Sexual Segregation Sucks

Debunking Discrimination

Israel Ruben may wonder why Chicago Pride banned his anti-gay ways, but some gay activists are questioning queer communities’ segregationist trend. Two discrimination-related news stories grabbed headlines this week. First came news that an Australian bar called The Peel Hotel won the legal right to exclude straights and lesbians. Then came word that a Montreal gay bar booted a woman named Audrey Vachon. Both cases rubbed us the wrong way. The idea that we as a marginalized social group could endorse discrimination while also fighting for our own rights borders on absurd.

Homo-journo Emil Steiner agrees. Comparing the The Peel Hotel case with the segregation affirming case, Plessy v. Ferguson, Steiner writes:

On the surface, certainly everyone deserves a place where they can drink freely, but the problem with requesting separate facilities is that it endorses the notion that our lifestyles are so disparate that co-existence is impossible. That stance is one that encourages intolerance and disunity with a treacherous and slippery slope. If the Peel is only “convivial” without heteros, perhaps Hooters is so only without gays, and Augusta National without blacks? Given how hard the homosexual community has battled to achieve their current level of acceptance, it seems not only short-sighted, but also self-destructive to take such a hypocritical stance.

We do ourselves a disservice by sponsoring segregation. Not only does it punch a hole through homo rights ideology, it deprives people the opportunity to meet people from different social groups. We’re all about the gays, but we love our straight allies just as much. We’d hate for them to be left out in the cold while we party at a fags only bar.

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  • mytwocents

    While I do not support segregation I do understand the need to get away. I have often at gay bars seen straight couples clinging to each other basically gawking, or groups of straights coming in to see the queers for a lark. Since we live in a world dominated by hostile straights I feel that being in the company of people like myself is the only time I feel completely at ease. Pride is a time to celebrate who we are and I personally feel the day is a little spoiled by intrusive homobigot spewing their crap. Its not about segregation but rather a right to escape from assholes.

  • Paul Raposo

    Until straight people and their establishments treat us equal, why should we treat them equal?

    We welcome them into our churches, they kick us out of theirs; we welcome them into our bars, they kick us out of theirs; we welcome them into our neighborhoods, they kick us out of theirs; we welcome them into our businesses, they kick us out of theirs.

    All this feel good let’s be kind to each other bullshit is what has caused all the erosion of LGBTQ equality in America.

    Being “nice” gets you nothing but Constitutional bans. It’s bizarre that 5% of the population must kow-tow to 95% of the population and hold their widdle hands and sooth their hurt feewings.

    Maybe they’ll finally know what it really like to be discriminated against.

    Every race and religion and gender is permitted to feel chagrined, but apparently we are not.

  • seniceguy

    We all ways here about discrimination of woman but there are woman only health clubs and sporting events, walks and so on. So why can’t there be gay only men only venues and events as well. ???

  • Mr. B

    There are lots of gay men only venues and events–like sex clubs and gyms, where men will be naked and otherwise very openly expressing their sexuality and would feel comfortable if they know that only other gay men will be there. And actual sex clubs tend to be “private” (members only) anyway–very different from refusing one stranger at the door when another is allowed in. Most gay bathhouses, for instance, which aren’t all private clubs, only admit men at the front desk. And then some of them have women-only nights–it’s the same courtesy. And there are women-only sexuality-related private clubs and events too.

    Most women-only clubs, like gyms and such, aren’t to protect the fragile little birds from evil men (as if!), but just to give the ladies a break from gawking, trolly guys. I’m not sure what Seniceguy means by “woman only sporting events,” as I’m a dyke-friendly fag who has been to lots of women’s sports events (and bars!) and have always been welcome. Now, there are safe-space events for women, straight or otherwise, who have experienced sexual assault and/or domestic violence, and that kind of speaks for itself–if you’re somewhere to recover, you have special needs. But other than some stuff on the more extreme end of things, which doesn’t really count here, I’ve never seen a women-only event that didn’t have good reason for being women-only. (Now, trans discrimination, in men’s OR women’s groups, is something else entirely and not relevent to what I’m talking about.)

    I’m going to be bold here and say that while straight tourist couples are obnoxious when they go slumming to gawk at the gays, women in general don’t often go around trying to bother gay guys. Sure, we’ve all heard of the clingy fag hag, but in my experience bars and clubs that cater to a male clientele tend to take care of themselves and subtly weed out who’s not welcome. In my area, women aren’t forbidden entry to any “men’s” bars, but you won’t find a lot of girls there. And the ones who do come come to gawk or try to adopt some gays a la Kathy Griffin just give up and leave when they realized they’re being ignored. The ones who stick around are pretty chill and are usually with friends anyway.

    I’m all for safety and freedom to associate with whom we want to associate with, but I agree with Queerty on this one. We have the right to a safe space, and bars should be allowed to refuse entry to anyone who’s acting sketchy. (That’s why bars have bouncers and/or security guards!)We’re grown-ups–we queers have been taking care of ourselves for years and don’t need to police people’s sexuality. Or gender.

  • cjc

    Paul, I think this all goes back to the “we should be better than they are, and treat them better than they treat us” philosophy-crap that has taken over parts of the gay intelligensia (witness the chiding by gay columnists when many of us wanted to tap-dance on the grave of Jerry Falwell when he croaked). Look, I’m not Jesus, and I can’t simply “turn the other cheek.” (tee-hee.)

    I can understand both sides of the argument, but I really wish that str8s would have better sense than to go “slumming” around our safe places.

  • nycstudman

    Paul, um, fighting discrimination with more discrimination is not exactly a winning strategy.

    I don’t see all this heterophobia. I’ve gone to “str8 nights” at clubs & str8 bars and have never felt hassled. I’m sure there are places where queens would be hassled, but I can’t see it as such a big deal that we have to have gay-only spaces.

    Also, if alcohol is served, it’s against the law in many states to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. The law works both sides of the street, folks.

  • qwer

    OK, I know this bar, the Peel [it was my ‘local’ for 2 years], and unfortunately, I know Australian society and the nasty side of it’s homophobia. When I was first told of this story I reacted in much the same way as you have. But this is a good example of ‘know the facts before you make judgment’. This bar was getting constantly raided by aggressive and thuggish straight guys who went there esp to intimidate and ridicule, as well as large groups of ‘hen parties’ who went to gawk at the ‘funny poofters’. Clearly, a gay guy is not going to stay around or keep going to a place like that, and so the guys that run it had to take action. The reality is that non-gay friends of gay people and straights who are friendly will not be refused entry, they are probably already well known [like my girlfriends there].

  • Mr. B

    That’s why security is important, qwer. Obviously a bouncer can’t screen everybody, but the known troublemakers can be banned from the bar and if, heaven forbid, someone gets in and causes trouble, they get thrown out. Obviously straight bars aren’t usually targeted by haters, but thugs get in there and cause trouble too and they get dealt with in the same way.

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