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Star Room

1955 1974
12707 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90061

Located between Watts and Gardena in an unincorporated portion of Los Angeles County, this was a “cruising bar” that attracted a more pink-collar clientele (teachers, secretaries, nurses, etc). Opened in the mid 1950s, owner Jo Heston had to marry a man in order to buy the bar because laws at that time didn’t allow women to own bars. The laws also prevented Heston from pouring liquor, so the bar had male bartenders.

At the Star Room, a lesbian bar on the outskirts of Los Angeles, women could dance but not too close. The manager would scrutinize the dance floor periodically with flashlight in hand. There had to be enough distance between a couple so that a beam from the flashlight could pass between them. In that way the owner hoped to avoid charges of disorderly conduct should there be any undercover agents among the patrons.

Attr — WehoVille; Faderman, Lillian, "Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth Century America" (1991); Gay Guide '71
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