The “members only” tactic is one way for clubs to ensure that they can stay open. What do you suppose happens when a “gay” club starts to fill with straight people? The LGBT clientele – the ones who pay the bills year after year – moves on to a different venue.
And no, the point of a gay club is that it is a gay club. If it is a “club everyone” then it is like every other club out there. So ask yourself – why do we not attend those clubs and go to a “gay club” instead? Do you really need a primer on why we ghettoise ourselves?
If it’s just about music or whatever, go anywhere. But if it is to socialise, meet, date and often just feel safe, we go to LGBT establishments. Personally, I don’t want to waste a single moment of finite free time chatting up a straight woman. And I certainly don’t want to get letched at by straight men.
You posit a perfect world that doesn’t bloody exist and expect that WE make the accommodations.
I can imagine any number of heterosexual people not wanting to waste a single moment of finite free time chatting up homosexual men or women, and I know that a great number do not want to get letched at by the same. Does that mean that homosexual people should be kept out of ‘straight’ establishments?
It’s sad to see so many homosexual people demomstrating their continuing attachment to the ghetto. One can only wish them the sense of achievement which a change of heart will bring. It’s called growing up.
So what if a bi man chats you up, under the belief that you might be a bi woman?
I can agree with all that valsky said. The problem is that if such behaviour is against the law then it is illegal. It is difficult to pick and choose the laws to follow.
Quite right! If it wrong for a couple who run a B & B to refuse a gay couple, it is wrong for a club to bar straights. Of course, if they have proper joining fees, subs, and membership cards, and then they must refuse admittance to all non-members, gay or straight.
It would be interesting, but unlikely, to see a straight person challenge a refusal to a gay club. Unlikely, because many would not want it to be known they had tried to gain admittance, lest they be branded “closet gays”.
That’s from a legal viewpoint, I take on board the “safe, comfortable environment” arguments.
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I disagree with your article.
No, “gay clubs” aren’t for “everyone”. They are for gay people. That’s why they are specifically “gay clubs”.
“Clubs” are for everyone. Any club that does NOT advertise itself as a club for any particular group, THAT should be a club for everyone.
Straight people do NOT need to enter every gay establishment. They are the freaking majority. They already can go ANYWHERE there bloody well want to. The whole WORLD is already “straight”.
Gay people, on the other hand, are limited if they want to be in a comfortably gay environment. If you want to be in a place where kissing your boy/girl friend doesn’t cause you to look around in paranoia, then a gay club is the only place to do so.
Yes, we MUST admit that the world is still largely a dangerous place for any sort of PDA between same-sex couples.
When a gay couple can kiss safely in the middle of a street in the middle of anytown, THEN and only then will there no longer be a real need for gay clubs.
In reply to the previous two comments, I think the point the author is trying to get across is simply that we aught not discriminate when we are fighting not to be discriminated against, why bite the hand that feeds you? Second the point I would like to make is why stop straight people entering our establishments, instead embrace te fact that the majority of straight people coming to “gay” bars are the ones that have no issue with the gay scene and people on it.
Security guards should do what they are employed for, control and maintain a safe and pleasurable environment, not vet and bar clientele, it has to be clear that we are doing something wrong when gay people can’t even get into said “gay bars”, should we all have to conform to stigma and dogma and differentiate ourselves when what we are fighting for are EQUAL rights?
I am more than capable of handling myself in many situations and have no problem in dealing with lary homophobes who might find it “sport” to target a gay bar for “a laugh”.
Not all gay people can. I know some of my friends choose to go to gay bars to avoid homophobia they have experienced elsewhere.
Do you wish to deny them their perceived zone of safety? That safety veneer that is created by knowing that the venue is a gay venue.
Mark – the discrimination of which you speak doesn’t happen in Canal Street. The premise of this article is wrong.
(now I know I’m ignoring the two ‘men only’ bars, but that’s a slightly different argument)
I have been refused entry into G-A-Y with the ‘Members Only’ line whilst being completely sober and doing nothing but wanting to walk in. I was dressed as everyone else do not sure what their problem was.
Can’t help but feel slightly discriminated against. And I am a gay man. I am confused. Why can’t I get into gay clubs?
Thank you James…
Smitty – ok maybe discrimination is a strong word to use, i’ll agree there, but I, like James, have been told “members only” in bars that I have visited many times before, with the same people I always do. I also am not loud, rambunctious, nor do I get excessively drunk. So the point I make is, why use such arbitrary methods to minimise trouble, when they in fact push out people that want to go out and enjoy themselves on Canal street and the surrounding “gay village” I would like to say that I feel safe and comfortable within the village but as with any bar or night club, you can in fact never be too sure.
When one week we can get into a night club and the next not, surely straight people out to cause trouble or not also share the same experiences.
These experiences give night clubs bad reputations among gay and straight people alike and end up in people having to tactically pair up just to get into some places… Is it all worth it?
G-A-Y actually has a membership card though. They implement “members only” on their busy nights or after so many people are let in apparently.
“Don’t bite the hand that feeds you”?
How incredibly offensive it is to claim that straight people are the hand that feeds gay people when, in fact, straight people haven’t EVER had the hand that fed gay people but has all too often had the hand that has assaulted, abused and oppressed gay people.
This was meant metaphorically, meaning don’t push out those straight people that have no problem with homosexuality and embrace our fight for equality, those hands that are joined with ours.
Those straight people that give money to our charities each year through pride events and other fundraising activities, like for example the many straight accepting parents and friends like mine.
I am all too aware of “the hand that has assaulted, abused and oppressed gay culture” I have felt it on many occasion, within and outside of the safe space that is the gay village.
Sorry if this wasn’t clear!
…if you reread your first paragraph, you will see that you inadvertently argue against your own point, and I agree. Why bite the hand that feeds you and it IS the GLB community that a keeps these Gay clubs afloat. If I as a Gay man want to go to a gay club where I will not be stared at by straights “out for a laugh at the queers” then I will go to a Gay club. I guarantee you that if a club admits more than the odd stray straight then it is doomed. The regulars (GLBs) will find somewhere more accommodating and rightly so. Then quite soon the straights who came only to ogle will find no “queers” to ogle and they too will move on to destroy another good GLB club..
I have never, ever seen a straight person turned away from Cruz for being straight. I have seen many people turned away from Cruz by the rather excellent doorstaff because a member of that party was clearly too drunk.
I’ve also seen people turned away for being part of, for example, a hen party that wants to come to Canal Street to laugh at the gays. Which really hacks off the majority of people – gay and straight – who use Canal Street.
The “members only” excuse is often deployed, but I would challenge anyone to prove that this is because the individual is straight. It’s much more likely to be as a result of their demeanour, level of drunkenness or the amount of trouble they are likely to cause. The good bars in Canal Street do this regularly. And the people who are out for a good time – but not at the expense of others – whether they are gay or straight get in. The bad bars on Canal Street let all and sundry in – with disastrous consequences for the Village generally.
I’ve been turned away from Cruz on three occasions over the last 5 years, despite all three times producing my “membership” card; and said membership dating back to ’97. The excuse given… “members only”. Apparently I don’t look gay enough being 6 foot 6 and not prancing around like the cartoon-esque gay I obviously should be. When I’ve quietly challenged this and pointed out I was a member, they claim it’s VIP members only. I no longer go near the place as I won’t bother spending my money that actively prejudices within outdated stereotypes.
It’s probably one of the reasons that I go to Eagle on the few occasions I go near Canal Street – a much more welcoming atmosphere.
Eagle is a great fun night out!
No stereotyping in my experience either
I dunno Daniel, I don’t exactly look like I’m in One Direction… I think Cruz doorstaff are really good. Firm but fair. But if that’s not your experience then fair enough. I don’t think they aren’t letting you in cos you don’t look gay enough – I think it’s more likely that because you’re a big lad that they are making the assumption that you’re going to be one of the meatheads they turn away, which is very unfair on you. Agree on Eagle, and the doorstaff on there are brilliant.
I have been turned away countless times from G.A.Y. – nothing to do with our demeanour, unless a group of dashing bespectacled lesbians is a signifier for trouble nowadays, and everything to do with all being women.
I agree with Daniel and Sarah – I’ve been turned away over the years, and no I wasn’t drunk and I wasn’t with a hen party. The first time I didn’t realise what had happened as I don’t go out very much any more. The article is right – on what basis exactly were they working out whether I should be allowed in. I happened to be with 3 women the first time, one who describes her sexuality as fluid and the other two who are a couple! Maybe I wasn’t camp enough and they weren’t angry looking enough for the bouncer to get the message. Another time I was on my own – hilarious. Maybe they thought me and ‘mi mates’ had decided to infiltrate 1 by 1! The safety issue is a red herring – those who identify as LGBT can be just as rough. The scene can be really close minded and that’s a shame. I like LGBT spaces and they should be that, but please let others share a great part of our culture. My one caveat, women’s spaces. The scene is male dominated, and there needs to be balance.
Repeatedly gay bars have diversified into a more straight clientelle and then closed.
Economically there is money in the pink pound.
As utopian and idealistic as it might be to have no such thing as a gay or a striaght bar – the world is not a utopia. People are homophobic and people are genuinely seeking venues where they can feel comfortable.
Sorry, just to add, categorising this as some kind of attack on equality is, in my view, wrong and dangerous. To repeat – the responsible bars in the Village will apply a policy which stops troublemakers getting in and the excuse which they will often use is “sorry, members only”. If we’re a regular, they’ll say “mate, you need to sober up a bit”.
The bad bars on the other hand. Sheesh. I went into one the other month and could not believe how rough (and I mean violent rough, I’m not exactly Lord Snooty myself) it had got. It wasn’t good for the Village.
The ability to go to Canal Street, get off your nut and glass a poof is NOT an equality issue!
I am trying to picture what you mean by ‘violent rough’. Was there constant fighting? Was there no security there to stop it?
Sorry, Harlequin I wasn’t very clear on that. by rough, I didn’t mean just mean that it was full of scallies. There’s plenty of bars like that on Canal St where there’s not much trouble (eg Churchills) and I didn’t mean it in a snobby way as I’m not some kind of country-set gay. But the crowd was nasty rough, there was an unpleasant atmosphere, and I saw at least two incidents of violence which security were rubbish at dealing with. Outside there was scrapping and security was doing nothing. Gives our Village a bad name, and doesn’t reflect the rest of the bars. I won’t name the bar as I don’t think that’s fair, but I bet people can guess!
Sounds like the main problem there is terrible security staff :(
When I read your article, I thought ‘hmm makes sense’, then I read Valksy’s and Mikey’s comments and had to agree. Never mind the ‘comfort safety’ of being able to kiss your partner, what about REAL safety? My son is big enough, old enough and savvy enough to look after himself, but I always worry about his safety when there are so many vile lunatics on the streets looking for an opportunity to beat up a gay person. Imagine people like this infiltrating the club for the fun of it. Imagine a bunch of religious zealots sneaking in and letting themselves get worked up into a lather of violence because the behaviour in the club offends their delicate sensitivities and moral codes. I don’t think the world (or Manchester) is ready for this and if gay people have to segregate themselves for their safety, then for the time being let it be so.
Anyone who thinks this is a recent phenomenon must have lived under a rock for the past decade.
Anyone who thinks people aren’t being turned away from gay venues because of their sexuality or perceived sexuality (or race, but that’s a story for another time) has obviously never spent 5 minutes outside a gay venue. But it’s a tricky tightrope to walk for venues and security – who, for the most part, are only responding to their gay clientele’s demands.
But anyone who thinks that the only reason straight people are turned away is because of their sexuality needs to take a deep breath and pause to think. Many reasons for people being turned away, but ‘heterophobia’ is as easy to scream as ‘homophobia’…
And with regard to the response from ‘Canal St, Machester’ on the Facebook post in question, that was a response to a query from someone else regarding visiting with a large group of people, not (as is rather disingenuously implied in this article) a response to the original concern.
I don’t want to be stared at, letched at, told all I need is a good man-shag, made to feel unsafe, looked down at and told lesbians are too aggressive/pushy/predatory/manly/whatever by groups of straight hen-do women and nor do I want to end up marginalised or sidelined in what is supposed to be a space where I can hang out in safety with my mates and not have to worry about kissing my wife turning into some kind of spectator sport.
I don’t mind a handful of straights being in gay clubs if they are respectful of their position, but all too often it happens that straight privilege takes over with hardly a thought by any of them that such a thing even exists. It’s like the ‘why do you need a gay pride when we don’t have a straight pride’ debate. We need spaces where we can simply be ourselves without harassment and unfortunately there are some heterosexuals don’t respect that and we’re far from a stage where every space is a safe space for all.
I think it’s dodgy to base entry on looks alone and really “members only” is just about the only way to go.
Agree. I can’t speak for the guys, I wouldn’t be so rude to presume, but a common phrase I hear when there is a “friendly” (ie anyone) door policy for lesbian spaces is that the women there begin to feel less safe.
Heck, I’m butch as anything and hardly an oil painting but the last time I was at a “friendly” lesbian bar my then girlfriend and I had to seek help from a bouncer because a straight man would not stop aggressively sexually propositioning us.
We’ve all heard the “all you need is a good shag” line at some point. And plenty of us know women who have had to deal with more than just the ideation being expressed.
Are all straight men sexual predators? Of course not, that’s not what I think at all. But should LGBT women be forced to accommodate those who are in order to facilitate the “comfort” of others who have 99.99% of all other clubs to frequent?
I’d be interested to hear the male perspective. I suspect a heightened awareness of potential physical aggression.
I am sure you have spent times in gay bars where there have been straight people without any problems – as I have.
However, whilst I was having a quiet night out with my boyfriend a couple of weeks back I was repeatedly approached by a large hen party asking if they could convert me and then asking if I wanted a snort of poppers. No thanks!
I would love a fabulous world where equality was meaningful and gay bars were not necessary. We don’t have that yet – we may never have it – and until we do, sometimes I desire a safe space.
Very much agree, Valksy, particularly as a woman who has been, and knows other women who have been, victims of male sexual violence. No, I don’t think all straight men are sexual predators – I have evidence to the contrary – but I don’t want to be in a position where my either my sexuality or my relationship are deemed fair game for audience participation by straight men. I want my nights out to be as enjoyable, and therefore as free from that sort of nonsense, as possible.
Same goes for straight women. I was once put in a very peculiar and awkward situation by a friend’s straight daughter when, in a gay club, she began behaving towards me in a really forward and inappropriate way – in front of her boyfriend, my girlfriend, her mother and a load of mutual friends – like it she thought it some kind of ‘normal for lesbians’ bonding ritual and very porny, appearing to come straight from the idea that lesbians exist solely for the titillation of others.
While it was a deeply disgusting and despicable act that happened to you and your friends, you have to remember it is defintely a tiny minority of men and women (of whatever sexual orientation) are sexual predators, it’s not right to stereotype a group like that, and it breeds distrust, the “them and us” mentality.
The examples are interesting, as they pretty much conform to some of the most horrible and difficult stereotypes that we have to fight against. I’m not sure i’ld ever bring a parent to any nightclub thought.
I haven’t stereotyped a whole group of people – I said I know not all men are sexual predators. Same as I know not all women are. Some are though, and no, I don’t trust them. I don’t think it’s ok for a straight man in a club to ask my girlfriend for a snog so he can have a cheap thrill and then complain when he’s told to sod off. I don’t think it’s ok for a woman to come onto me while her boyfriend watches sneakily from a distance and I very much question the motives of some straight people when they come into gay spaces. Some there is no need to as the complete pricks tend to out themselves as such fairly quickly.
The parent I mentioned above is a friend – she brought her daughter with her – her daughter is in her early 20s – to a charity thing where more people = potentially more money raised. The motive there was fine, but the weirdness that ensued was not. But no, I’d never take my own parent to a nightclub.
I’ve been in a “friendly” lesbian bar in Manchester and tried to get a lad thrown out for pushing his face in my friend’s breasts and groping her – the manager said he was a friend of hers and that we had to leave. I’ve also been sexually assaulted in Queer, but the bouncers there were excellent and ejected him immediately. I want to know how these obviously predatory straight lads are welcome in venues, but LGTQ women get turned away from others.
Are all straight men sexual predators?
Actually, all men are sexual predators. Period.
That’s what we do. We shag anything, you decide which ones you want.
OK, so there is a bit of an identity crisis when it comes to LGBT people, but the underlying principle is still very much the same. We’ve only been around for 1/4m years…
Oh, when I saw the topic, I thought you were going to talk about the jailing of Gemma Barker for having sex while trans, but this was just a boring thing about hets not getting into bars or something. I do not care what hets think when they are left out. There are so many other things where we are left out anyway.
Marriage Equality for instance…..
I must say that these people saying Gay clubs are for Gay people are wrong, why would a straight person go to a Gay club if they didn’t support or like Gay people?.
I agree with the article that if there was a club that said straights only it would be all over the news and the LGBT community would be in a uproar.
We all try to say that we are all equal and that straight people should treat the LGBT community as equals yet in turn this establishment are not exactly treating straight people as equals now are they?.
If you start to push people away just because they are straight you are going to lose their support very fast and then we will all be taking a step back in the fight for equality.
It’s not like the club is going to fill out with heterosexual Homophobes now is it?. So I don’t see the problem of letting Straight people that are Pro-LGBT go into the clubs and have a nice time with people they like.
Well, isn’t your world such a wonderful place where everyone can live happily together and homophobes would never target a bar frequented by gay people – or where gay people would be driven away from a previously safe venue by others coming in and causing discomfort.
Yes, I just can’t imagine how heterosexuals have managed to survive with all of the heterophobic abuse they’ve suffered from the gay overlords. Oh the humanity!
What you need to understand is that in the heteronormative world the bars don’t need to say “straights only.” So long as the LGBT population does not have an absolute guarantee of a safe, harassment free, equal experience at all times you may infer “straights only.”
Example – imagine a straight couple in the corner getting a bit sweaty together. Now imagine a male/male couple. Can you say with absolute honesty, hand on heart, that they would be treated equally by both clientele and establishment? (if you say that you can, you’re lying).
its true in fact a friend of a friend quite loudly complained about the amount of gay people in the bar …
well in Swansea it is because the gay bars are the only ones that are open at 4am the others chuck out at 2 or 3 – so they stagger up the road to get more drink.
“Why would a straight person go to a Gay club if they didn’t support or like Gay people?.”
1) Because they tend to stay open longer
2) Because they often get packed.
3) Because a lot of fag-hag girls go there and the straight men think they can pick them up.
The only time I have ever seen fights break out is when straights get their arses pinched and complain.
^ I actually agree with spanner for once, I have seen all 3 of those happening. Plus they also think that the lesbians there are going to make out for their entertainment. Pathetic little boys.
…… What corner of Utopia do you inhabit and may the rest of us come live there….. How long has it been since you frequented a city centre Gay club?
My boyfriend can only show his affection for me in a gay bar he doesn’t feel comfortable anywhere else (in public!), and it sure as hell isn’t gay people that are making him feel uncomfortable.
If he was surrounded by straight people making out with each other around him do you think he’d be comfortable enough to show his affection? Probably not.
When the day comes that I can walk down the street hand in hand with my partner without getting stared at, then I will 100% agree about equality for all, but while we are treated differently I have no problem with treating them differently on our home territory.
How many of those “straight” clubs that you’ve been admitted to have you kissed your boyfriend in? How many of these straight clubs have you intimately danced with your boyfriend? I would guess NONE! I once owned a gay club that didn’t turn away anyone. However I noticed that when ONE known straight person came into the club all of the sudden the gay patrons would stiffen up and stop showing affection to each other. The whole atmosphere of the club changed. It was as if in one second all of the abuse and oppression that these patrons had faced throughout their lives came rushing back in one split second sending everyone scurrying back into closets. I can’t explain why this phenomenon happened but I can swear on my grandmother’s grave that it did and it was painfully noticeable. I don’t know what the answer to this problem is but I think it’s a much more complicated issue than “gays are now the oppressors” accusations. I get really sick of hearing that meme! It’s ignorant.
AGH very sorry, I accidentally rated down your comment.. stupid mouse slipped.
rate up rate up rate up rate up.
thought your comment was brilliant.
Straight clubs do discriminate all the time, according to your looks, age, the way you’re dressed etc. Women often get free drinks, so discriminating against men.
These young women were turned away because of the way they were dressed, on their own admission, as they had been to a family party.
These days, myself, I prefer mixed venues, but there was a time when I was single I preferred the “safe haven” and unambiguity of gay venues for meeting guys, and I think there will always be a need for this, also not forgetting that there are many people in the closet who don’t want to risk running into someone straight that they know.
In my experience, straight couples enter gay bars with a heavy sense of entitlement. There is nothing ‘casual’ about members of a sexual majority behaving overbearingly in the company of the minority.
Heterosexual ‘privilege’ allows them to express themselves wherever – and however – they like, whereas homosexuality comes with cultural restrictions the ‘majority’ have traditionally imposed.
In other words, gay patrons have every right to feel resentment towards the very people who have, by and large, disapproved of our sexual relationships since time immemorial.
Stigmatising gays by telling us we’re against the natural law, then invading our space to assert their ‘normality’ – seemingly on a whim – often feels like being p*ssed on from a great height. Affinity can be learned but respect should come freely.
The reason many gay pubs end up with straight people in them is because they have longer opening hours. When the straight pubs close, the straight punters come to the gay ones. So you can have the double whammy of intolerant straight people coming in pre-soused. In this case, the solution is simple. Forbid them entry on the basis they are intoxicated. Down to the landlords, though. What do they put first – safety and comfort of their gay customers, or additional revenue in what are hard times for the licensed industry.
We need to remember that we shouldn’t group straight people into one class. We wouldn’t like gay people put into a group.
Not all straight people are evil homophobes after your soul. Lets not be stereotypical. Thats very ignorant of us.
Fair article, equality means equal. You can’t be equal if you segregate yourselves.
And I should add… what I think the article is getting at is that actual gay people are being refused entry. Gay people can’t get into gay clubs. Because they look too straight?!
Totally agree with that comment – my boyfriend was once refused entry into a club when he was ahead of me in the queue, with the usual “members only” line. When my friend and I got in, I turned to the doorman and politely asked “Can my boyfriend come in too please?”.
Intoxication wasn’t an issue as I was probably drunker than he was!
Totally agree with the comment, ‘ equality means equal. You can’t be equal if you segregate yourselves’.
But homosexuals do not mix, because they cannot control how they behave, they want to touch each other up all the time, I have seen this when I have been out in the bars.
Oh, what brings you to a gay bar – or a gay news website for that matter?
Like heterosexual men want to touch women up all the time?
I can remember many years ago as a student arguing with a woman over the existence of the “women’s” group that barred men. My argument being that a men’s group that barred women would not be allowed by the council. Her response was that people who belong to an oppressed minority need a “safe” space where they can relax and be free from intimidation – either real or perceived.
And I hope you have come to see that she was right – those women only groups can house women which have have suffered domestic or sexual abuse.
I should have added that my view is that (in some ways unfortunately) such safe zones are necessary for women, and likewise for other groups who have suffered targetted violence, harrassment etc.
I assume you’re posting that because you see she is right. A men’s only group isn’t equivalent to a women’s only group. The world is a men’s space.
I think Frank replied to that above.
There are situations where mens groups can be advantageous. For example domestic violence against men (a growing problem)
A men-only group and a female-only group are discriminating in exactly the same way.
A gay bar is only a gay bar if the people in it are gay. As soon as straight people start going there it stops being a gay bar.
And usually ends up violent.
I never had any trouble in gay bars until they started letting straight people in.
It was always the straight men who started any altercations.
I even got accused and beaten up for eyeing up some chaps “bird”.
I think not.
If there was a way to only let in straight men in a male gay bar and straight women in a lesbian bar who sign a statement that they will not be offended if someone make a “come-on” to them by someone of the same sex. If they aren’t alright with that and not capable of saying politely, thanks but I’m straight, then they shouldn’t be in a gay or lesbian bar. Maybe you have to be “sponsored” (i.e. spoken for) by a gay or lesbian friend if you are straight and want to go to a gay bar with your gay friends (or lesbian bar with your lesbian friends). Otherwise entitled straight people who feel they have the right to proposition opposite sexed persons and get offended if same sexed persons proposition them, should not be allowed to enter.
absolutley correct, concise and to the point !
Canal St. long ago became “spot the homo” on weekend nights.
bar owners spent too much money chasing the pink pound, and suddenly there wern’t enough gays around to repay the Banks. and very quickly, the question on the door changed from ” are you gay ” to “have you got a pound in your pocket” now for some time it has been Hen Party heaven and , for many, many, gays, NOT the place to go. thus perpetuating the need to replace the lost custom with anyone who can afford a drink.
so on the above basis, there are, actually, no gay bars on Canal St,Manchester. and there is no gay village any more.
Is it appropriate that clubs bar some groups of straights? I’d say yes, it is – the reason for this is that the people inside want to know that they can be whoever they want to be. Some years ago, I remember going to Heaven, before it had changed hands, and noting on many occasions that one end of the main dancefloor was predominantly straight men. Straight women had started going, in order to be able to enjoy themselves without fear of being harassed or people coming on to them; and straight men followed. This created an unusual – and not particularly pleasant – atmosphere. The men didn’t appreciate being eyed up, and made their sexuality quite clear with their body language and dress sense. I even remember a friend coming up to me and saying to me:
I know this is going to sound weird coming from a straight guy, but don’t you think it’s really straight in here tonight?
Many gay venues are now finding themselves a destination for hen parties – last time I was in Manchester’s
Canal Street, I saw several groups bar hopping, while groups of straight men followed in their wake. This diluted the fun and playful atmosphere of the “gay village” and made me want to leave. I didn’t appreciate their groups of loud, drunk, straight woman with angel wings and head bands.
Is this as bad as homophobia? Again, I’d argue that no, it’s not. If you take the definition of homophobia as irrational fear of homosexual people, then of course the two aren’t the same. It’s simply trying to keep a space safe, comfortable, and pleasant for everyone inside.
Other clubs ban groups of same gender people (including groups of men), on the basis that stag parties cause trouble; or they offer discounts to women on ‘ladies’ night’.
When British society reaches the point where clubs no longer have to describe themselves as gay or gay friendly – because everywhere is – then they will no longer have the right to bar straight groups. Until that point, I think they should continue with the
policy to protect safe spaces as they wish – to protect the (real or perceived) safety of LGBT people.
When gay people feel as comfortable and welcomed showing affection is straight bars and straight people clearly feel showing affection in gay clubs THEN you might have an argument that the entry standards should be the same.
I’m from the state of Mississippi, arguably the most racist state in America. I can remember segregation and Jim Crow. Blacks weren’t allowed to go to “White” clubs so they started their own with their own culture, music and dance. At some point some white people decided that black clubs and culture was exotic and made for a fun night out. Some of these people were more supportive of racial equality (or their relative version of what that meant) and thought that that bought them the right to crash the “black” clubs. Even after clubs became more mixed, black people often preferred the comfort and culture of their clubs and took RIGHTLY took offense to white people crashing their sacred space (a space CREATED because of their exclusion from the white spaces).
I can still hear the HOWLS from some white people about how this was reverse discrimination and how victimized they were. It SICKENED me.
This current “crisis” seems like Deja vu all over again!
Sorry for the typos. I typed on the fly. I should have reread and edited before posting. I don’t want to live up to the “ignorant and uneducated” stereotype of Mississippians.
No problem Hayden, everyone makes typos and spelling mistakes – gay, straight, whatever! ;-)
What an atrocious and badly constructed article.
This whole subject bores the life out of me. If you don’t like the fact bars decide who is allowed in, then don’t go to them. Make a protest with your feet and not by writing some convoluted and tedious article that will make no difference.
Putting aside the fact that the article is badly written, obviously by someone fresh out of education and with zero life experience, the subject matter is one that dullards will continue to bring up every time one of their own is refused entry to a bar or club. Fact of the matter is that the person mentioned that was originally refused was probably refused because they were drunk.
Finally someone else who thinks the standard of journalism on Pink News is abysmal to say the least. They certainly don’t proof read before publishing even if it is lifted verbatim from Towelroad or some such typos and all… One particular writer, Stephen Gray, insists on writing about Gay marriage whatever that is. I suspect he is secretly anti Marriage Equality because the term Gay marriage was only constructed by the anti-equality, ultra conservative, religious right to “scare the horses” so to speak and should never be used by anyone, much less the writers on a gay website. There isn’t a term “straight or hetero marriage” so why the Gay moniker?
I am straight man, howether my social situation is somewhat unusual. My primary social group is composed of gay men and lesbians. My best friend is a lesbian. It has been joked about flippantly that I am the ‘token’ straight’ in the way that you would usually usually have the ‘token X minority’ in a freindship group. As a consequence of this, when I go out it is usually to gay bars, not because I treat gay people like zoo attractions, purely as a matter of my social circumstances.
Valksy and Mikey’s concerns are legitimate and valid, and I am not trying to some sort of “omg my difficulties as a straight man are totally equal to yours” because obviously they aren’t, but I would ask that they think about what thier views entail for people who don’t fit their boxes.
Furthermore, I think the point how ‘straightness’ is judged is of huge importantance. How are you going to judge if somebody has suffecient has sufecient ‘gayness’ to enter? My aforementioned lesbian best freind once had a
You raise an interesting point.
There will always be (and have always been) straight friends of gay people who choose (frequently or occasionally) to socialise in gay venues. The vast majority of these occasions are great occasions of fun which do not cause any difficulties either for other gay customers of the bar, or the straight friends.
I don’t see anything in this article that suggests that this would be prevented in most gay bars. A sensible and measured approach ensures that the venue remains a comfortable and safe environment for all of its clientelle including those it primarily targets.
Ralph, your situation if very different than the vast majority of straight people who crash gay clubs.
I don’t think any gay person begrudges a straight person occasionally going to a gay club WITH a gay friend.
But there is still that expectation that we must be the ones who accommodate when we are not the ones who create problems in non-LGBT spaces.
We have enough on our shoulders already without assuming that burden too. Do you have any idea how exhausting it is to constantly have to be called on to “educate”? How it feels to walk into any establishment other than an LGBT place and be automatically more alert than everyone else?
There is such an assumption that all spaces are created equally and we are the ones creating a problem by ghettoising ourselves, and it is just not true.
very upsetting experience in which she was refused entry to a club for “looking straight”. She is not particularly dykey looking. Neither is she a barbie doll. She just wears stuff that she, yunno, happens to like. Howether she did happen to be wearing a dress on that particular occasion. Surely she should not have to pass some sort of ‘gay test’ to enjoy a night out in her community?
Just as a point of clarification it was a gay bar my lesbian freind was refused entry to for “looking straight”
…i have been trying hard to work out how you typoed “However” into “Howether” on two occasions in your comment. I’m not being nasty or owt, as you clearly can spell …. .. just fascinated…. ;-)
Definitely had a friend who was turned away from three places in one night because of looking too gay. Clapham, London.
I have no objections to straight people going to gay clubs as long as they behave and by that I mean, not making fun of or harassing us, drunk or violent behaviour as well as not trying to take over the place. As in any straight or gay establishment, the moment when someone misbehaves, gay or straight, he or she can be asked to leave and if any resistance shown, then the police should be called to remove them.
Would we not be turned away from the local Anglican church if we filled the place up instead of its usual parishioners? They would soon ask all us queers to leave and probably call the police to have us removed. Same thing would happen in many so called local pubs f an LGBT groups suddenly started meeting in them displacing the regulars.
And both are wrong and discriminatory. Why if they do it does it give us the right to do exactly the same thing to them? Equality laws cover and protect everyone NOT just minorities.
you assumed wrong, go read the Equality Act and there is an opt out for gay bars, women’s shelters etc … so they can keep their identity the same ones which religious groups are given.
I’m puzzled where you are seeing that in the Equality Act. Associations are allowed to harass members and guests on the grounds of sexual orientation (and religion), and providers of some goods and services (which would include bars) are allowed to harass customers too, on the same grounds, but refusal to provide the membership or service is illegal.
In a previous consultation, Stonewall responded: [It] “will make it illegal to refuse entry to someone to a bar or pub simply because of their sexual orientation. However … anyone running a licensed business, will still have the legal right to reject anyone who they believe may cause trouble or is causing disruption. In reality, lesbian and gay people go to gay venues with straight friends all the time and we understand that this change in the law will not force businesses to change the way in which they currently operate.”
The truth is that the LGBT community needs a space of its own as much as ever, and steps to ‘integrate’ queer and mainstream society are a step backwards for gay rights.
Despite the considerable advances in both legislation and public acceptance, many gay people still do not feel comfortable expressing their sexuality in a mixed venue. An attempt to prohibit the only places where they can be assured of a warm welcome will have a deletorious effect on the LGBT community, particularly those who are closeted.
The people who oppose gay-only venues don’t understand the need for a safe space, and for that I envy them. They don’t take a risk every time they kiss their partner in public, or book a room in a bed and breakfast.
They’ve never wondered if this is the day their luck will run out and some bigot having a bad day will decide to make them their next target. I don’t want to be forced into separate rooms or try to get my groove on in twin beds for the crime of holidaying whilst gay
It isn’t about some petty act of revenge against a mainstream that ignored or criminalised us.
It’s also unenforceable. Gay clubs frequently turn away clientele they think are straight, but who makes those decisions? Community spaces need to be there for the whole community, from femme dykes to ‘straight-acting’ men.
Of course the end goal should be to eliminate discrimination entirely, but sometimes you want to stop fighting and dance.
Don’t you see the same excuses, from their side, apply to those xtians running guest houses or fostering children? They feel entitled to places where “the wicked gays” don’t have to be dealt with, or thought about.
Then it applies to to everyone else who fears or hates.
If you wanted private dancing spaces for gays only then you should have demanded it years ago, when Stonewall was conceding that applying equality laws to all public and commercial places was fine. Its far too late now. Try it now and all your own protection collapses.
Its disgusting, I’ve been asked on a number of occasions if I’m gay when trying to enter gay bars and clubs & on one occasion had to snog my boyfriend to prove it. Discrimination is wrong gay or straight
How, one wonders, would someone without a boyfriend cope in a similar situation…
flirt with the doorman a bit? I always flirt with the one at mine (even tho hes straight) hes a great laugh,
You rightly mention that policing the “members only” (i.e. gays only) policy is impossible without appealing to inaccurate stereotypes, and it reminds me of an unpleasant incident during my coming-out period nearly 30 years ago. Lonely and isolated as I was, I finally plucked up the courage one evening to make my way to Birmingham’s Nightingale club as a means to making gay friends and escape the isolation. Literally shaking all over I forced myself to walk into the club where I yearned to be welcomed and accepted for who I was … to be confronted by a bouncer to whom I had to insist that I was gay in a interrogation that lasted several minutes and which was frankly terrifying to me at the time. It’s depressing now to hear that this unnecessary door policy is still occuring in Manchester anno 2012.
Whilst I disagree with barring people on the grounds of their sexual orientation (or any other personal characteristic), I have no such problem barring people based on their behaviour or on potential for being disruptive. Whilst this latter evaluation is going to be subjective on the part of the bouncer, I would personally defer to their experience of dealing with the public. I don’t know the background to the incident described here, but if she was part of one of these awful hen parties who feel it’s acceptable to make condescending comments about how “they feel safe” but then quite happily manhandle any male within reach and make homophobic comments, I think barring them was the right call for anyone who went to the club that night to enjoy themselves in a safe, gay friendly environment.
The licensing laws allow premises to refuse entry of service to those likely to cause trouble, so what you advocate is fine. Using sexual orientation, or any other protected ground (age, race, sex, gender reassignment, disability, or religion) to refuse access or service is illegal. Although the person would have to take it to court them-self, as it s a civil matter, not criminal.
I don’t think it would be legal to use someone objecting to exclusion as evidence of their being likely to cause trouble. There is legal protection for those who reasonably complain of discrimination.
Then you might as well do away with the bouncer because you are telling them that they cannot do their job in screening people on whether they are likely to cause trouble or not.
Where on earth do you see me saying that? Its the opposite of what I said.
They can exclude those they think likely to cause trouble. But not just because of their sexual orientation, age, sex, race, gender reassignment, disability or religion.
They can also hxxxxs or victimise customers on grounds of their sexual orientation or religion, but not because of age, sex, race, gender reassignment, or disability. God only knows why that is an exclusion from the protection – I’ve never been able to get an answer – but it is.
how do you prove that it is because of those reasons though? Its all to easy to claim that is the case but as a bouncer on here has commented its often for other reasons to.
also of course bars are allowed to discriminate based on age thats why they ask for ID before you enter!
Don’t be an idiot james. They are not “allowed to dicriminate based on age” – they are prohibited by law from admiting anyone below the legal age to drink. There is a difference in circumstances!
As a LGB student eight or so years ago I was regularly refused entry into Essential and other bars because it was “members only tonight” — on one memorable occasion after being handed a flyer about two minutes earlier! Nothing to do with being drunk, I obviously just didn’t look gay enough, and on future visits it was solved with some hand holding or a casual arm around the soldier of the nearest male friend possible as soon as the doorman comes in sight.
I agree it it doesn’t seem fair to judge people on how gay they appear, however this has been happening for years now and as previous comments state people do come to Canal Street, not to promote judgement-free inclusive fun for everyone, but for £1.50 drinks, loud music and liberal use of poppers…
Some of the comments here are utterly ridiculous and completely exemplary of the attitude of a lot of the gay community: “People can discriminate against us and we’ll use equality laws against them but we’re allowed to discriminate against them.” If there are ‘gay’ clubs which are turning people away because they are straight, this is discrimination based on sexuality. There is no arguing around that. If it were the other way around the gay community would be in uproar.
Yes, safety is an issue but if people (regardless of sexuality) are causing a problem in the club then they should be removed or refused entry. What about the straight people who are with friends just coming for a nice evening out? Frankly, if any club denies someone entry on the basis of their sexuality they should be prosecuted with anti-discrimination laws.
Its also about perceived safety
Those who are a member of a repressed minority have the right to a safe space
Only the Equality Act has an exception clause for venues they are allowed to refuse admittance on grounds of protected characteristics if it is to preserve their identity on the basis of those with protected characteristics often suffer from abuse and require safe spaces.
Quite often it is gay people showing the slightest sign of affection which are “causing a problem” and are ejected – happened to me with a group of my friends after someone complained there was too many gays in the “straight” bar and that they should “piss off to a gay club if they want to do that” – I never seen the same happen to a straight couple in a gay bar.
Well I’m very familiar with that Act and i cannot find anything like that. Do you have a paragraph reference for it?
Associations (which clubs might qualify as) are allowed to hxxxxs members and guests on the grounds of sexual orientation (and religion), and providers of some goods and services (which would include bars) are allowed to hxxxxs customers too, on the same grounds, but refusal to provide the membership or service is explicitly illegal. There are exceptions for religious organisations, but tightly restricted to them.
Check the official guidance ~ clubs and associations for those with protected characteristics are allowed to restrict membership to those with said characteristics~ Page 18 of the official guidance:
“A club for gay men does not have to accept straight men or straight women or lesbians as associate members or guests.”
of course it is still upto the claimant to prove the reason they were turned away was because they were straight.
“In equality law, an ‘association’ is any group of 25 or more members which has rules to control how someone becomes a member, involving a genuine selection process.” — none of these bar clubs fit that description, so it doesn’t apply.
Well it’s always 100% acceptable for a gay club to turn away a hen party or a stag party.
Gay people are not able to get married, therefore having a group of straight people arriving to celebrate their upcoming wedding is offensive and disrespectful to the gay community who are denied that right.
a stag party in the town gay bar? don’t make me laugh they are all at the strip joints enjoying his last night of freedom, lol.
I Finished off my stag party in the polo lounge in Glasgow… Then again, I was about to enter into a civil partnership. Gay folks can have stag and hen nights too. We intend to upgrade to a full marriage as soon as we can tho’ but it doesn’t stop us having the stag party any time we want.
I normally like the articles in pink news but this one has irritated me. Do some research before printing this kind of rubbish.
Women only gyms
Women only swim sessions.
Men only swim sessions.
Women only car insurance Sheila’s wheels
There are places straight people can go to that exclude the other sex.
Regarding clubs, any straight man knows that clubs will turn men and only men away at the door if there are to many men inside and will not charge women to get into clubs, hardly fair but that never makes the papers.
Why do people have a problem with us having somewhere for us. Double standard.
How would you react if a gay guy was turned away from a ‘straight’ club on the basis that he looked gay? If you’d be annoyed (as most people would be) then you too suffer from double standards.
If the pub said “Straight Night” I would probably treat it for what it was an avoid it. Personally, I would only let straights in as gusts of gay/lesbian people, because the str8s take far too much advantage of us.
Where I live there are at least 30 pubs in my small town, and there are 3 gay pubs in the entire county. You tell me if that is fair?
I know what you are saying Ollie however.
There is discrimination all around us, we are turned away from many things because of who we are, for example b&b’s where owner doesn’t want our sort.
When the world is fair with us then you would be right, but it isn’t and as such we need sanctuaries that we can go to, otherwise it would be open season on us with no safety.
Please try to realise what kind of a world we live in and understand that we need safe havens for now.
Well, for example I know of Saunas that have gay nights and straight nights.
I know of night clubs that have gay nights and straight nights.
I know of gyms that have ladies only nights.
These are advertised in advance.
Its quite clear (usually from advertising, rainbow flag or other information) that a bar is a gay venue.
If I was aware a venue was having a ladies only night, a straight speed dating night or whatever I would avoid it
Has happened, and been kicked out after loud noisy complaints about there being gays in a “straight” club despite it being an 80s themed bar – whats more gayer then that?
we was told to “Piss off to a gay bar” for something a lot more innocent then straight people were doing.
You want a step-by-step on those examples? You’ll find Sheila’s Wheels are just advertising to women; if a man asked for insurance they would have to provide it. Different premiums or conditions for men and women have been made illegal by the EU court and that is in the process of being implemented. Gyms cannot be women-only, but sessions for men or women only can are allowed when a special need can be proven. That’s a sex-only exception. What do you mean by Gentlemen’s Clubs? If they are licensed premises then they can exclude those likely to cause trouble, if they were simply sex clubs then you will find women would be allowed, if they asked. Otherwise the Associations rules apply and denying membership on any protected ground is now illegal, as I read it. The sex discrimination at doors can only be legal if they are private events, i.e. not run by the premises where they occur. They are probably mostly illegal, but the ability to exclude those likely to cause trouble applies.
Sorry to disagree with you however there are single sex things out there, just do a google search.
Race for life – women only
http://www.tbfwomenonlygym.co.uk/ – women only gym
http://www.thestudiobath.co.uk/ – women only gym
http://www.mynottingham.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=15661 – men only swim session
Yes Sheila’s wheels does sell to men but they promote to women and offer services designed for women, just like a gay bar will allow straight people in they promote and offer services to gay people.
All bars turn people away for various different reasons. Trouble as you pointed out is one of the reasons.
I’m glad you didn’t argue that straight clubs also exclude people based on capacity, that’s all gay clubs are doing.
It’s no different. While they exist we should be able to have exclusive clubs just the same. But we don’t we only limit the number of straight people. They aleady get a better deal than us.
Both the gyms are pretending to be clubs, but they appear to have no proper membership procedure, just fee payment, so they wouldn’t stand challenge unless an application form showed things were really more complicated. The men’s swimming must be based on special need or associated with a sport.
No one believes most of the examples of people being turned away by these bar clubs are due to capacity issues. I believe the doorman who posted, but we all know others handle things very differently, using their powers under the Licensing law as cover.
Utterly daft PC article ! Must be a slow news day in the USA, which is from where most PN stories seem to emanate.
There’s absolutely no point in having a gay club if it’s not gay. You need to know that everyone there is gay, full stop. There’s no point in chatting up someone who’s straight even if they’re gay friendly.
Also not to be underestimated is the confidence it gives to closeted out of towners. It’s all to easy to be the only gay in the village and not to know any gay people at all. The buzz of being in a 100% gay environment just wouldn’t be there if it’s mixed.
So with that logic I take it there should be Bi bars, Trans bars, asexual bars, queer bars, specific gay kink bars, specific bi kink bars, specific Trans kink bars, specific queer kink bars, specific lesbian kink bars, alternative bi bars, alternative trans bars, alternative asexual bars, alternative queer bars, alternative lesbian bars, drag queen bars, drag king bars, bi pubs, trans pubs, asexual pubs, queer pubs, ect. In case you didn’t notice Gerry but there is and has never been any such thing as 100% gay. And just as much as I would hope a straight person being homophobic would be ejected from a club a gay person being biphobic or transphobic would be ejected from a club. If you start trying to put these sort of limits to LGBT+ spaces then you will see more and more of us leave because we feel there is no place for us in these 100% gay areas. But of course you can just label it as “daft PC” and forget the rest of us as much as you like,we are unfortunately used to it.
This whole debate is caused by the fact that nightclubs serve several purposes, not all of which are easily reconciled.
Some people go to nightclubs just to listen to the music, dance and have fun with their friends. For these people it doesn’t matter how “gay” or “straight” the clientele is, it’s about the aesthetic, the atmosphere, the event.
Some people go to nightclubs to experience an environment where they are in the majority for once – either because it makes them feel safer or because they enjoy the novelty or because they just want to feel normal and understood and respond well to that. In this case, yes, the balance matters very much.
Some people go to nightclubs in order to look for a partner, or casual sex, or something inbetween. For these people the balance also matters – primarily because the regular world outside is naturally skewed against us, with 5% at most of the men (and fewer for women) of an appropriate orientation for this kind of thing….
… Straight people have the luxury of being able to look for a partner in most social situations simply because of the numbers, gay people do not, and crowding together to stack the deck like this gives us a much better chance, on the basis of sheer mathematics.
And, of course, some people go to clubs for a mixture of the above reasons. That’s the problem really – the different functions and expectations that sit so uneasily beside one another.
Even in an ideal world, where there was no homophobia, there would still be a demand from gay people for mostly or entirely gay places for the second two reasons – the pleasure of being among one’s own and feeling as though one belongs, if that makes you happy, and the search for partners in an environment where the maths works in your favour.
The question is, are these things – safety, fellowship, a good place to look for a mate – sufficiently important and valuable things in society that ensuring their provision trumps absolute equality?
Yes I would say so because its a given that the straight population can get these anywhere LGBT people tend to need to proactively look rather then it fall into their laps if they don’t have their own venues then they are left to using social media such as grindr which isn’t really safe. I wouldn’t have met my gay friends without an lgbt society at uni and local gay bars.
I’ve sadly encountered this on a number of occasions over the years in Manchester. I don’t “act” straight or gay. I don’t fling myself around like some cartoon-esque gay that some archaic stereotype says I should. Everyone is individual, and characterising someone by their behaviour is outdated (the old and stupid… if you have an irish accent you’re a terrorist adage). What they clearly see if a 6 foot 6 bloke that’s fairly broad, behaving and keeping relatively quiet, and they assume… “not gay”.
On the occasions when I’ve challenged the “members” only policy and produced a membership card, they’ve upgraded the prejudice to “VIP members” only. When one of the door-whores at Essential demanded I snog one of them to prove I was gay, my answer was “I have better taste”.
The answer has been simple: I no longer offer my patronage to those establishments.
Sometimes elements of the LGBT community can be its own worst enemy in being prejudiced and damaging the fight for equality.
ValksyDewd you hit the nail on the head. The disrespect the author created seems to be- cause he didn’t think it though. As for pushing away the straight community. Hehehhehhehehhehheh yew be funny mon. It is called survival.
Let’s be clear – it is illegal to discriminate, to refuse serve, to someone based on their sexuality.
BUT I live in the real world and realise the value of safe space.
I don’t know the answer, and I wish I did.
go read the equality act and there is an exception provision for clubs to discriminate on protected characteristics in order to “preserve their identity”
I hate to say this, but if this is the case, why can bars get away with it when Christian B&B’s cannot.
This stinks of double standards.
they do not identify as being a christian hotel they identify themselves as christians that run a hotel – because if they did there would be mandated worship etc… – B&Bs do not have special provision because they do not provide safe spaces for persecuted people.
It really is dangerous to state “laws” that exist only in your mind.
“provide safe spaces for persecuted people.”
It’s a fcking bar for chrisakes!
You make it sound like some kind of asylum bolt-hole.
All I am saying is we have one rule for everyone – either be open, or be restrictive – you can’t cherry pick.
Point to the paragraph. The text is easy to find. Otherwise stop misleading.
If Gay clubs feel they have the right to turn away straight punters – then they should not be surprised when ” straight” pubs/clubs start to pop up and refuse THEM entry .
Discrimination IS discrimination , no matter what way you look at it .
My son is gay and often goes to canal Street for a night out – are you now telling me that he cant take his mum and brother there for a night out or celebration ?
What small minded idiot thought this one up ??
they already do, and they kick people out of “straight” bars for any “gay behaviour” this is all about making sure gay people are feeling safe. They obviously won’t have a problem with a customer taking their mum and brother with them – its the large groups of straight men who want to cause trouble or the large hen night parties.
Or the single homosexual people who are refused entry for apparently not seeming ‘gay’ enough, as many commentators here have pointed out.
Your gay son can vouch for you because you are not the kind of straight people that the bouncers are trying to keep out. If your son cannot get you in because you are not gay then I’d tend to agree with you especially if he was speaking for you. We are mainly talking about both men and women with an aggressive attitude that is entitled and looking for a fight. Agressive straight men or women each presuming the right to aggressivly sexually approach their opposites. That is truly entitled, aggressive, and invasive of our spaces. Have you tried to go to your son’s gay bar with his support? Just asking, since you seem to be assuming that you would be excluded even if you were with your gay son, when I’m guessing you wouldn’t.
Straight people can already go virtually everywhere else they like in a comfortable, accepting space of presumed acceptance that’s basically their own. All gay clubs do is create that kind of space for us, so if in order to preserve that we need to isolate these places from outside influences then so be it, because if we lose these places to heteronormalcy, then we’ve got nowhere else to go.
So turn away hen parties, people who are drunk or potentially violent, even heterosexual couples, my only concern is bouncers judging whether individuals are gay or straight in order to determine whether to turn them away or not. How exactly can anyone tell, apart from by relying on outdated and sometimes offensive stereotypes? Or are they supposed to somehow prove it? Sounds a little bit like the situation with conscripts to the Turkish army. But letting everyone in may cause the problems already described. An imperfect solution is better than a greater problem though, unless there’s another way.
One would have to question why a “straight” person would want to enter a gay bar in the first place. Certainly there is some self interest involved (even if it is curiosity). Therefore, non-gays must be allowed in. (In the US, any public place cannot discriminate in this manner).
no offence but our law on discrimination is a bit more advanced then the USA. e.g in the UK you cannot be sacked for being gay in ANY constituent country.
As someone who has had friends (LGBT friends, as it happens) refused entry to Canal Street clubs and bars for not looking gay enough I think it’s ridiculous. I think it’s good to have an atmosphere we feel safe in, but for heaven’s sake, if I don’t look like a stereotype but I want to go and meet a girlfriend there, why shouldn’t I be able to??
Discrimination within the LGBT community is more common than you would hope. I’m a transwoman (for want of a better decription) and found the staff at Key West in Torquay to be less than welcoming of people like me. I love Torquay, and it does have a great LGBT scene, but I’ve been called “Sir” in a supposedly trans-friendly restaurant (believe me, I didn’t look anything like a sir!), and I’m always a bit concerned by the warning in the ladies loos at Candyfloss.
I don’t see why Gender Neutral toilets aren’t common on the scene. I have several friends who don’t identify with a gender who feel a little put off at most clubs. Plus trans friends who have been asked to leave for going in the “wrong toilet”, no word of a lie in the biggest gay club in Birmingham. It seems many clubs seem to chop the end of LGBT and ignore the L half the time anyway.
Many seem to want to ignore the B as well.
How does the “trans-friendly restaurant” (which sounds more like a false claim than reality, but then who knows how they define “trans”) tell you were ever male? Did you tell them?
If you self describe as a “transwoman” or transgender then you are forever defining yourself as having been born male. That is the whole point of those terms. If people reflecting that hurts, don’t do it.
Many of us have long fought to just be women, because that is what we need. That’s how the dysphoria panned out.
i stopped going out years ago. As I do not believe in sharing my GAY SOCIAL LIFE WITH STRAIGHTS.
I have plenty of straight friends and we go elsewhere when we want to go out.
The gay venues should be for gay people. They are a safe environment to be able to relax and be gay.
Nothing worse than being hit on by a straight in a gay bar and it is a common practice now. No boundaries. Gay men cannot be themselves any more since we have become inclusive.
My first rule is to treat other people the way that I wish to be treated and I strongly resent people who can dish it out but cannot take it. As I do not wish to be barred from most pubs and clubs because I am gay feel that gay establishments should not bar straight people. During my years I have been in different types of pubs catering for different tastes. I have even been in biker pubs when dressed in a suit. People who visit pubs that are used by a particular interest group of people should use their common sense. For example I will not wear a Preston North End FC shirt in ANY pub in Blackpool! If I visit a pub used by Irish people I treat the recent Troubles in Northern Ireland as taboo. If straight guys go into a gay bar, they should expect someone to make a pass of them. I do not wish to alienate those who support us but I do not expect people to go somewhere where they will be offended.
Of course gay people don’t want to discriminate against people who are straight. We never would. But the issue on Canal street is a specific one. Hen parties (straight women) have gotten out of control – invading the place on a regular basis. Straight men follow the girls there and into the clubs. It’s not that big a step then when they are drunk to start abusing and punching the “queers” they see around them. Venues are using their discretion. It’s rather silly to turn this into a story about a step back for equality.
Canal Street bars can very easily ban hen parties using the reasoning that as same-sex couples are denied the right to get married, then hen parties arriving at a gay club are unwelcome as they are offensive and disrespectful to the gay community.
Are you really saying that, when we get marriage equality, you’d let them in?
And how do you know they aren’t a hen party for a CP?
So you’d ban women from somewhere they think might be safe for their night out together because the men they are trying to escape would try to follow?
I really hope you don’t work in security, police, army, or government.
So you’d exclude women from somewhere they think might be safe for their night out together because the men they are trying to escape would try to follow?
So you’d ban women from somewhere they think might be safe because the men they are trying to escape would try to follow?
Stupid, broken posting system. Ben, what are you playing at with this place? Publish the rules, please!
This is a pretty tough conundrum, and to be honest, I’m not sure I know the answer.
I recognise that certainly 20 years ago, that gay bars and clubs served as far more than just your average watering hole, and that it was a social service, refuge, pick-up point, and focus for many LGBT people.
Since that time, the sexual side of it seems to have disappeared with the growth of Internet dating and the likes, combined with a more open acceptance of gay people to a certain degree, so I do wonder whether gay bars really serve a purpose any longer, or at least certainly as venues with exclusively homosexual clientèle.
Along with this, the Christian B&B debacle has risen once again, and the subject of whether as a business one can choose its customers.
Either we go with one or the other; it is unfair and undemocratic to have one’s cake and eat it. Either businesses can define who they want, or they let everybody, including the great unwashed, pour through their doors.
Personally, I think gay bars should simply become “Gay friendly” – that way straights know what to expect, and if they don’t like it, there are always plenty of other straight pubs to go to.
I can see both sides to this one. On the one hand you can’t take the Bulls to task for excluding gay couples and then in the next breath have a ‘no straights’ door policy.
However I would say I’ve encountered a number of obnoxious straight people in gay clubs who either clutch their girlfriends like liferafts even when the only other gay people in the club barring myself and my friends are working behind the bar, I’ve also encountered the drunk homophobe dragged there by his girlfriend propping up the bar at New Union on New year’s eve announcing to everyone who has been blanking him all evening “No offence to ‘you people’ but I’m NOT QUEER”.
I have no objection in principle to straight people visiting gay bars, so long as they don’t treat us as a threat to their fragile masculinity or a freakshow.
I have seen that a few times.
I remember one occasion many years ago when the tube got totally mobbed from a gay pride march to the park (Brixton I think) and it was wall-to-wall gays and this one cute guy was caught in the middle of it and was hanging onto his girlfriends arm so tight she was losing circulation. Everyone was blowing him kisses and he was SO embarrassed.
I go to Manchesters Gay village a lot and the atmosphere there is amazing. The problems arise when groups of straight men and women on stag and hen parties think it will be good for a night out there- for them maybe but it ruins the relaxed atmosphere for everyone else. There needs to be some common sense in curbing these types of groups but not banning all straight couples. Sometimes I like to bring a straight couple with me for a night out in manchester and the only place we get turned away from every time is G.A.Y bar. So on that basis I don’t go there any other time and if im in Manchester with a group of gay friends I discourage them from going there too. In contrast we have found that Via and Queer are great bars and in my experience have not discriminated against my straight friends.
I notice that not a single pro-straight-exclusion commentator has answered the problem of how to stop none-stereotypical lgbtq people being refused entry…
For me (as an ex member of door staff on the gay scene) its less about stereotyping and more about common sense.
Primarily door staff are there for safety. So that will mean excluding people who are known trouble makers, who appear to be likely to cause trouble or who are too intoxicated.
Many people I declined entry to the gay bars I worked at claimed I had rejected them on the basis that they were not LGBT. That was never part of my rationale, nor an approach the management would have condoned. In fact, some of the people who claimed I had not allowed them in because they were straight – were gay (including one I had previously had a one night stand with!).
Some of those who complained when shown how intoxicated they were on CCTV and the language they used – accepted the reasoning for their exclusion and said their friends had said I thought they were straight and just stopping them from coming in.
If you stop someone doing something then some of those people will claim many
things that are untrue.
I am not saying that some doorstaff (and possibly even some bars) may have adopted approaches that differ from mine, but its not my experience.
When I worked straight clubs and I refused someone entry, then some of those would complain and allege many untrue things because they were unhappy with my decision.
Ultimately, management reserve the right to refuse admission – that should be behaviour based, or based on evidence and should be seeking to protect the safety and reputation of the establishment and the welfare of its customers.
Maybe I’m being silly, but why the hell would a straight person want to got to a gay bar in the first place?
i didn’t mean to click like on that… I meant it on the comment above. Because gay bars aren’t just about getting laid? Because gay people like to go out with their straight friends?
What I find frustrating is seeing some guy in a gay club or bar I’d like to shag only to find out that they’re straight.
Straight women have to deal with that with gay men in a straight bar or any of the other possible combinations. Respectful considerate truth is the solution in those situations, regardless of the sexuality. I think if straight men are respectful, and comfortable with their own sexuality and not trouble makers they don’t pose a problem, especially if they are there with their gay or lesbian friends. If we want straight men in society at large to react truthfully and respectfully in society in general if they are mistakenly approached by a gay man, then we should be prepared to give them opportunities to practive this desired behavior, especially if they are with their gay friends.
Hardly any of the blokes I fancy in such venues are interested in me, not because of general “gay/straight” sexuality but just because they’re not attracted to me.
I havn’t read all the comments so I am sure this has been said – The Equality Act 2010 outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation in the privion of goods and services e.g. bars, hotels, restuarants.
A ‘Gay bar’ is not expluded from this provision, no more than ‘Christian hotels’, ‘Straight clubs’ or starbucks.
None of these bars are ‘members clubs’ or special interest groups (clubs and societies), if any straight person chose to sue them, they would be on very shakey ground. Equality is equality
Actually, The Equality Act allows a business to exclude on the basis of protected characteristics – so a women’s only centre can, and a gay bar can – but those in positions of societal privilege (so a men’s only centre, or a straight bar) couldn’t. Equality isn’t equality til it happens, and until then, the scales are weighted differently.
You have completely imagined that.
No there is not. If you really think there is, I’ve said that repeatedly, but people just red mark it. Seems like there’s magical thinking at work here: people think that something is legal because they want it to be so.
Unfortunately this really important forum is so broken that one cannot link to the act, or even quote the relevant section unchanged, because it contains banned words!
but they are allowed to target those with a protected characteristics only – such as a mens sports club, a disabled sports club, a muslim society, a gay sexual health clinic etc …
Only clubs and associations with proper membership application systems, and where a specific need can be demonstrated in the case of some protected categories. None of those apply to these bar clubs.
Some gay clubs do organise themselves as member based organisations
Why are you all focusing on straight people here? How can you tell that someone is straight just by looking at them. I have been turned away several times from G.A.Y. because I’m with a group of women – myself and all of those women have been LGBTQ, but no, it’s a “regulars only” night.
The major problem with this policies isn’t that they discriminate against “straight people”, but that they discriminate against LGBTQ people who do not get perceived as the right type of gay.
Normally I don’t add comments to articles but this is something which keeps biting me on the arse.
I’m a fem and a goth,two things that have meant that 5/10 I’m turned away from gay bars. Although the music is not my taste it’s a place where I can meet other women and spent time with my LGBT friends and their partners. But as the scene has become more commericialised it’s become increasingly difficult to have a night out.
I’m considered a “straight troublemaker” because I don’t fit the stereotype whatsoever.
And besides, everyone here is talking about gay and straight. So where does Bi, Trans and + come in? If a bi person meets another bi person on the scene of an opposite gender is that wrong? Do you mind asexuals having a dance? There are so many of us who don’t fit into the gay/straight world who come to the scene looking for a little tolerance and end up leaving and never looking back.
I’ve been turned away from Cruz on the “Members only” line. I was the only one of the group that had been before and acknowledged that I knew the line and asked what the issue was. The guy said I was the problem as he didn’t think I was gay. We got in eventually when I asked to go and recover the 9 people that were just about to pay £10 to get in ahead of us so we could move on. I was “allowed” in on the premise that “he had his eye on me”. I bet he did, they love preying on the str8 gays :)
I reported a bar on canal street as a bouncer is a bully and berates young straight girls making them cry – for my effort I am now barred – no more £1.50 drinks for me!
Look at your own comments.
It is your prejudice against heterosexual people that is leading you to seek segregation from them.
Whilst I don’t deny that homophobic attacks still take place, not all straight people are homophobic.
As for this idea that heterosexual people stare at homosexuals is absurd. Society has changed and homosexuality is accepted as a norm by a vast majority. This argument is essentially: “don’t let them in as I don’t want them looking at me”.
I have been to gay bars that do not discriminate on sexuality, and the environment is safe, fun and far from the “hell” some people have described on here.
The bottom line is equal rights are for everyone! Just like ‘straight’ clubs cannot pick and choose who to let in based on their sexuality, gay clubs should not be able to either.
The more the gay community discriminates against others, the less respect they were earn from others.
You are absolutely right that not all heterosexuals are homophobic. But the “revolution” is far from over, and the first gay/lesbian rights movement in Germany was killed off in the work camps. Permanent change, when and if that day comes (something I’ve been working for all of my life) will surely mean the need for exclusively gay bars will probably decline and be replaced by just “gay friendly” bars. But that time has not yet arrived and until it does we kind of have to feel our way . . . .so respectful straight people attending with their gay or lesbian friends should be allowed into gay clubs, but indiscriminate admission of all straight people without some judgement as to their attitudes and respect towards gay and lesbian persons should not be allowed to displace or ruin gay or lesbian clubs (i.e. groups of straight men or women doing a stag party or hen party as some kind of idea of aggressive entertainment should certainly not be allowed).
What the writer basically suggests is the the LGBT community dissolve itself in the interest of “equality”. While this may be an interesting notion – sounds a bit like turkeys voting for christmas!
You have it wrong.There was never a “community” in the first place. Its a myth.
It was always simply a collective bunch of people that happened to be going in the same direction.
Discrimination of any type is a human problem and secures its’ place around why Wars are so popular…
Remembering being dis-allowed by my (so called) Gay brothers & sisters, during the later 70′s turning into the 80′s, to enter a club of gay partying because I didn’t have enough cards to ID myself (one excuse) or the club was up to capacity (as other’s entered)… Real reasons at the time, I’m black, a very male acting type & gay (but blacks weren’t allowed) living in California; after one of the clubs managers started dating me, all that changed (as a kept boy, whispered).
The point here is nothing really has changed with the way we as gay people think & treat each other… Discriminating for any reason is wrong.
Yet whispering behind someones differences for fun & jokes or speaking loudly for show is what we humans do.
For those that will hear the wisdom, know that everyone has a place they desire to be; but sex (private) on the streets will always be second to dancing.
We’re maybe 6% of the population and a tiny fraction of that 6% go to gay bars and clubs. It’s lunacy to think that under those circumstances you can throw open the doors to all straight people and maintain a space that is welcoming, safe and LGBT.
The people who advocate this on well-meaning but misplaced “equality” grounds are responsible for destroying our safe spaces over the past 15 years. They only seem to see things in black and white terms with no downside. Yet the writer seems to admit he can only kiss his boyfriend in a gay club. Why is it our community that must change first?
Also have no illusions, the other driver of this has been money-grabbing commercial self-interest. Businesses realised they could double or triple their income by selling out our community and the grubby marketing types were only too happy to join in.
“…a more oppressive era” years ago? No, gay spaces were welcoming and safe. The oppression is now: standing in a gay village being abused.
The problem is gay people should be able to have their own clubs and porimarily only allow gay people in. Carribean clubs, asian clubs other ethnic groups holsd their own events for their own groups. A leather club for men are you saying they should allow women in. Clubs that have sex establishment licences are you saying they should allow women in? Clearly a gay bar is for gay people to feel comfortable in. The open door policy has in recent years turned non trouble venues into trobled venues as straights still whilst under the influence of alcohol and sometimes sober are ofended by two men kissing because so many straights get in.Whats the point having a gay bar or club if its swapmed with straights.There is not the clear discrimination as portrayed but a protection of oour venues for us.Its not equal times yet where two men kissing in a bar a gay bar can not be the ridicule or fun to see by straights.In the future when we are treated equally gay bars would may not exist.
What a great article. How is it okay for my straight friends to come directly from gay pride march to be turned away from a gay venue based purely on their sexuality? Lumping all straight people together as being like this or behaving like that to justify discrimination is not only wrong but is also stupid and reductive. Why should a person be discriminated against because of the actions of a person they have never met, wouldn’t want to know, and have absolutely no connection too except for a shared sexuality? If we’re trying to get rid of drunken, obnoxious, intimidating people in gay clubs then we better start indiscriminately banning gay people as well because we’re just as lightly to get stared at, harassed or whatever by a gay dickhead as a straight one. The comments here make me really sad. I love that clubs are mixed and friendly and would hate to see clubs/bars ghetto-ised by sexuality again. if a door person think someone is going to cause trouble – regardless of their sexuali
well written article. Good point, well made!
There has always been a tension between whether you are going to demand equality or privilege difference.
These two things move up and down all of the time and you can’t have a sensible notion of equality if you haven’t got some concept of sameness. If you over apply the concept of sameness because you think differences have been exaggerated, you then begin to oppress people who feel strongly there are differences.