A company in Australia specialising in lesbian parties has won a case allowing it to ban men from its events.
The judgement comes just days after a row involving a gay bar in Torquay, where a lesbian was turned away.
The ruling has been slammed by the Australian Men’s Rights Agency, whose director Sue Price said it contradicted Attorney-General Rob Hulls’ move to open up elite men’s venues, including the Melbourne and Athenaeum clubs, to women.
In May, Hulls attacked the private men’s clubs as “a throwback to a bygone era” saying he wanted to use anti-discrimination laws to remove their exemptions.
The directors of the events company, called ‘Pinkalicious’, hailed the decision as a landmark. Speaking to the Herald Sun, director Julie MacKenzie said that Pinkalicious was now the sole women-only party in Australia.
MacKenzie had complained to the tribunal that she couldn’t stop men attending the parties “even if I know they intend to hit on women”.
She said: “The feedback I was getting from the girls was that they wanted something exclusive for women to be able to express themselves in a safe environment.”
Fellow organiser Samantha Stevens argued that men should be banned from the events because they intimidate the women there.
“In my experience feminine lesbians are often the target of heterosexual male fantasy, and therefore subject to more intrusive attention from them,” Stevens said.
“It is a major concern that heterosexual males will attend the Pinkalicious event,” she continued, “in the hope they can achieve their desire for a sexual experience with multiple women.”
Price, however, said she was “enormously angry” about the law, and the “special treatment” Pinkalicious has been given.
The Human Rights Commission in Australia has backed the ban.
Dr Helen Szoke, chief executive of the commission, said it supports the event as it is allowing “a disadvantaged group the chance to experience supportive social occasions, feel safe in public spaces” and to develop their own “sense of belonging” .
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, which ruled on the ban, has also given some gay men’s pubs in the country permission to ban women.