Actually, they didn't cover either topic very well in the 80s. But no one else did either. I was very young, but even I remember how it was ignored.
The New York Times had a spotty record of covering the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s — and gay culture in general. Times staffers reflect on the paper’s past, and what we can learn from it today.
This particular bar has been around since the 1970s with different names.
Texas Man Uses "Gay Panic" Defense For Killing Neighbor
I've posted about the "gay panic" defense before. In short, it means that straight people can kill you and use it as a legal defense, and then claim they were acting in an irrational manner because of unsolicited "homosexual advances." I'm not joking. This is an actual defense. If you go up to a straight guy and ask him out to dinner, he can kill you and get away with it because you put him in such a state of panic he didn't know what he was doing.
Here's an example.
James Miller of Austin, Texas was found not guilty of manslaughter and murder by a jury after killing his neighbor, Daniel Spencer. After Miller used the “gay panic” defense, claiming Spencer made a pass at him, the jury found him guilty of criminally negligent homicide and sentenced him to 10 years of probation.
You can read more about it, here.