Current Affairs

Lesbian turned away from men-only gay bar in Torquay

Jessica Geen July 22, 2009
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A lesbian who was turned away from a gay bar because she is female has complained about her “disgusting” treatment.

Rebecca Hill and her partner were drinking at the upstairs bar of the Key West Hotel in Torquay last Sunday, just after the town’s Pride festival.

They then tried to go to the downstairs bar, known as Tom’s Cruise Bar but were told they could not enter because they were women.

Hill told the South Devon Herald Express: “If this was a working’s man club turning away women people would say it was wrong.

“I think it is disgusting that after all the strides the gay movement has made over the years there are places still discriminating.

“For years gay people weren’t being accepted in society. Key West can’t say ‘out and proud’ if it’s only for men.”

The bar’s owner has said that as it advertises as a gay men’s resort, it reserves the right to turn away women and believes this is within the law.

Co-owner of the Key West Hotel Peter Gordon said: “Men can be naturists in the garden and we don’t want lesbians or straight men kicking off because it is in their face.

“Our priority is our guests.

“We did explain the rules to one woman and told her she was welcome to drink upstairs.”

Samantha Mangwana, a solicitor at Russell Jones & Walker, commented: “While there are some old-fashioned exceptions to the general rule that it is unlawful discrimination to refuse to provide facilities or services because of someone’s sex, these have not been reviewed in line with EC law, and may well be ripe for challenge; particularly in circumstances such as this, where the behaviour is so clearly at odds with the spirit of the equality legislation.”

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