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Is it really offensive for a gay bar to say that it’s only for ‘gay clientele and their friends?’

  • Pablo

    Cue the “How can we ask for equality if straight people can’t invade our safe spaces” comments from the deluded crowd. Many LGBT people don’t have access to places where they can feel safe, straight people have the world, get over it.

    • GulliverUK

      To be honest, I’ve asked straight people who have been in gay bars that – they like it there because the music is good, the atmosphere is good, and there’s no violence unlike some other pubs.

      • gregipoh

        The problem is when they return with a loada sightseers who get drunk, loud, nervous, then obnoxious, and trash the whole atmosphere, then often physically think they own the bar. It’s about the spectrum of sexuality and some straight sightseers are confronted with the reality of their own fears.

        I bought a derelict locals bar and turned it gay: every night the locals attacked my bar, then whenever they came in, they started singing anti-gay stuff very loudly. They told me “We OWN this bar”. then they got their kids to break my windows every night.

        • Steven Gregory

          Your experience is unfortunate, but I doubt it’s a common occurrence.

          If there had been the financial wherewithal to buy the bar and shut it down for a month or two, that might have made a difference — so the old crowd could find somewhere else to gather — but I understand most business owners can’t shoulder that kind of down-time.

      • Steven Gregory

        That’s the main reason my straight friends go to gay bars: better music, girlfriends don’t get hassled (unless she has spectacular hair and everyone wants to touch it). My friend Kit experience what it was like to have half a dozen guys buy him a drink and ignore his girlfriend.

      • JohyM

        Well, let them turn their own clubs safe rather than invade ours. Ask them why in France, Belgium, Holland Sweden, Norway, Germany, Spain and in so many other continental countries with pro-gay policies straight people respect our space.

        • Steven Gregory

          Do you “own” a club?
          Do you really think that because gays and lesbians have been oppressed and tormented that we deserve some kind of SPECIAL RIGHTS to be biased in ways we wouldn’t support in others?

    • TomSatsuma

      “Why would straight people want to visit a gay bar”
      Judging by some of these comments, why would gay people!? ;)

      • Guest

        Because they are hoping for somewhere safe to go?
        Because they like the entertainment?
        Because the karaoke in the Bulldog is the best in town?
        Any number of reasons.

        One probem in Brighton and other places is that the ‘straights’ sometimes think it’s a hoot to hold a stag party in a gay bar.

        I can understand the Bulldog would wish to keep those out but existing legislation allows them to eject them due to any nuisance they cause.

        In the name of equality I condemn the Bulldog for this and I’m an occasional customer there. It’s just is not helpful and I doubt that it is legal.

        • TomSatsuma

          Yes, I was speaking In jest – I just don’t like ghettoisation…

          And personally I don’t feel unsafe around my straight friends just because they are straight.

          To me an exclusively gay bar would be as unpleasant an experience as an exclusively straight one.

          • Steven Gregory

            “Ghettoisation” is the perfect word.

            Nowadays gays and lesbians go anywhere we want.
            A lot of commenters are acting like the Princess On The Pea: unable to withstand the gawping of a hen party or possible threat of straight blokes causing havoc.

            Imagine the reaction if straight bars expressed the same sentiment?

          • Gareth

            I agree with you that Gay guys like us can go anywhere and do anything without fear of recrimination or attack, but I know I’m fairly privileged. There’s still a lot of gay people for whom gay bars are still a sanctuary and the only place where they can be themselves and feel safe.

            I’m fairly certain a straight person has never had to share those concerns which is why your comparison of a straight bar proscribing the entrance to gay people only is a false comparison in this instance.

            I think the wording of the sign could have been a little bit smarter but most bars operate these kind of policies as a rule anyway.

          • Steven Gregory

            You are purposefully mangling my comment to suit your false comparison.

            If “most bars” do something, does that automatically make it acceptable practice? That’s not raising the bar very high.

          • Gareth

            I’m not twisting anything. I just tend to think things like this are symptomatic of ongoing problems LGBT people have to face, rather than evidence of an anti-straight agenda. I’m genuinely delighted you don’t experience those same problems and so feel strongly that this is discrimination by the formerly oppressed. I wish all gay men and women had your good fortune.

          • Steven Gregory

            Usually we agree. On this topic we do no. Instead of recognizing that, you seem intolerant of disagreement. Your characterization of me is wrong. You don’t know what obstacles I’ve faced, but you’re “genuinely delighted” to spin lies. I did not write any of what you just stated about me.

          • TomSatsuma

            Although I do think some straight people in gay spaces could do with a bit of education… I think it’s still easier for one straight person to make a room full of gay people uncomfortable than it is for one gay person to make a room full of straight people uncomfortable.

          • TomSatsuma

            One thing though:
            “Nowadays gays and lesbians go anywhere we want.”
            I’ve still never held my husband’s hand in public after more than 7 years of marriage – I think this is still common (well it must be, since even in London I never see same sex couples touch outside of gay areas) and sometimes you might want to get drunk and have a snog on the dancefloor without having to worry about it starting a fight.

            I say this as someone very non-scene who goes to gay clubs less than once a year – but I see their value.

          • Gareth

            I agree with you Tom. I think so far equality has, as yet, been apportioned rather unequally. There’s far more important things to worry about.

    • Steven Gregory

      Replace the word GAY with the word WHITE and see if you understand what is wrong with the sign.

      • Pablo

        White people are not an oppressed minority who need safe spaces to mingle with other white people. What a stupid comment.

        • Steven Gregory

          Then replace GAY with BLACK.
          This is about bias, not about ethnicity. Sorry it was beyond your grasp.

          • Daryl Lawton

            Your comment is still inaccurate: black people can A) tell who else is black B) Are unlikely to have difficulties finding black people (If they even are looking just for black people).

          • Steven Gregory

            Are you playing stupid, or are you actually stupid? This is about the sign.

          • Daryl Lawton

            If it is about the sign which demonstrates that the club is aimed at a particular group then I fail to see why you would see anything wrong with it.

          • Steven Gregory

            Yes, you absolutely fail.

          • Daryl Lawton

            Oh look at you so clever with your ad hominem attacks.

          • Steven Gregory

            Sadly, you learned the term “ad hominem,” but no meaning. If the comment “Yes, you absolutely fail” spoke to your prejudices, emotions, or special interests, or attacked your character and not your intellect, then it would be “ad hominem.” Now you can GET OFF MY LEG, LITTLE DOG and go forth with new knowledge.

          • Daryl Lawton

            ‘Sadly, you learned the term “ad hominem,” but no meaning.’
            Ad hominem is when a person ignores the argument of their oppoment and instead uses personal attacks for instance:
            ‘Yes, you absolutely fail.’

            ‘If the comment “Yes, you absolutely fail” spoke to your prejudices,
            emotions, or special interests, or attacked your character and not your
            intellect, then it would be “ad hominem.”‘
            Except intellect is a part of the character and by entirely ignoring my argument and instead attacking you have demonstrated your own flaw.

          • Steven Gregory

            If you insist. Enjoy your bubble.

          • Daryl Lawton

            My “bubble” is called reality.

  • Balance

    If straight people were dying of thirst because this was the only bar in the area, I’d agree. But gay people (who are still regularly attacked verbally and physically) should be able to have “safe spaces” where they don’t feel oppressed.

  • gskorich

    no where does it say anyone group is not welcome. it says clearly that it caters to gay people and people who like gay people. if you don’t fit that group then why would you want to be there.

    • GulliverUK

      Precisely. If people read between the lines. A shorter version would be “No homophobes”, and since homophobes are not a protected group, there shouldn’t be any legal issue either.

    • TomSatsuma

      I’m sorry, but to me it sounds like you aren’t allowed in without a gay person in your group.

      • Balance

        That is definitely one of the 2 possible interpretations, but I don’t think that’s necessarily wrong. Otherwise you could end up with a hen party coming in to gawp at the gays (as used to happen on Canal Street, much to the non-amusement of the gays).

        • TomSatsuma

          I also hate when this happens, but I think it’s wrong to bar all straight people because of the actions of idiot molesty hen parties

        • Steven Gregory

          You have just laid claim to the biggest complaint of homophobic groups against gays in media, education and politics: they don’t want to see homosexuals or hear about homosexuality.

          If you don’t want to see hen parties, stay home. If someone is “gawping” at you, instead of getting angry, initiate them and challenge them to be fun and nuts. They will either become enlightened about themselves and you, or thoroughly shamed.

          • Mark Y

            Nah. Not really. When I go out I don’t want it to turn into an educational event for hen parties. I’d rather the hen parties stayed the fck away from gay bars and let us get on with our lives.

          • Steven Gregory

            If you go to bars, hen parties may occasionally be part of your “life.” I know it’s difficult, but many have learned to cope without whining. Perhaps you’d better stay home where you’re safe from all unpleasantness.

      • gskorich

        people are responsible for what they say. not what people understand

        • TomSatsuma

          Sure – but it’s in a businesses best interests when communicating with its customers to avoid misunderstanding…

        • Steven Gregory

          You are misquoting the sign and rephrasing it according to your understanding of it. Oops!

      • JohnP

        Good. When I go to a gay pub I don’t want “tourists” to gawp at me

        • Steven Gregory

          Try wearing a burqa.
          One of the great perils of venturing into PUBLIC is that someone may stare at you. This is frightening to many, so staying home behind closed curtains is another alternative.

          • Chris in LA

            Gosh! I always stare at people who look nice. They give one pleasure.

        • TomSatsuma

          Genuine question: A) Is it a big problem at the places you go to?
          B) how do you know they are straight… maybe they are staring because they fancy you?

    • Rprk

      It doesn’t really say that though does it? A natural reading of it says that only gay people and straight people with a gay escort (as in not allowed in on their own) are allowed in this bar.

      I take no issue with a bar wanting to do this mind. I completely understand the reasoning, and in fact support the right of the bar as a private enterprise to be able to select its clientele. That said if i support this then I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t also support christian b&b owners rights to choose their clientele…. For example.

      • Balance

        You are right. “friend” is ambiguous:
        1) any gay friendly person or an “ally”
        2) a person who is personally a friend of a gay person there.

        I also think it should be up to management to decide on its door policy to some extent, but I distinguish between:
        1) essential services like b&bs, especially in a remote area and when it was booked in advance (as in the famous b&b case last year); and
        2) places where people socialise and rely on an atmosphere being created.

        I also distinguish between:
        gays, who are still often oppressed and bullied
        and straights who rarely feel intimidated because they are straight.
        The whole world is a “safe space” for straights; gays don’t have many safe spaces.

  • GulliverUK

    They should remove the word “only”, that’s all. How many B&Bs have been putting notes on their web sites that they are “family-friendly”, “Christian-run”, etc. There are plenty of visitors and tourists in Brighton and it may be useful to avoid those who are … overly sensitive.. from going in if they’re going to get their panties in a twist. These are safe-spaces for LGBT and people should respect that. I’m sure they don’t want me going to the local church and then standing up and protesting when he gets all anti-gay, me challenging to explain his scriptural interpretation, and me giving him mine.

    • TomSatsuma

      Is this really a problem though? I’m not from Brighton so I don’t know.

      I just wonder what problem this sign was a reaction to. Are the gay bars there full of homophobes with placards?

  • Dolly Digest

    It is important to remember that the reason for exclusively LGBT bars is to provide a safe and non judgmental environment for LGBT to meet and socialise. It is important that LGBT do not become a minority in their own environment. Maybe the sign should read ‘If you are uncomfortable with public displays of same sex affection then you are not welcome here’.

    • GulliverUK

      Excellent. You nailed it.

    • TomSatsuma

      “the reason for exclusively LGBT bars is to provide a safe and non judgmental environment for LGBT to meet and socialise.”

      I disagree with the ‘exclusively’ bit. Not only would it be illegal, but how else are young (maybe closeted or freshly out) gay people going to meet other gay people if they can’t go with their straight friends?

      “It is important that LGBT do not become a minority in their own environment” This I totally agree with, but banning straight people is not the answer.

      Personally I’d refuse to go to a gay bar that bans gay people (in fact I was once refused entry to one, presumably for not being gay enough?)

      • TomSatsuma

        “Personally I’d refuse to go to a gay bar that bans gay people”

        ‘straight people’ obviously… duh

        • Steven Gregory

          I’ve run across bars that treat lesbians, drag queens and those who are gender-transitioning poorly. I’m very vocal about it.

          We have a bar in town, the Denver Wrangler, which treats women and drag queens poorly — hassles them at the door; doesn’t sell them a cup for the CHARITY beer bust; if they are given a cup by a friend, management makes a fuss.

          Discrimination is discrimination and never becomes correct.

          • Philip Marks

            In the 70’s I used to be among those who would picket gay bars because they kept out old, black, and straight people. I was none of those things but I knew it was wrong.

      • Balance

        … so “gay people and their friends” would cover the problem you raise of a gay person who wants to bring a straight friend for support.

        I’m not saying the sign MUST read that, but I don’t see anything wrong with a pub that’s getting a bit over-straighted from trying to limit them.

        • TomSatsuma

          Well, my issues with such a blanket policy aside, I was just responding to ‘exclusively LGBT bars’

        • Steven Gregory

          What is “over-straighted?”
          Would that same concept apply to straight bars that don’t want homosexuals and decide to “discourage” them from attending?

          • Holly Griffiths

            to be fair there is a huge difference between gay bars and “straight ” bars taking Brighton as an example, im gay myself and I went to brighton with a couple of straight friends and a gay man for a weekend away we initially went into a “gay” bar then went to a straight one and the whole atmosphere changed in a negative way, my friend who was gay got taunted and threatened, whereas in the gay bar my straight friends were welcomed with open arms, so as much as I would hate straight people to feel unwelcome in a gay bar maybe some straight bars need to be more welcoming to LGBT people as gay bars are to them… like Dolly Digest says we need to have safe places to socialise as unfortunatly there is still a lot of homophobia around even in this day in age…

          • Steve Macey

            totally with you. LGBT community needs a safe space. Those who feel comfortable in their sexuality or gender identity would do well to recall their younger days. If I hear “times have changed” one more time I will scream as they haven’t as bullying in schools is just as rife if not worse.

          • Steven Gregory

            Then private clubs are the answer. If a bar is going to be a public space, then it brings with it perils that THE PUBLIC may show up.

    • Steven Gregory

      “Exclusively LGBT bars” can be some of the MOST judgmental places. Perhaps that is why many go to straight bars. As for becoming a minority: very true! It’s easy for groups to hive off and then wonder why they’re isolated.

    • Chris

      How is this any different from the posters which started appearing on cafes in Germany in the 1930’s ‘Juden werden hier nicht bedient’

      • Steve Macey

        Its a million miles different as the Jews were the persecuted and not the Germans, straight people are not persecuted or beaten up or on the receiving end of abuse.

        • Steven Gregory

          Hogwash! Women most definitely are, as are ethnic minorities.

      • JohnP

        Ask them in Germany then, where they instinctively respect gay spaces. It’s only in Britain when straights seem to have a feeliing of entitlement.

        • Steven Gregory

          Ask WHO?
          I’ve only been to Germany three times, but I was taken to gay bars by STRAIGHT PEOPLE.

      • RedDevil9

        It’s different because straight people are welcome.

    • Guest

      While I agree that the LGBT community should have a place for themselves, I can’t help but feel this is using the same tactics that others have used against a group of people.

      For example, would you say no jews or no white people? I understand that this is positive discrimination, but I do not think this is the right way to do it. If anything, we want to be accepted in the world, so by allowing us to accept others, others can accept us.

    • Mitch

      Exactly what I think :)

    • Philip Marks

      Well, they’re for that and getting laid. So if you are comfortable with getting laid by a guy, then feel free… no I’m just kidding, but let’s not pretend that’s not one of the things that at the very least gets started there.

      I think you put up a sign “It’s a gay bar, what do you think is gonna happen here?”

  • Brian Martenis

    Just a “Yankee” point of view but doesn’t the rainbow flag say it all? It should.

    • David H

      Makes perfect sense to me Brian. Admittedly, I don’t know the area or the bar in question, but most homophobic people I know wouldn’t be seen dead in a gay bar and any straight going there knows what to expect; and any customer who becomes abusive can legally be kicked out.

      I understand the point about safe havens, they are necessary – but not to the exclusion of gay friendly straight people.

  • That There Other David

    Semantics on the wording. Change it to “gay clientele and gay friendly people”. Problem solved.

    • TomSatsuma

      Totally agree

    • Balance

      That may be good enough in a gay area, but I don’t think gay people should be banned from having a gay-only or majority-gay policy. By saying “gay people and their friends”, it “stops” too many random straight people coming in to gawp and potentially outnumber the gays and make the gays feel uncomfortable.
      Also lots of people claim to be gay-friendly who aren’t.

      • TomSatsuma

        “but I don’t think gay people should be banned from having a gay-only […] policy”

        I’m afraid the law disagrees

        • Balance

          Well, the law is an ass if that’s the case and I shall be joining the girl guides, the Romany Convention, a disabled toddlers group and the Black Conservative caucus next week!

          • Rehan

            I think clubs and organisations are different from businesses in this respect.

          • Steven Gregory

            We’re arm-wrestling that in the U.S., since so many clubs and organizations who thought they could discriminate actually receive government funds or meet in public spaces maintained with tax dollars.

          • TomSatsuma

            You think the law that makes it illegal to not serve customers based on their sexual orientation is an ass?

          • Balance

            Yes, if it’s used to stop the oppressed from protecting themselves. No, if it’s used by oppressors to oppress.

          • Michael Anthony

            You can’t have it both ways! You want all the equality and benefits, but think its OK to notextend it yourself. Safe space? The churches use those same words to keep gays out. Its just astounding how the oppressed see nothing wrong with oppressing. Picture a sign in Selfridge’s “straights and their friends only”. As a gay person, you wouldn’t feel the slightest oppressed?

          • Steven Gregory

            B-b-b-but, can’t homos find somewhere else to shop that isn’t a safe space for heterosexuals who might gawp at them and make them feel uncomfortable?

          • Balance

            Michael Anthony
            To respond to your “wouldn’t u feel oppressed if Selfridges had a sign saying ‘straights and their friends only'” comment, I answer:
            First, there’s a difference between a large department store (where all should have access) and a bar, which is an intimate gathering.

            Second, there’s a difference between a nasty group of straight people going into a gay bar and making gay people feel uncomfortable and bullied and a group of gay people going into a straight bar and the gay people probably feeling uncomfortable and getting bullied there too, so there is no equivalence.

            So equality laws should not be mis-used to stop the oppressed from protecting themselves.

            Having said all this, I’m not saying I WANT gay bars to put up signs like this. It’s better if we can all mix and get along. But it should be up to the discretion of the bar to decide if it needs such a sign to protect an oppressed group in that part of town.

          • Jen

            the difference being private clubs can refuse your membership of said club (although there are some limitations in that) but a buisness that serves the public can not, whilst i understand the argument about safe spaces.. then frankly all i can suggest is to create a private club then and dont go into buisness im afraid its that simple, equality laws must work both ways otherwise they’re usless, unless your seriously suggestion that old strawman argument about gay people wanting ‘special rights’ is actualy not a strawman at all.

          • Balance

            I think it is all right for gay people and others who are bullied to claim “special rights”. I don’t think it’s usually necessary and I welcome it when gays and straights mix, but safe spaces are important and I shouldn’t have to set up an expensive private members’ club to enjoy them.

          • Steven Gregory

            You simply DON’T want to understand that equal rights and equal treatment doesn’t mean you get to discriminate because you live in fear.

          • Steven Gregory

            That’s the same law that protects your access as a homosexual.

          • Sorry, but I strongly disagree with you. The equality law is in place to make your rights as a gay person the same as a straight person … so that you are not discriminated against on the grounds of your sexuality. NOT to give you the same rights as a disabled toddler. Please keep it real.

      • Steven Gregory

        What if someone wants a straight-only venue, such as EVERYTHING (bars, restaurants, TV, politics, marriage), because it makes them feel “uncomfortable.”

        • Exactly, just replace ‘gay’ with ‘white’ and it becomes obvious.

          • Steven Gregory

            Best comment I’ve read on this thread. I’m going to re-post at the top of this discussion.

          • Thanks ~ please be my guest. xx

          • Steven Gregory

            It has been strange to see how many gays refuse to understand that BIAS is BIAS, and gays are not entitled to a special dispensation. Practicing bias only breeds more bias.

          • I have to admit, I wouldn’t have predicted this and it is a bit disappointing. By way of analogy, it is a bit like the old saying ‘abuse begets abuse, the abused becomes the abuser.’
            Some people only see what they wish to see it seems.
            I’ll leave it there Steven. I’ve probably already said enough to make myself unpopular. Best wishes.

  • Rehan

    So long as they don’t actually turn away non-gay people because they’re not gay, they’re fine.

    • Steven Gregory

      How, really, do they tell? Sphincter check?

      • Rehan

        What I meant is, if people are turned away on the assumption they’re not gay.

      • TomSatsuma

        They guess… I’ve been turned away from gay bars because the bouncer didn’t think I was gay enough before.

  • David

    That sign has been there for YEARS, way before it became illegal to refuse to serve someone based on their sexuality – it’s that in-equality it was probably born from. The owners know this, to take it it literally would just be pedantic,

    • Steven Gregory

      So if a WHITES ONLY sign has been over a drinking fountain or entrance to a restaurant, is that not a similar situation. Since you are channeling what “the owners know,” do they intend to be offensive?

      • David

        Nothing like it.

        • Steven Gregory

          You like to play stupid, and you’re very convincing.

  • Dolly Digest

    I remember that GAY club @ Astoria used to have a policy that straight people must be accompanied by LGBT friends. On the surface they could be accused of being discriminatory, but this was for good reason. The club had issues with straight people attending the club just see the headline act for cheap (or free with the right flyer) and then after a few drinks they would become aggressive and make derogatory homophobic judgmental remarks towards the other patrons who rightly expected to be protected from that kind of prejudice in their environment.

    • Steven Gregory

      It takes great idiocy for you to buy into what you just wrote.
      The bar is responsible not to over pour its patrons. It’s almost a certainty that gay patrons also became drunk and unruly. Establishments are begging to be shut down for limiting access based on sexual orientation.

  • CHBrighton

    I presume it means ‘gay clientele and their friend (please keep out if you are homophobic)’.

  • Tom

    This doesn’t offend me – it’s reasonable to establish that the bar is a safe space for gay people AND THEIR FRIENDS! Some of the venues in London, Heaven in particular (utter hovel that it is) would do well to pay attention to this place’s mantra. The number of times straight friends of mine have been turned away from there on a range of bizarre pretexts (including one time where they informed my tee-total friend that he was too drunk) makes me sick. I refuse to go there now – I find that kind of discrimination unpleasant. Provided they’re not actually enforcing a “gays only” rule then I frankly couldn’t care less!

  • ‘Gay people within ~ respect that and be welcome’

    Point made and no offence caused. The Bulldog did not need to do this – it’s antagonistic.

  • Alexander Kelso Shiels

    Yes it is! It should be enough to state that it is a GAY bar and if you are comfortable with same sex affection yo are welcome.

  • Sim Morris

    How is it discriminatory if it says that gay people AND their friends are welcome?
    Who made the complaint – I’ll bet the complainer is both a Tory and a believer in ‘god’.

    • “This is a gay venue for gay clientele and their friends only.”

      ‘ONLY’ = exclusion = not equal = prejudice = discrimination = illegal = unnecessary bad press for gay community

      • Daryl Lawton

        “not equal”, “oh those poor straights, there are so few bars where they can feel comfortable that they aren’t a minority.” You know, ALL non-“gay bars/pubs”.

        • Reverse that statement and make it come from a hetty. What do you hear now?

          • Daryl Lawton

            The situation doesn’t work in reverse, disproving your point.

  • Kev

    Is this all people have to worry about? Up until the 60s people were imprisoned for being GAY. People are still persecuted and beaten up, so clearly LGBT people need somewhere where they can relax. By all means let anyone in because seeing public displays of affection between members of the same sex MAY help educate them and help acceptance of all people; or it will do exactly the opposite. For too long, LGBT have been discriminated against and, it would appear, some of society’s straight people fear being discriminated themselves. Isn’t it interesting how the tables are beginning to turn? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was no need for ‘specific’ venues for LGBT people, but i fear that is a long way off.

    • Michael Anthony

      And it’ll be even longer if u support exclusion. We’ve been discriminated against for eons. Why even play that game ourselves? In America we had drinking fountains that said “for whites only”. Can’t you see the power the word “only” has??

      • Steven Gregory

        If only people could see that EQUALITY is one door: any impedence affects those on both sides.

  • mikemike

    wow, so many private gay people with a life won’t want to be caught by the cops in a bar with a no-straights sign in the window. that leaves what… oh, yeah, ‘gay is boozer and loozer’. totally gay.

  • Ra

    The sign does not state or prevent anyone from entering, only informs what the establishment is, thus their is no illegal discrimination.

    • Michael Anthony

      Its the word “only” that makes it offensive. They could have said something like “Brighton’s famous gay bar. All welcome”.

      For centuries we have been excluded. We still are in many places. Would you not take offense at “for straights anmichael anthonyd their friends ONLY”??

      • Michael Anthony

        Sorry! My name was inserted in last sentence. Should read “for straights and their friends only”.

  • Ian Alexander Kirton

    Just remove the word ONLY

    • ‘This is a heterosexual venue for heterosexuals and their friends.’

      Does that sound inclusive? I wouldn’t feel like I’d be made welcome in there so it’s still not equal. Sorry.

      • TomSatsuma

        I think that context means you can’t just switch ‘gay’ for ‘straight’ and expect it to be the same.

        That would undermine the whole concept of ‘gay bars’ (you don’t, and wouldn’t, have ‘straight bars’)

        • It doesn’t need to be said. A venue doesn’t decide and dictate what it is if it wants to stay in business. The customers are the ones who decide what a venue like this is. If all the gay customers left tomorrow, it would no longer be a gay bar.

          It’s just a club, one that LGBT people go to. That’s it, that’s all, that’s all that needs to be said about this. Everyone understands this basic notion without needing to see signs up.

        • No. Take the example of a ‘sports bars’. Nothing wrong with trying to attract a group of like-minded people to a common interest. Liking sport is a choice and one that is near-universally accepted but there is no requirement or test to see how sporty you are before you are made welcome. A sign on a sports bar that says states an intent to exclude people on a personal characteristic (insert any here) rather than a choice is discrimination.

          A gay bar similarly attracts people with a common interest, those who choose to socialise with people who are gay, whatever ever their own sexuality may be. Unlike sport though, being gay is not a choice but a personal characteristic. You are gay because you are who your are. Presumably you will disagree with those who say ‘stop your perverse gay lifestyle and choose to be straight instead’?

          A sign that intends to exclude a person on the basis of a different personal characteristic is not lawful. If a person happens to be heterosexual, happens to like singing, does not seem to either show disrespect or harbour prejudice against anyone , wishes to gain admittance, because that is the pub with the best karaoke, where is the harm in admitting them? Indeed, they should be made welcome.

          • TomSatsuma

            I agree with your conclusion – I’m anti-the sign, but not the argument.

            If we lived in a world where gay and straight were truly equal then you would be right – but calling a straight person ‘hey straight-boy’ is NOT as offensive and hurtful as calling a gay person ‘hey gay-boy’.

            Saying a bar is for gay people (i.e. intended for, not exclusively for) is NOT the same as saying a bar is for straight people.

            A ‘gay bar’ exists because we are a minority who need it, the term is about saying who is welcome, not who is not allowed, whereas I’m sure most people would agree that ‘straight bar’ implies more about who they want to keep out.

            All I’m saying is that you can’t always just flip it round to make an argument – context is important (which is why we don’t have the ‘white music awards’)

          • Balance

            I agree, Tom. And I heard that people are complaining that white people now win most of the Mobos too.

          • Balance

            Here is an exact equivalence.

            On the one hand, a social club shouldn’t be able to discriminate against disabled people.

            But you shouldn’t introduce idealistic notions of “equality” into an unequal situation and insist on the reverse.

            So, for example, if I were a disabled person, I should be able to go to a disabled persons’ group. If there have been problems with able-bodied people going there and gawping in the past, the management might decide to try to integrate the gawpers and help them learn to accept the disabled. This would be ideal. But the management may not have the time/patience/skill/(wo)manpower to do this and it should be up to the discretion of the management to decide if they just want to ban the able-bodied (unless they are there as friends/helpers of the disabled) for the sake of the group, so the disabled will not simply abandon the group and stay at home next week, making it a “disabled group” consisting entirely of able-bodied people with nobody to gawp at. (And you can’t police ‘gawping’ as you might be able to police overtly offensive jokes; it’s too subtle, though still deadly).

          • Sure. If you meet as a QUILTBAG support group and your group has exclusive use of the venue for a time slot by agreement then fair enough. On the other hand a pub or bar thats purpose is socialising, like the Bulldog in this case, the matter is quite different. The legal position is that you just can’t discriminate.
            You would not be able to choose to treat one person ‘less favourably’ than another and nor would I ever wish to. That shows prejudice and therefore discrimination.

            I think you will find that the notion of ‘safe spaces’ is not covered in the Equality Act of 2010. You can create safe spaces by hiring a private venue for your gatherings and making it invitation only as a private function.

            Your concerns are about abuses carried out by members of the public and not by establishments. These are not covered by the Equality Act 2010 but by the Public Order act of 1986.

            I don’t know about you, but when I turn up at any venue I don’t want to be questioned or fill in a survey to gain entry. I know how to behave so I qualify for entry.

            BTW … age policies are obviously excepted for under 18s re alcohol etc.

            We have successfully pursued our goals for equal marriage etc recently.
            To then claim special rights because we view ourselves as extra special and deserving as extra special is demeaning. I want equal treatment, I don’t deserve special treatment.

          • Balance

            You said:
            I can hire a private venue.
            I say:
            I shouldn’t need to. And it wouldn’t be likely that a friendless, closeted gay teenager would be strong enough to be able to hire a venue and cover the costs with a total of 1 person (himself) present.

          • I agree, you shouldn’t have to. All people should be able to meet in any venue and without public order offences. I want an equal right to gain admittance anywhere to anywhere.
            I can’t understand why you don’t. btw, I’m not telling how or what to think. I’m stating the legal position and goals of equality.

          • Daryl Lawton

            There isn’t a test to see if you are gay either

          • Right now you are seeing how futile the sign is.

          • Daryl Lawton

            So if it is indeed pointless then you have no reason to oppose it. It’s point from what I have heard is to discourage gawkers and maintain the site as a LGBT majority one.

      • Balance

        Monica, ignore my last comment as I’ve just now found your answer (in a post to someone else).

  • Max

    This is a tricky one, I work in London and recently there was a hen party from the office so loads of people went on a pub crawl with the final destination being GAY bar.. I wasn’t going, but as far as I’m aware there wasn’t a single gay person in the group.. I really don’t agree with this… surely there are enough other bars to enjoy, what happens if there are a bunch of gay people who then can’t get in……..?

    • Sorry, I’m sympathetic, but it’s first come first served. Being gay does not make us extra special in that sense. If the hen party was any kind of nuisance then the bar manager could quite reasonably ask them to leave.
      If they were well-behaved but there before you .. well that’s life.

    • Steven Gregory

      Why didn’t you go, you’re the sailor who sent friends to sea without any experience.

      If there are a bunch of gay people who then can’t get in, that indicates two things: the bar is wildly successful and the gays should have arrived sooner.

      WHAT IF they arrived, the bar was slow and no other gays showed up, and they brought the bulk of that night’s revenues so the place could stay open?

      WHAT IF all your co-workers are gay and lesbian and you still don’t know?

      WHAT IF Godzilla attacked London and your co-workers died while having fun and you died alone?

      WHAT IF your co-workers bought a lottery ticket on their way to the pub and hit the jackpot, and you were left out?

  • Ben

    Gay bars/pubs are good places. However non of them should state that they are for gay people and their friends only. That is the type of discrimination we are trying to fight against.
    Instead the sign should suggest that if you don’t like the LGBT community then that particular pub/bar isn’t where you’ll want to go. It should suggest that its a place where you can go where you won’t be judged and you can be yourself.

  • Steven Gregory

    Similar signs in the U.S. have been challenged as discriminatory and resulted in a restatement of the same. Perhaps this would be better:
    “Welcome! This establishment is gay-owned and provides a safe environment for everyone. We hope you have a great time here. Verbal insults will get you ejected. Start a fight, go to jail. Play nicely, it’s a party!”

    • TomSatsuma

      It’s a great idea but the only problem is that this reinforces the idea in straight patrons heads that homophobia is just insults and violence – a big problem (as many have mentioned) is people’s well meaning ignorance, for example hen parties coming to see ‘the gays’ like a zoo, straight girls groping guys because ‘it doesn’t count’ and anything else that is done without bad intentions but undermines the ‘safe space’ (staring etc)

      By the way – I agree it’s discriminatory, I would just use slightly different wording to you.

    • There’s really no need to point out anything. All venues have a right to eject people causing problems, and all citizens have legal protections against verbal and physical attack.

      If someone can look at the front of that venue and not know that it’s a gay bar, then they will go in, turn around and walk out again. If they stay, they will be decent Humans and interact appropriately with others. If they decent to others then they will be thrown out or arrested – just as would be the case in ANY pub or club in the UK regardless of whether most of the customers are gay or straight.

      This sign in pointless, any sign is pointless, it only serves to antagonize.

  • Dora Ng

    Let me tell you about a gay club in Vancouver, Canada, “Celebrities Nightclub,” once the most famous gay bar in Vancouver, and the only gay bar that straight people knew about. People started coming out of curiosity, especially girls to have their bachelorette parties. The venue became popular with the girls because it was considered a “safe” place to just hang out and dance without unwanted grinding and other sexual harassments. Next the venue got the reputation among of being a great place to pick up girls because there is no competition from the gay guys. Also, “going to a gay bar” is seen as a progressive and cool thing to do in a hipsterville like Vancouver. Anyway long story short, Celebrities has now became the hottest club in Vancouver but they are no longer a gay establishment.

    It doesn’t really do the straight community much service to have one more straight club… but as a queer person… I REALLY feel the impact of the loss of a safe space to dance and hang out.

    So I understand where the Brighton bar owner is coming from, and while they may not be the most tactful, I support their choice.

    • Then by default you support inequality. Sorry to be so blunt.

      • Dora Ng

        “Equality” to me means everybody gets to enjoy the same things, in this case, a safe space to dance and party, rather than everyone getting the same handouts, regardless of their actual needs.

        If a gay bar doesn’t let straight patrons in without LGBTQ friends, the straight patrons still have PLENTY of safe places to party elsewhere, whereas if a gay bar is overrun by allies or curious straight people, we lose the queer safe space and have no where else to party without harassment or discomfort. So your commitment to “same treatment for everybody” doesn’t always mean “equality.”

        • Sorry but that’s really regressive and seperatist. Inclusion is an important part of equality. You views give permission for homphobic others to be dismissive of you and deny you service. When I go out, I don’t want my friends to be split up into two groups; we just go out as friends together.

          • Dora Ng

            Hence the “lgbt folks and THEIR FRIENDS” policy…

            I suppose it’s difficult to imagine the discomfort of going into a straight space and people looking at you like you’ve got some contagious disease and that being near you will call their sexual orientation into question, or men mocking my expressions of masculinity as a female-bodied person by aggression and taunts, or feel the indignity of straight men coming into queer women’s spaces to try to hit on you or to watch the “girl-on-girl action.”
            It’s great that your friends are tight and hang out in a group. The world is open to you, why do you feel the need to venture into queer spaces, where I can just party with my fellow “freaks” and feel normal and at home for once?

            Peace out.

          • I don’t get why you think the world is more open to me than you or why you believe that I’m immune from the things you describe so well. I’ve experienced it too in all kinds of places. I do see equality as a priority though . You obviously don’t, fair enough. I’m just a bit surprised by you I suppose.

          • Arix

            The issue is that you seem to think equality is “everyone gets the same thing/amount/etc.” That is not equality. Think of it this way. There are two baskets. One has five apples and one has zero apples. What is equality? Giving the basket with zero apples five apples or giving both baskets five apples? The answer to this question is the fundemental difference between what you believe and what Dora Ng believes. You are saying the second is equality while Dora Ng is saying the first is equality.

          • erm … no I’m trying to say that everyone gets equal treatment without prejudice and discrimination in terms of being who they are and not for what their choices may be. Equal material things, erm .. no I wasn’t advocating communism! People seem to be confusing what is their right as a characteristic with their desires, wishes or choices. Being gay is not a choice it is a characteristic. Where you choose to socialise is just that, a choice. You have such right to equal treatment while you are out but no right to say who else can go unless it is arranged as a private party ie you have hired the venue, then you can invite whomever you like. Note: I’m quoting UK law in this respect.

          • Arix

            When it is an issue of safe spaces I think that owners do have a right to say who can come in. The thing is it shouldn’t be gay verses straight in that instance but the community/welcoming non community verses problematic people. I personally think a gay bar/club should be able to throw out straight women who just came to objectify and ogle right along with bigots. A venue should also have the right to cater to a certain group and have certain rules to make sure that group is catered to and people should respect that.

          • Look … in a reply to Scott in this very same thread, you said,

            ‘That’s actually illegal. Gender discrimination applies to all genders. You could honestly take them to court for denying you entrance just for being male.’

            When you said that you nailed it. What’s changed since then?

          • Arix

            And I never said that they shouldn’t allow straight people or a certain gender. You seem to have missed my point.

          • Says the man who fails to see the difference between communism and equality, the difference between more than and less favourably, the difference between characteristic and choice and the difference between friend and ally. Whatever dude.

          • Arix

            I feel like I’m in the 1950s in the US McCarthy era with this talk of communism. I’m not communist. I’m mainly a socialist. Though socialism does have communist roots. Equality is not giving everyone, no matter what they have, the same thing. It’s giving the people with less more so they can be equal to those who are blessed with more. It’s boosting the bottom to make everyone equal.

            You just don’t seem to understand why safe spaces are important. Though you said in another post that you’re in the UK so it’s more understandable. You guys over there don’t NEED as many safe spaces as much as we do here in the US. People are still being assaulted and killed for who they are over here across the pond. We need places where we can go where we can connect with others like us and be safe.

          • Daryl Lawton

            people do still get killed and assaulted for who they are over here, not as much sure but it still happens.

          • Steven Gregory

            Then we should just shut down bars entirely, that would be safest.

          • Daryl Lawton

            What? That comment was a response to:
            ‘Though you said in another post that you’re in the UK so it’s more
            understandable. You guys over there don’t NEED as many safe spaces as
            much as we do here in the US. People are still being assaulted and
            killed for who they are over here across the pond. We need places where
            we can go where we can connect with others like us and be safe.’

          • Steven Gregory

            You’re twisting “isms” to suit your point of view.
            This has to do with ACCESS, not commodities or wealth.

            Gays don’t get SPECIAL RIGHTS to exercise bias in order to make things “more fair.”

            If gays are allowed to put such signs on bars, then why aren’t people allowed to put similar limitations AGAINST gays on B&Bs, bakeries, florists, restaurants, hotels, apartment buildings, places of employment, and all the other areas where gays have fought for access?

          • Daryl Lawton

            ‘This has to do with ACCESS, not commodities or wealth.’
            Then there is no issue as anyone can access as long as they don’t disrupt.
            ‘Gays don’t get SPECIAL RIGHTS to exercise bias in order to make things “more fair.”‘
            By the definition of fairness giving gay people places where they can be anything other than a minority IS fair, as this is something straight people already have.
            ‘If gays are allowed to put such signs on bars, then why aren’t people allowed to put similar limitations AGAINST gays…’
            Becuase a sign saying “If you aren’t comfortable with gay people don’t come here” is different to actually denying services and goods: one is legal the other isn’t.

          • Balance

            Monica. Nice to chat to you again:

            In response to your comment 17 hours ago: “erm .. no I wasn’t advocating communism!”

            I answer:
            No, I don’t think Arix is saying you are advocating “communism”; it’s Dora Ng who was advocating “communism” whereby there are places where straight people feel safe (everywhere basically) and places where gay people feel safe (gay places and some mixed places), whereas YOU want capitalism, where even those people who have a superabundance (straights (who feel safe anywhere)) can demand yet more spaces (on the spurious grounds of more equality), even though it ends up with the gays having nowhere at all to feel safe.

            Forget the apples analogy, do it with homes:
            Your chat-room opponents are saying that it’s more important for the homeless to have at least some right to accommodation, than it is for greedy landlords who already own 1000 houses to be able to assert their “rights” to buy yet more houses up and become Rachman landlords 2000 times over.

          • Hi balance. It is important for people to know that equality is concerned with the treatment of people going about their lives. Social justice is something else, like as you say rights to housing, adequate food, healthcare and education. But it seems that the two are becoming confused. Sorry, it’s true, I tend to get in a huff when people promote regressive separatist policies and say that is in the name of equality. It would be better if we manage to all move forward together. Sorry if my huff seemed disproportionate.

          • Balance

            Maybe we are getting closer to an agreement or at least agreeing to disagree, then. I’m less into abstractions of equality and more into the more important idea of social justice. And I include the right to safe spaces to socialise as nearly on a par with housing, food etc. Therefore if people are having trouble accessing safe spaces, then their right to safe spaces overrides the abstract right of straight people to “equality”, i.e. their “right” to conquer not only the 1000 straight bars in the town but the 5 gay ones as well. This is the argument several of us have made.

            You seem to have no problem finding convenient safe spaces in your town, and so don’t seem sympathetic to others who find it difficult.

            And I think even when we reach utopia and every straight person has 100s of gay friends etc, there can still be occasions when people want to be amongst their own: eg a men’s gay cruising bar or a trans discussion group.

          • I am a very compassionate person. I am very sympathetic to any person who gets attacked when out and about, especially of course if I happen to know them.

            There are places where I live that I choose to go to and places that I don’t. There are places that are noted as hotspots for trouble and I keep away. That is a matter for me … it is my choice. My issue would be about the abuses from thugs. That is not because I think the owners of these places may treat me ‘less favourably’ which is where the Equality Act will apply. My concern is Public Order offences from bigots and thugs. It is a different argument to Equality offences.

            A pub can not display a sign that is contrary to the Equality Act. It can display signs that state an expectation of behaviour though to reduce risk of harm to others.
            No gays – not allowed. No straights – not allowed.
            No blacks – not allowed etc

            However you can say, ‘Gay people use this pub – we wil welcome all those that respect this.’

            I do take a keen interest in social justice. This is not the same thing as equality as some people seem to be suggesting. The two things have quite specific meanings.

    • Why is it any different to any other venue changing over time to suit their audience? The same thing happens to rock clubs, hipster bars, country pubs, any venue you can think of. They all change as the audience changes. This is a fact of business and entertainment that has existed in the same way for as long as the industry has.

      I’ve seen exactly the same thing happen to our only LGBT club and I really couldn’t care less. I choose not to go there because I don’t enjoy the environment, the music or the general attitudes of the people. It’s the same for everyone choosing a place to go for a drink regardless of sexuality. We all make these choices based on various things about a venue and this should be no different.

      If you don’t like somewhere, you go somewhere else.

      The problem is that we have spent so many years being secluded from society and creating these little ghettos that people have become too used to it.

      We really need to get away from this notion of separatism.

  • Steven Gregory

    Best comment I’ve read on this thread:

    monica: 36 minutes ago:
    Just replace ‘gay or straight’ with ‘white’ and it becomes obvious.

    • Daryl Lawton

      Except it isn’t contextually accurate: straight people are a majority of the population and can assume everyone around them is straight, gay people, on the other hand, want a place where they can be sure that the person they are thinking of is almost certainally LGBT as seen by these enviroments still running.

  • Silly Old Bastard

    What the sign displays is what everyone gay or straight already knows. Gay bars are for gay people and the friends of gay people who go in with them. Nothing wrong in that. Technically, the sign does break the law because of the word ‘only’ but I think we
    can all relax as no one is going to complain about it, and a good thing too. I’d like to see the return of gentlemen only clubs or at the very least rooms. Too many laws telling proprietors what they can or can’t do. No need for many of them.

  • Cal

    That a gay bar would want to maintain it’s status by subtly discouraging random straights is understandable but the wording on this sign is too blunt and appears discriminatory. They should change it.

  • jeeps

    ive been in bars where some guys have not been gay and had a verbal frapping for just saying hello so no they should be accompanied and a polite way of explaining their stats would suffice but they tend to go off on one as if gay people make a pass on them

  • Jeff Levy

    I read like this;

    If you are a Man and CAN’T handle a MAN asking you, to dance or coming on to you than This is NOT a place for YOU… AKA this is a GAY bar… You CAN’T be surprised or Shocked if Another man ask you.. aka it’s not like you couldn’t have known this is NOT a Str8 Bar…

    If you are a Woman and CAN’T handle a WOMAN asking you, to dance or coming
    on to you than This is NOT a place for YOU… AKA this is a GAY bar… You CAN’T be surprised or Shocked if Another woman ask you.. aka it’s not like you couldn’t have known this is NOT a Str8 Bar…

    If you can’t handle seeing a Man in Women’s clothing Or a Woman in Men’s clothing this is not the place for you…

    If you are someone who loves using Derogatory words to or about LGBT’s than this is not a place for you…

    AKA we do not need or want your hateful words here…
    AKA you are welcome here but your Derogatory words are not…

    So NO it is not offensive as I do not have Anti-LGBT as friends…

    kind of hard to be friends with someone who hates you…

    Now could they have worded it better sure…
    like this;
    If you are an A-hole to LGBT’s & their Allies this is not the place for you…

    • TomSatsuma

      You forgot the biggest problem: If you are a woman who thinks that because a guy is gay it means it’s fine to molest him…

      The amount of time I’ve been groped by straight women in gay bars…

      • Jeff Levy

        I didn’t forget it… I wasn’t commenting on it…

        I have been Groped by more Gay men than str8 Women in gay bars/night clubs … I didn’t cove Groping at all…

        Groping wasn’t part of the sign or the topic…

        People trying to make it out that Homosexuals are being against Heterosexuals and it is not about that…
        as Heterosexuals are more than welcome to come in even the haters of Homosexuals they just have to leave their hate at the door…

        • TomSatsuma

          Woah there… I was agreeing with you.

          • Jeff Levy

            ok I replied but they removed it

            Sorry I couldn’t tell that you was Agreeing.. My bad …

            Next time it might help to click the like…

            cause from my point of view it looked like you was complaining I didn’t add Groping to it….

  • JohnM

    No it’s not offensive and elsewhere in Europe like France Germany or Spain, straights respect our spaces. This is a particularly British 21st century “entitlement” issue.

    • It’s an unspoken social agreement that doesn’t need to be fixated upon and it doesn’t need to be said.
      If a straight person wants to go into a gay bar why is that a problem?
      It shouldn’t be, and to suggest that it is is absolutely discrimination. This is no different to a straight bar putting up a sign saying “no gays”.

  • jaz

    It is clearly discriminatory as substituting the words gay for any other group will show (white, black, muslim, jewish, hindu, sikh, christian, etc etc).But are we really in need of such signs? Is being gay such that people have to be warned? Is the sight of two people of the same sex sitting together, maybe even holding hands or even exchanging a kiss, really so offensive that people need to be warned? Do we frighten the horses?
    Perhaps the Bulldog could discretely remove the sign but leave the very obvious gay branding in place.

  • Well, this is disappointing and I won’t be going back there as long as this sign remains.

    We cannot be demanding equality while discriminating against others. A gay bar is only such through voluntary custom and societal position, there is absolutely no justification for making this kind of statement and deliberately acting to antagonize and alienate all others.

    As for the comments of the bar staff, does he think we’re all idiots? The inclusion of the word “only” is an exclamation and assertion. If this was not intended to be discriminatory there would have been no need to add “only” at the end.

    You cannot on the one hand claim that something is “only” for certain people in society while also claiming that it’s not discrimination. It’s the very definition if discrimination.

    The staff member who said that needs to go back to basic education and learn the fundamentals of the English language.

    • Spot on. I tried clicking the up button more that once but nothing happened!

    • Arix

      Actually you need to learn the difference between specific meaning and general meaning. It’s much more likely that they meant “friend” in the general rather than specific. If they had just used “allies” then you’d be fine wouldn’t you?

  • KittyCat

    I have been to clubs that have had a similar sign posted and was hassled at the door for not being gay (I was meeting my friends who were already in the club). They just assumed something about me and the 2 other straight people I was with that we we must be there for some kind of weird kicks. I have been raised open minded about sexuality but I have found myself excluded on more than one occasion because I am straight. I dislike the term straight ally also as I am then reduced to my sexuality, which I was raised to see as a part but not all a person is. I think this sign is unfair as it separates people and could lead to straight people feeling unwelcome without someone whose sexual preference fits it.

  • Scott

    I would like to hear peoples experiences on a similar issue.

    My friend was over from NY this week and she identifies herself as gay.

    We tried to go to KuKlub (on a Tuesday) and She Soho, and were TWICE refused entry to these bars based on my gender!!

    Even thought She Soho carries a strikingly familiar tagline “For ladies and their male guests” we were still refused because I am male.

    There was even suggestion in the conversation that my friend didn’t look like a ‘standard lesbian’ whatever that is…

    Although I agree it is important for those of us who feel we need safety and comfort in an environment with people who predominantly share our sexuality to have these bars. I find it rather upsetting that we can’t be as open and accepting as we expect the rest of society to be!

    • TomSatsuma

      As I’ve said elsewhere here, I’ve been turned away from gay bars in the past because they didn’t believe I was gay.

      It’s come to something when our own community is policing stereotypes.

    • Arix

      That’s actually illegal. Gender discrimination applies to all genders. You could honestly take them to court for denying you entrance just for being male.

      • Scott

        One step ahead of you Arix, I have already emailed my complaint directly to both of these bars (they are actually part of the same company) and have let them know what I expect from them!
        If I don’t receive it I will be contact the authority who issues their venue licences!

        • Arix

          Good. It is one thing to market to a group and their allies/friends and another to not allow people of a certain gender/sex/protected group in.

  • Mitch

    I think it’s just a wrong reading of the sentence… I’m french, and I’ve been there. When I saw this, I just read something like “for Gay clientele and their non-enemies”. Which is non offensive… it’s true that it’s better to have friends in the bar instead of enemies.


    I don’t really think that is discriminatory. It says gay clientele and their friends. It could be easily explained that the friends of the gay people are the straight people that accept them. It just excludes the homophobics.

  • Bonnie Raymond

    What good purpose could be served by people who are “not friends” of the gay community going there?

  • Arix

    I think people are misunderstand the word “friend” in this instance. I think it’s supposed to refer to something like “Friends of the LGBTQ+ community” not specific friends of LGBTQ+ people. If they had used the word “allies” then no one would be in a huff.

    • erm … ally, a state formally cooperating with another for a military or other purpose.

      Think I’ll stick with friend thanks.

      • Arix

        Ally has a certain connotation within the LGBTQ+ community. That was just my point.

        • Sure ok. Forgive me I don’t know where in the world you are and that might make some difference. I’m in the UK. We now have the Equality Act which means that we have the right to complain if we are treated ‘less favourably due to our characteristics.’ It has made a difference. Sure there are problems from time to time. In effect the war as been won, it’s time to foster friendships on both sides. You don’t have to agree. I’m not trying to impose anything, but in my view in my hometown right now, there is no war left to fight.

          • Arix

            Ahhh that’s probably where the differences lie. I’m in the US. We’re still fighting a lot of battles in the war for equality. It’s also interesting because it seems like “ally” might not have the same connotation in the UK as in the US. I thought it was universal. Straight people who side with the LGBTQ+ community call themselves “allies” in the US. It has a very specific connotation here.

            So that equality act refers to any innate characteristics? Even if, say, someone treated you unfavorably due to hair or eye color? Does that apply to religion as well? In the US we only have specific protected groups. They are, federally speaking, sex, race, skin color, religion, disability, age, pregnancy, citizenship, familial status, veteran status and national origin. Unfortunately, gender identity (which is somehow separate from sex) and sexual orientation are only protected at the state level and not in all states.

          • Thanks for that. In the UK, and this are not bragging rights, but it’s probably fair to say, we may be a little ahead of you in this respect. In the UK, an essential part of the Equality Act 2010 concerns itself with the rights of any individual to equal treatment in areas of life, including employment, education, provision of services, health, obtaining goods etc. In addition we are protected by the European Human Rights Act. It is not lawful in the UK to treat a person less favourably than another with a different characteristic. Therefore the pub sign in the pub window which in this case is in Brighton on the South coast of the UK is quite clearly stating that they will treat one individual or group ‘less favourably’ than another. To be able to pursue a claim that is what is at the heart. It is the acid test.

            I hope you can see why I’m banging on about it since where this offence is occuring, is in the UK. People on this thread are stating that the complaints are likely to be made by homophobic christians. Well that may be true, it is equally likely to be any of us who see equality as a justice and any inequality as an injustice. We see it as unjust when any individual, business or organisation seeks to exclude people with a characteristic. We would not allow a club or bar to say that it is gay only or straight only, we would consider a sign implying only gay welcome as unjust as one stating straights only. This is the equality element.

            This is also why we need to be careful about that which is a characteristic and that which is a choice. Sexuality or partner preference if you prefer, is a characteristic but where you like to hang out with your gay friends is clearly not, it is merely a choice. Put simply characteristics trump choices.

            When you were using your numbers of apples analogy, that is perhaps more related to social justice. One could argue that communism is some form social justice and it asserts that every is worth the same, paid the same etc. Social justice is concerned with too many things for me to summarise in a few words here but is quite different to equality.

            I hope this lengthy post has clarified the Uk position for you.
            Best wishes to you and the US.

          • Daryl Lawton

            Except a small number of “gay pubs/bars” isn’t treating gay people more favourably than straight people: “straight pubs/bars” are every non-gay bar IN THE WORLD. gay people would need a lot of bars before they would be treated more favourably.

          • Balance

            Arix, in terms of the UK’s Equality Act 2010, people are covered for:
            age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation.

            Gays are covered! Yipee!

          • Balance

            Hi Monica,

            you said: “in my view in my hometown right now, there is no war left to fight”.

            May I ask what utopic town do you live in? Even here in London we haven’t reached utopia yet. For starters, according to the latest stats, 10% of London is now Muslim. And we all know how Muslims love gays to death.


      • Balance

        I think the point is that some people are complaining about the “friends only” because “friend” may imply you actually have to KNOW someone in the bar to go in, whereas “ally” doesn’t and so is more welcoming to gay-friendly straights who just happen to walk by.

        • The answer is to remove the sign, not to have a bun fight about what the word ‘friend’ means. Can you not see just how damaging that sign is? Look at the range of views in this thread.

          • Balance

            You asked/said: “Can you not see just how damaging that sign is? Look at the range of views in this thread.”

            I answer: Believe me, I’ve spent hours reading every comment on here, and making several of my own. I am sure that more comments on here (of the now 173) are on my side than yours (which doesn’t necessarily make me right).

            I shall continue to ponder this knotty question. I can see the potential damage you mention, but I can also see the very tangible need for safe spaces, which seems more important. In this case, I would prefer the wording “gays and their friends”, which is ambiguous (the word friend may or may not imply that you need to know someone in the bar), but sounds quite friendly with the word “only” removed. Removing “only” might also make it conform to the law?

          • Hi balance … I am doing my best for you and I really have no wish for an argument but you must understand the status of this in law. You would prefer to be able to have gay only public venues; that’s fine, that’s your point of view. Arguing with me just won’t change anything. I had no input into the Equality Act. But it is there. You enjoy such right as to take steps to oppose it if you wish. Until such time as you are successful in bringing about in a change of the law, the sign remains unlawful.

          • Balance

            Monica, you didn’t answer my question of whether removing the word “only” and simply having a sign saying “for gays and their friends” would conform to the law, as it doesn’t explicitly state that non-friends can’t come in, merely that gays and friends are specially encouraged to come in.

  • TiggyTiger

    Tiggy Sagar I’m surprised it’s legal – it’s discriminatory. It’s also saying that people can always tell someone’s sexual orientation. We have a gay bar where I live and taking friends there has helped to make them more gay friendly, in particular my Russian flatmate who had been rather indoctrinated. I was not a gay person taking a straight friend along; we were two straight women going along because it’s our local and because I knew people were friendly there.

    • ECarpenter

      You think the sign should read “Gay people and their friends and enemies”?

  • lord thorpe

    I don’t believe it’s offensive, I think this is a warning to people that they are in a gay venue and they should behave appropriately.

    Many years ago with a group of friends we used to run a “gay one nighter” at various clubs around town. We were the only club in town without a dress code, men had to wear a box jacket, collar and tie to get into any other club. We were the only venue in town to let in punks, we often found that straight women on a girls night out prefered a gay venue because they didn’t get hassled by blokes.
    We found it worked well trouble makers would be ejected and banned regardless of sexual orientation, I had an arrangement with the local gay pub that if one of us banned a troublemaker the other would too.

  • There does seem to be people here who are in doubt regarding the legality of the sign at the pub.

    The pub is in the UK, so UK law applies. In the UK it is forbidden by the Equality Act 2010 to offer a person ‘less favourable’ treatment than another. Mentioned specifically in the act are persons of differing sexuality. This DOES include people who are heterosexual. It is expressly forbidden that a sevice provider provides ‘less favourable’ treatment to a person on their basis of their sexuality. A bar (there can no such thing as a gay bar but a bar can market itself to attract a clientele with a characteristic such as gay if it wishes) can not treat a heterosexual person ‘less favourably’ than a gay or bisexual person. Therefore the sign is unlawful. Sorry that this does not please everyone.

    • Daryl Lawton

      So given that straight people can still enter and are not treated “less favourably” tehn your argument fails utterly; In fact I could argue that ALL non-“gay pubs/bars” are treating LGBT people “less favourably” if you define it so loosely.

      • If that the sign has made them feel that their entry is not appropriate, ie not welcome and they do not enter and move on then they have been have treated ‘less favourably’ than a gay person. The law will have been broken at the point that they walk away feeling disappointed. My definitions as you call them are the ones embedded in UK law.

        • Daryl Lawton

          ‘If that the sign has made them feel that their entry is not appropriate,’
          Only if they are “not appropriate” I.E disruptive.
          ‘ie not welcome and they do not enter and move on then they have been have treated ‘less favourably’ than a gay person.’
          Which as I have previously pointed out also applies to any “straight bar/pub”, so either you make them change or maintain “gay bars/pubs”.
          ‘The law will have been broken at the point that they walk away feeling disappointed.’
          Last I checked disappointment wasn’t illegal, what is illegal is discrimination, which is silly to state for this case given a good 90+% of bars/pubs are “straight”.

          • We clearly aren’t going to agree about what the law intends in the UK, so I’m going to leave it there.

  • Jody Armstrong

    I think LGBT bars should be open and excepting to all with a few exceptions – I’m not a fan of the packs of heterosexual hen parties who hit the LGBT bars. Also not a fan of heterosexual guys who are far too comfortable with lesbian public displays of affection, being leered at in a supposed safe space is not fun.

  • Avalon666

    Are they a christian b&b !

  • Philip Marks

    How about “It’s a gay bar. What do you think is gonna happen here?” That should do for a sign and I suspect the homophobes and sightseers will not pay the cover charge…and the people who are happy to be with gay folks will go in anyway.

    Lets say the day comes when no one cares about these issues and gay people are so normal we don’t have a word for it. We will still need places to congregate because otherwise potential partners will be too rare, the population too ‘diluted’.

  • WilliamJ38748

    All gays must join the military and fight Russia and Iran on the front line, in the name of equal rights and anti-discrimination.

  • Martin Geeson

    I’ve been a Bulldog customer for nearly 30 years. I’m grateful to this space. I’ve met several of my closest friends there.
    The first straight Brighton bar I went in was on Preston Circus. They had a blackboard and chalk over the urinals for customers to vent their opinions without damaging the paintwork. As I prepared to pee, a guy some yards away was carefully writing up the slogan QUEERS DIE SLOWLY.
    I drink with other gay people for preference. Most people socialise with their own kind. I’m tempted to call it human nature.

  • ECarpenter

    It doesn’t say “non-gay people only admitted when accompanied by a gay chaperone”. It just says that if you are gay or if you are generally friendly towards gay people, you are welcome.

    It is also implying that if you are an enemy to gay people as a group, you are not welcome there. Which makes perfect sense – those people sometimes bomb gay bars, please keep them out.

  • jamessavik

    How many str8 venues have the owners or patrons gone out of their way to make GLBT people feel unwelcome?

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