More Fun With Discrimination!

Queerty ReBUTTal: Special Edition

Wow! What a week! We unveiled a new format, a new feature (Trolling Tuesdays, which will be joined by new features in the coming weeks), pumped out some more hits for The Style Issue and even found time to objectify British boys!

While we’d love to spend this week’s Queerty ReBUTTal chatting about these exciting developments, we’ve decided to address a topic that’s come up a number of times this week – the one, the only, the impossibly complex Discrimination! Hooray! We’re sifting through the segregationist stories, after the jump.

The first story came to us from Australia, where Melbourne’s human rights commission granted The Peel Hotel the right to ban straight people and lesbians. We scoffed at the idea – as we do whenever such things are suggested, but not all of you thought it to be so insidious. Reader Paul supports the ban, writing:

I support the ban. I’ve been to bars and clubs that have been run over with hets and it’s annoying. The woman cackle at us like we’re their “Will”; where ever there are drunk straight women, you’ll find drunk straight men, which is even worse; lastly, how the hell are we suppose to know which are the straight men and which are the gay men?

We are not welcome to be ourselves at their bars, yet we’re suppose to open our arms and welcome them to ours?

Alright, we can understand where you’re coming from, Paul, but it’s not as if we’re banned from every gay bar. Yes, there are certain bars where you may feel – or be – threatened, but there are plenty of straight bars where you’d be more than welcome. In fact, one of the Queertians went to a a straight bar just last night and the boys were totally cool. People just have to pick their battles. A black man in the South probably won’t be inclined to go to a bar sporting a burning cross on the lawn, nor would we enter a joint boasting women with big old titties. Not that we don’t like titties – we don’t like the brutish displays of masculinity one often finds with them.

On this same post, reader Martini-Boy wrote:

Me and my boy once agreed to go into a gay bar and chill out for a while with a couple of our lady-friends. Lo and behold, we had to change plans when the boyfriend of one of our friends said he didn’t want to go because he felt uncomfortable with the idea of having men hit on him.

Interestingly enough, the ladies all decided to go to a straight bar instead (to please the guy), without even considering how we would feel about being hit on (aka the opposite side of the story).

If your ladies crumbled for their man, that’s not mean-spirited or homophobic. That’s just lame. Not as lame as him being scared to go into a gay bar, but lame just the same. As for you tagging along to a straight bar and not feeling comfortable – again, that’s your problem. We don’t mean to dismiss your emotions – straight people can be intimidating at times – but if you aren’t comfortable there, don’t go. And if you do go, have enough confidence in yourself not to censor your actions. And have faith that your friends will defend you. If they don’t, they’re not friends.

• Meanwhile, Canadian Audrey Vachon’s fuming after being booted from a gay bar. Vachon entered the establishment for a civil drink with her father, but found hate instead when a staffer told her they don’t welcome women. Bless the aforementioned reader Paul, because he added loads to this story, including his assertion that straight people go to gay bars to laugh at gays.

I don’t believe the straight people who go to gay bars will be any more friendly to our equality than the straight people who go pride parades are.

Many people who view us as a spectacle, rather than as people, are the same people who either have no trouble denying us equal rights, or are too apathetic to care. And many of these people are those who go to gay bars and pride parades.

Now, we’ve been going to gay bars since te dawn of time and we’ve never seen anything like that. Ever. Maybe it’s because we live in New York and there aren’t as many barbarians walking the streets. Maybe we’re just not paying attention. It seems to us, however, that if straights are up in a gay bar heckling, the homos ought to do something about it. We’re not advocating violence, but you can certainly deal with the situation. Perhaps you could get a little menacing. Or, better yet, give them something to hoot and holler about – like making out with your man (or woman). That’ll drive them wild with insecurity and shoo those straights straight outta there.

• Paul mentions straight people who go to pride parade. A prime example of such a straight can be found in the somewhat ironically named Christian preacher, Ruben Israel. Israel caught our eye this morning after he threatened to sue Chicago Pride for prohibiting his involvement. Ruben’s argument hinges on the alleged assault on his freedom of religion. Pretty nonsensical on the surface, but we’ve got to admit he’s got a point. Unless he’s promising violence, there’s no reason why Ruben shouldn’t be allowed to march in gay pride. Maybe then he’d learn the real meaning of discrimination. And we totally dig reader NYC Studman’s suggestion, “Let them march and ignore them.” Good advice, but maybe not as good as QJersey, who suggests pride marchers bring some tomatoes with Israel’s name written all over them.

• The week-long discussion came to a head this morning when we remarked on homo-journo Emil Steiner’s critique of closed-off queers. You may recall Steiner pointed out the hypocrisy inherent in a gay rights movement fighting for segregation. Great comments on that one, readers. Paul came out again to ask why we should treat straights equally if we’re second class citizens. We understand where you’re coming from, Paul, but you have to admit that’s a bit childish. Need we remind you about how an eye for an eye makes the world going blind? Or perhaps it’s more appropriate to say, “Two wrongs don’t make right”. Why sink to these people’s level? You’re better than that, we know you are. Reader seniceguy complicates matters when he brings up the subject of women’s only gyms. Too true, seniceguy. Reader Mr. B came back to remind us all that there are men’s only venues. Although, he specifies that they are for gay men:

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.

Not so. Yes, gay men may use these facilities more than straights, but there’s no rule saying you have to be gay to enter a bathhouse. How in the world could you police that? Mr. B continues:

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.

Word. Let security deal with the schmucks. You kids just worry about being pretty. And if anyone fucks with you, give ’em a piece of your mind. If that doesn’t work, give us a call. We know people. But, whatever you do, don’t go around dismissing entire social groups just because of a few assholes. Remember, there are assholes in gay communities, too.

No, we didn’t answer the great discrimination question, but hopefully we’ll all think about this over the weekend. Fuck, we just sounded like our collective mother. That’s even scarier than segregation.

Have a good, safe weekend!