arab neighbours, Beirut has the best albeit quite underground gay scene, including one of the largest gay clubs in the Middle East called POSH.
There are three main gay areas in Osaka, but Doyama is easily the largest and most welcoming to foreigners. Much like in Gay Tokyo, the bars here are usually hyper niched, catering toward a particular tribe — bears, salarymen, young twinks, etc. Discreet, compartmentalized, often smaller than a cruise ship cabin and obsessed with order, though thankfully not quite as uptight as Tokyo. Ladies should be aware that many gay nightlife spots in Doyama do not permit female customers, but there are a few lesbian bars that do not allow male customers, so there is something here for everyone.