We’ve (semi-jokingly) railed about how straight people are taking over gay bars, but in Copenhagen, Denmark, one queer watering hole drew a line in the sand and asked a heterosexual couple to leave after they were caught kissing. On April 20, a group of gay and straight friends stopped into Never Mind in Pisserenden for some drinks. All was well until Mathilde Karlsen Hansen kissed her boyfriend—that’s when a bouncer quickly told her such activity wasn’t allowed.
One of the men accompanying Hansen was Jobbe Joller, founder of the group Homosocialt Fællesskab (Gay Social Community), who tells the Danish website Homotropolis about his confrontation with the doorman:
I told the bouncer that it had to be discrimination against heterosexuals to say that they were not allowed to kiss. [He] replied that it was unacceptable to conduct in that kind of behaviour at a gay place and that Never Mind receives a lot of emails from its gay guests concerning the high number of straight guests that visit the bar.
I asked him if it was not the same as saying that black people are not allowed to kiss in Never Mind, but he disagreed and told me that the owner of Never Mind may decide who can kiss and who can’t kiss in the bar…
I told him in a very serious tone that what they had going on was sick, and that LGBT people across Denmark struggled for acceptance and equal rights for all, while Never Mind fought against it. The discussion evolved into a quarrel in which I told him at one point that he was crazy and the most arrogant fool I had ever met.
Hansen says when the doorman initially confronted her about the kiss, “I frankly thought that it was a joke.”
The next day, Joller contacted the bar about the incident and Never Mind’s no-kissing policy for straight couples. Owner Christian Carlsen explained that the bar was one of the few gay spaces remaining in Copenhagen. “It is important to the gay community that Never Mind is kept as a gay place,” he wrote. “So it is therefore not allowed for heterosexuals to kiss and so on.”
Carlsen said the real problem is straight guys, who are often brought out to the bar by their girlfriends and then cause problems with Never Mind’s gay clientele:
Problems often arise when the girls, late at night, call their straight male friends and think it’s a good idea that they come by and join the party. They are often quite intoxicated, and most straight guys unfortunately have it a bit difficult with gay men. This often results in a serious situation which our security people than have to handle.
While we blanch at the idea of discriminating against anyone at a gay bar, we can sympathize with the desire to keep a gay bar, well, gay. What do you think—is there a reasonable way to maintain the queer spirit of a venue without instituting such draconian measures? Give us your opinion in the comments section.
Y’know, when those queens were throwing bricks at the Stonewall Riots, we doubt they imagined we’d be facing these kinds of problems one day.
Photo: Never Mind