Gay author and activist Armistead Maupin says his partner was barred from using an Australian restaurant’s toilets because of his sexuality.

The American couple were dining at an Alice Springs restaurant while on holiday.

When Maupin’s partner Christopher asked a waiter for directions to the bathroom, he was told the restaurant didn’t have one.

Maupin told ABC: “I knew they had one because I’d been there the day before and I said ‘what’s that over there?’, and he gave me a very pointed look and said ‘that’s reserved for real men’.

“Neither one of us could quite believe he’d said it. And he actually repeated it. He said ‘see the sign on the door. It says ‘gents’. It’s for real men’.”

The owner of Bojangles Restaurant and Bar refused to comment.

Maupin is best known for his Tales in the City books.