BAGATELLE 86 UNIVERSITY PLACE, NEW YORK, NY OPEN 1950s (NOW EL CANTINERO MEXICAN RESTAURANT, PICTURED) “The breakdown into the mommies and daddies was an important part of lesbian relationships in the Bagatelle [a working-class lesbian bar in Greenwich Village, New York, during the 1950s]. If you asked the wrong woman to dance, you could get your nose broken in the alley down the street by her butch, who had followed you out of the Bag for exactly that purpose.... And you were never supposed to ask who was who, which is why there was such heavy emphasis upon correct garb. The well-dressed gay girl was supposed to give you enough cues for you to know. Black lesbians were closeted, correctly recognizing the Black community's lack of interest in our position, as well as the many more immediate threats to our survival as Black people in a racist society. It was hard enough to be Black, to be Black and female, to be Black female, and gay. To be Black, female, gay, and out of the closet in a white environment, even to the extent of dancing in the Bagatelle [a lesbian bar in Greenwich Village], was considered by many Black lesbians to be simply suicidal.” (Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, 1982)  

BAGATELLE 86 UNIVERSITY PLACE, NEW YORK, NY OPEN 1950s (NOW EL CANTINERO MEXICAN RESTAURANT, PICTURED) “The breakdown into the mommies and daddies was an important part of lesbian relationships in the Bagatelle [a working-class lesbian bar in Greenwich Village, New York, during the 1950s]. If you asked the wrong woman to dance, you could get your nose broken in the alley down the street by her butch, who had followed you out of the Bag for exactly that purpose.... And you were never supposed to ask who was who, which is why there was such heavy emphasis upon correct garb. The well-dressed gay girl was supposed to give you enough cues for you to know. Black lesbians were closeted, correctly recognizing the Black community's lack of interest in our position, as well as the many more immediate threats to our survival as Black people in a racist society. It was hard enough to be Black, to be Black and female, to be Black female, and gay. To be Black, female, gay, and out of the closet in a white environment, even to the extent of dancing in the Bagatelle [a lesbian bar in Greenwich Village], was considered by many Black lesbians to be simply suicidal.” (Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, 1982)