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Yorkshire bar apologises for identifying two straight male patrons as ‘gay guys’ on till receipt

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  1. Officer Dribble 18 Sep 2013, 2:53pm

    Hang on – what is the apology for?

    If the bar owner is apologising for mistakenly assuming the customer was gay, then are we to assume that is in itself an insult?

    Being gay or being identified as such should not be seen as something insulting.

    If the bar man had used a pejorative term, I could understand this…but he didn’t.

    If I saw a receipt which had ‘black guy sat near window’, I would not take offence.

    However, ‘Darkie sat near window’ would be a whole different ball game

    The answer?

    Number your tables.

    1. That There Other David 18 Sep 2013, 3:03pm

      “Number your tables”

      100% agree. Basic common sense not being applied again.

    2. I totally agree. But these days, I won’t be surprised that someone gets offended by numbers!

      1. casparthegood 18 Sep 2013, 4:02pm

        ” I am not a number ! ” Well ,someone had to say it

    3. It’s more so the fact that the staff member presumed that the two guys were gay based on being together having a meal and maybe by their dress and mannerisms, which is basically making a prejudgement (his intent probably wasn’t meant to cause harm). You can’t presume anyone is any sexual orientation unless they tell you or signal it. It’s different from race in that you know if somebody is Black, White, Asian based on their appearance. However, our judgements are often wrong too when it boils down to appearance. Like we might say ‘Black man sitting by the window’ before we’d say ‘white man sitting by the window’ which ultimately highlights our white-centric way of seeing things. Neither are offensive, per se. However, if we presumed an Asian-looking person were Chinese when in fact they’re from Korea or even born in Europe, that would be making assumptions. Nevertheless, people make such sweeping opinions about people every day so thinking outside the box is probably a good idea! ;)

      1. WELL SAID!!
        It’s part of human/primate learning behavior to process info from visual cues and appearances. It’s when “intelligence” gets involved that things tend to get wonky. You’re spot-on when pointing out how white-centric the world often is. Because of working with the public so much, I’ve learned to identify people *first & always* by gender and clothing. I’ll even guesstimate age, which is fun if you’re good at that sort of thing. So all of that’s often good enough without having to go into race. Or orientation, for that matter (unless they’re hot, then you might kinda wonder… ;-) ).

      2. You could say man in brown jumper before you use his skin colour. You wouldn’t say woman with big tits would you?

  2. “Two men sitting near window and wearing tiaras” is much more PC :D

    1. Scented with a posh cologne, and wearing stylish shoes. ;-D

    2. Scented with posh cologne, and bangin’ stylish footwear. ;-D

      1. Oops, sorry about the double-post… }:-[

  3. We all jump to conclusions about people we see around us. So long as we treat each other with equal respect and admit when our assumptions are wrong, I really don’t see the big deal.

    1. Or at the very least don’t write it on the RECEIPT! lol

    2. Far worse would be to deny the possibility that two men eating together could be gay. Homophobia thrives on the invisibility of gay people.

  4. jon mallarky 18 Sep 2013, 3:40pm

    This is so typical of that ass-backward county.

    1. Yet I’m sure most people there at least know how to spell arse.

  5. Some may see this incident as trivial. But can you imagine the uproar if the waiter had written something which identified customers by the colour of their skin? Rascism and homophobia are exactly the same in my book. BOTH need to be totally erradicated before we can have any sort of civilised society.

    1. How is it homophobic to describe two men as “gay guys”? If he’d written “ghastyly queers” fair enough, something to complain about. “Gay guys” is a descriptive term, not an offensive one. The fact that the men weren’t gay is inaccurate but not homophobic. See Officer Dribble’s point above. Some people see homophobia everywhere, thus undermining genuine and serious incidents. Lighten up (which is, for the record, not a racist term).

      1. What possible relevance does the sexuality of the 2 men have, one way or the other?

    2. As someone else said above: ‘two black guys’ to identify people—if that distinguishes them—isn’t a big deal for me. Emancipation is about respecting our differences, not denying them.

      1. So, if someone had written on your bill – ‘short ginger queer’ (not that I know what you look like), you would have been happy? Isn’t that an ‘observation’ and respecting ‘difference’? It seems obvious to me that the use of the word ‘gay’ in this instance was pejroative. What exactly WOULD you have been offended by and what terminology would have been acceptable?

        1. They didn’t write anything like “short ginger queer”. They used a perfectly acceptable descriptive term. It is in no way obvious that the word was being used perjoratively – it seems more like you are trying to find offence where there may well have been none. Better to give people the benefit of the doubt than indulge in a hysterical reaction that undermines genuine cases of abuse and discrimination.

          1. Why would ‘2 guys’ not have been an adequate description, if one were necessary?

      2. Are you black yourself, Josh? If not, it might be an idea to check with your black or, perhaps more interestingly, mixed-race friends to see if they’d be as happy to be described solely by their perceived skin colour.

  6. I just noticed the receipt from a coffee shop on my desk has “short flat white” I am outraged to be identified as such!!

  7. john lyttle 18 Sep 2013, 3:45pm

    Move along. Nothing to see here.

  8. I’m offended that people are offended by this. Who can I complain to?

  9. Christopher Coleman 18 Sep 2013, 4:16pm

    The moral of the story is that one’s perceptions of other people should not be made public. Businesses should not put that kind of thing in writing and it should never be part of a transaction with customers, whether the perception is right or wrong. I would apply this even to a flattering perception of the customer.

  10. OFFS – this is just over the top …. can I post this !!!

    1. Colin (London) 18 Sep 2013, 5:34pm

      Just watched this and loved it… I’d say post it…and get your point…lol

  11. These guys are so yesterday.

    Don’t they realise it was a compliment ?

    1. Colin (London) 18 Sep 2013, 5:31pm

      Love it….lol

  12. Oh dear, another own goal by dear old Stonewall who don’t seem to be doing us any favours at the moment.

    They are effectively saying that it’s a dreadful insult to assume that someone is gay when they are not.

    It was simple mistake in a description to identify the customers, and Stonewall’s response to the complainants should have been ‘You’re Not Gay? Get Over It’.

    Of course, a table numbering system would be better than using a description, which even if true always risks the customer not liking it (e.g. ‘bald guy with beer belly’, ‘short-sighted old bloke with thick lenses’).

    However, the real problem is that Stonewall’s hissy fit will just be grist to the mill for the Mail, Telegraph etc who will scream predictably that it’s-another-example-of-PC-Gone-Mad-because-gays-are-so-hypersensitive-these-days…

    The restaurant seems to have had no ill intent and, if the customers felt insulted, then they are the ones who need education / training !

  13. Bill Cameron 18 Sep 2013, 6:19pm

    Perhaps it wasn’t meant to be offensive, but it is certainly a bizarre way to classify two people who were helping to pay the wages of the staff in this place. Presumably it would be similarly OK to refer to two overweight people as “two fat slobs” or two people with dark and light hair as “pepper and salt” or other such supposedly amusing descriptors. If it had been an elderly man and a young and pretty woman dining together It would be interesting to see the kind of assumptions this place’s billing system might have concocted.

    I’m amazed and appalled at the excuses being trotted out in some of the comments here. It’s to be hoped that this establishment treats it paying customers with more respect in future. Most restaurants seem to number tables, a few give them names relevant to the area – whatever they do they need to act with professional courtesy toward their customers.

  14. Yes, they should have numbered tables. It’d be a lot easier and save confusion. But the issue here isn’t whether ‘gay’ is an insult, surely it’s that a) an assumption was made about their sexuality b) their perceived sexuality was taken to be their most distinguishing characteristic when surely they could have written any number of descriptors based on the men’s appearance – yet somebody thought they were gay and that immediately leapt to the forefront of their mind ahead of identifiers they could actually see, like facial hair, clothes colours, etc etc.

    Even if you don’t have table numbers, there’s no reason to start guessing people’s sexuality in order to identify them when there are so many other things available that you can see with your own eyes. I’d have been annoyed too. It’s making assumptions and ignoring everything else to focus on sexuality, and I bet they never do that with straight people.

    It was probably just thoughtless rather than malicious or homophobic.

  15. I wonder if he had written ‘man with his girlfriend’ on a receipt to a gay guy and his female friend would they have complained about being wrongly perceived as heterosexual ?

    The 2 guys really should have laughed it off, but strictly speaking it is just unprofessional and not good customer relations to write a description that is going to be seen by customers when you cannot be certain that it is accurate.

  16. While it was completely wrong, I don’t feel it was prejudiced.

    What planet is this person on? OF COURSE it was prejudiced (pre + judge) – that’s why it was “wrong”!

  17. Michael 2912 19 Sep 2013, 12:32am

    This is trivial. We really wouldn’t get by without an element of prejudgment and it certainly is not always wrong. A sense of humour and a sense of proration was required.

    It should not be insulting to be assumed to be gay. I’m now scared to say “Look at the woman over the road, she’s about to walk under a bus” in case the individual hasn’t decided what sex they are or in case they identify as male whilst dressing in “female attire”: can I even say that? We do have to challenge homophobia and heterosexism but please – the battle lines aren’t drawn here.

    1. But why was any reference to sexuality necessary? Why not just ‘2 guys’, if something as basic as a table-numbering system wasn’t in use?

  18. I am straight but my best mate is gay. Both of us are 20 year old uni buddies. It is a regular occurrence that people/establishments think we are a couple. It does not offend me or him. Why would it? For me to get offended would suggest I am offended by my mates sexuality.

    1. BRAVO! Best response here!

  19. It is silly and tactless to write any assumptions about restaurant customers’ lifestyles or character on a till receipt, but why was this guy so offended? As others have said, no actually offensive words were written. His later insistence that he was objecting to unwarranted assumptions rather than that he didn’t like to be thought gay and isn’t a homophobe is frankly unconvincing. His reaction was a bit too over the top and his later account suggests a post hoc rationalization.

  20. Of course their sexual orientation is irrelevant to identifying their table in a bar. What do you think went on in the bar when they label people like that? “Which guys do you mean?” “Oh, you know, the poofters, look at how they’re dressed.” If it’s written on the receipt like that, the way it’s being discussed behind the scenes is probably worse.

    To all the people saying “well I wouldn’t complain if they said two black guys”: how many of you are actually black? Because if you’re white and you’re using that to make an argument, don’t. It is not your place to speak for people of colour, and it’s bloody offensive of you to claim that you can.

    If someone identified me on a receipt as “disabled woman”, I wouldn’t be happy. That’s not the only thing people should be noticing about me. I’d be thoroughly creeped out if people were speculating about my sexuality for no reason in a professional situation.

  21. Flipping heck, does something like this really warrant ‘heavy criticism from gay rights groups’?
    Silly bar staff make lazy and comical error – apology issued, albeit after complaint to somebody higher up than Paul the Pint Puller – ’nuff said.
    I don’t think they’ll be doing it again…

  22. As a publican I’m pretty sure this place had a table numbering system but these guys were sitting at the bar. It’s difficult to number seats at the bar as people move up and down as others attempt to get served (they really do) so most places with modern tills add a description to ensure no one gets charged someone else’s order.
    We try to ensure the descriptions stick to gender – not always clear cut these days and this leaves plenty of opertunity for someone to take offence and so we tried sticking to dress but if someone takes off a jacket or a jumper that too can be confusing.
    This can be a tricky area for some places but I’ve seen the receipt online and don’t detect any malice intended and as a gay man I feel the bar have been attacked unfairly by many in our community.
    Lets not be so precious about the small stuff, at least we are so visible these days, even in small towns that the team member wasn’t freaked out at the thought of two gays in the pub.

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