All 21-year-old Hannah Riley wanted was to celebrate her friend’s birthday at one of the swankiest gay clubs in London. But her fun was completely ruined when she was refused entry into the club. Now, she wants to the world to know about the injustice she suffered at the hands of a merciless doorman.
It all started last Friday evening when Riley and her friends went to the popular SoHo nightclub G-A-Y.
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“We were about halfway to the front,” Riley, a lesbian, tells Buzzfeed in an interview, “and one of the security staff–a woman–said to me, ‘Er, ladies, have you got membership cards?’ And we said, ‘No.’ And she replied, ‘Well, you girls can’t come in then.’”
Riley tried appealing to the nearby doorman, but she says he just looked at her with a stone cold expression on his face and replied: “You’ve already been told you can’t come in, so why are you still here?”
So Riley and her friends went to another gay club called Heaven. When they got there, she says they faced a similar dilemma. As they approached the female security guard, Riley recalls, “she asked if we had membership cards and we said, ‘No we don’t,’ and she said, ‘Right, you can’t come in.’”
She continues: “I said, ‘This is really sexist,’ and left.”
Two police officers happened to be standing nearby, so Riley approached them. At this point, she was crying, but the officers were unsympathetic towards her plight.
“I said, ‘They didn’t let me in because I was a woman.’ They [the police officers] just laughed at me.”
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Defeated and upset, she and her friends caught the bus home. Their Friday night had been completely sabotaged.
In response to the treatment, Riley penned an open letter to G-A-Y on her blog, accusing the club of practicing poor “allyship” and not “embracing a diverse community.” She also criticized the two police officers “whose job it is to protect me” for laughing at her when her feelings were clearly very hurt.
Riley hopes that by sharing her story with the world, she will raise awareness to the issue of unfair treatment of women by gay men.
“I’ve had really awful experiences in [straight] clubs,” she says. “So I don’t like going to places that aren’t gay, so when I got turned away I was so upset. If I can’t go to the most famous gay bars in London, [then] where should I go?”
She continues: “I think the LGBT scene is just for gay men. It’s sad that women are put off going to gay bars. Why put yourself through queuing up if there’s a strong chance you’re not going to get in?”
As for bathrooms in gay bars, that’s a huge problem, too, Riley says.
“I’ve been to gay venues and used the men’s toilet because there’s a huge queue in the women’s. That should be a place where people don’t give you a funny look, and still the men are like, ‘Why are you in here?’”
She continues: “Gay men could be more open-minded and recognize the problem [of long lines in the women’s bathroom] and recognize they are in a privileged position: They can go out on a gay night and be surrounded by gay men in a place that caters exactly for their needs.”
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So, how happy are the lesbian bars to let men in? Why doesn’t little miss entitlement just get a membership, and don’t the men have to have them too? Finally, if the bathrooms are an issue take it up with the heifers that spend an hour in their running their mouths instead of just peeing and washing their hands. Stop trying to take over the men’s room. You certainly don’t belong in there.
Maybe I’m missing something, but this doesn’t read like they were not allowed in because they were women, but because they did not have memberships to the club. That isn’t sexist, it’s business.
Gay bars are specific for men, yes, which does make them slightly sexist, but there are lesbian only bars out there as well. Women have been allowed to enter gay bars for a very long time. Yes, the bathrooms might suck for women, but it is because gay bars, again, are meant for men. She would have been allowed entry, though, if she did have a membership card. That is not a sexist issue. Men are forced to have membership cards as well. The cards are in place for capacity issues so the gay bars don’t get shit down for breaking the law. Someone should educate this girl about that because she is young. She was visiting two very popular bars on a Friday night, of course she is going to need a membership card. It’s the same as paying a cover.
We should all have such “problems”.
So in other words she wanted to get in without paying, she has a history of complaining about gay clubs not having more bathroom space for women, and is so entitles that not getting into a club for free made her start crying and run to the police.
Sorry, Miss Thing, the job of the police is not to respond to claims of ‘hurt feelings’. Un-bunch your panties and get over it.
@jheryn: My thoughts exactly.
If her claim was that her application for membership, were denied due to gender discrimination – then her claim would lie there, not due to barred entry here as it directly involves said club membership. I can see, if these ‘memberships’ become too expensive, or too exclusive, or too much so based on race, religion, creed, sexuality, sex et al. However, she has to prove that case.
As for her actions – horrendous. She is complaining about police not responding to her because she was emotionally hurt. Is her emotional distress even comparable to 1% of the calls and responses that the Police force has to make daily? As corrupt and abusive the Police force can be – they also have a job to do, and the majority of police officers out there are overworked, underpaid, and simply incapable of tackling her redress when the nation around her is in much more dire need. This, is “_ privilege” at its best.
I thought the byline was being unnecessarily condescending until I read the article… now, I think you were being too nice. And Buzzfeed… anytime you see something written there, that’s the green light to ignore it.
I always advocate travel. This is why.
I wonder how this situation would have played out in Saudi Arabia? Or, Iran? Or, Brunei? Or, half of the other nations in the World – still!
She has spirit – yes, she do – but she could be focusing that misplaced anger towards causes that really need a voice right now. Pick any of the identifiers that she used to describe herself, and any of the parts of her that felt offended – and look East. London is one of the dreams if you’re an underprivileged LGBT person from anywhere else in the World. I am not saying that change is not necessary there, but let’s not completely lose perspective.
Doormen at any club in the world pick and choose who gets in. This isn’t new, is she really this ignorant?
If she was wearing the outfit, hair and makeup in the photo, I wouldn’t allow her to get on a bus.
This is a non-story and most likely a made up story at that.
Oh yes,thank you Queerty (AKA: Gay Left Hype Machine) for reporting on yet another “gay hate crime”. As we all know, playing the victim is very politically valuable to the Gay Left.
Queerty, always supplying the victimized Narrative with a lot of drama in which there is no real victim.
That poor little Snowflake. 🙁
Wow, gay bars for men don’t go out their way making accommodations for women… news at 11.
No membership, no entry. Not really hard to figure that one out.
But in the US (that was London) I have experienced the bar using the “membership” thing only for people they want to turn away. It’s a “club” with “membership” but nobody gets asked until it’s some one they want to turn away. Also in the US it always seemed to be the SM, Leather bars with backrooms that didn’t want women
“If I can’t go to the most famous gay bars in London, [then] where should I go?”
The “most famous gay bars in London” probably would not let me in either and I’m a gay man, but it would be because I’m old and fat. I shouldn’t be arguing for being exclusionary, but I don’t think the club’s would last long without being selective.
Get a membership.
I once stood in line for a club that was predominantly one race and we got turned away cos we were not that race. That was horrible. Next we went to a lesbian bar (3 males) and we were allowed in. We didn’t realize it was a lesbian bar till we went in but it was nice and cosy and everyone was friendly, no nasty stares.
If they refused her simply because of her gender then imo that is wrong. The membership card thing sounds just like their way of covering their asses to shut down accusations of discrimination. Pretty sure i have been to G-A-Y without a membership but granted that was a while ago. But knowing a gay club was so discriminatory, even if it was in my favour i find it unsettling.
She’s so angry she’ll probably join ISIS now.
The fact that you cannot make a post without somehow using it to attack the “Left” really does indicate some sort of derangement.
Ahh Queerty, once again you leave out the most relevant facts when ripping off a piece of original journalism. The Buzzed article makes it clear that she was in a group of men and women and only the women were denied entry on the basis of not having a membership.
I would have more sympathy had I not spent my twenties being denied entry to one gay club after another based simply on my looks or lack thereof.
@DistingueTraces: In my 20s the NYC clubs basically went by keeping out certain ethnicities more than basing admission on looks. But different places had different odd rules.
“She continues: ‘I think the LGBT scene is just for gay men.'”
Well, yes it is. Gay bars are for gay men not the entire alphabet soup we’re forced to endure for the sake of who knows what.
Mens gay bars are NOT for women looking for a night out without being hassled. It’s for men who want men, we don’t want bachelorette parties at our strip shows, we don’t want our girl bffs to be our wing-women. Stay at home or go to your own bars and learn how to deal.
“I think the LGBT scene is just for gay men. It’s sad that women are put off going to gay bars.” This is a gay bar; it is not an LGBT bar/scene; it is not a wymyn’s bar; and it is not a queer bar. It is a gay bar. And it is one of the few places that gay men can congregate and not worry about being judged — except by one another!
“Gay men could be more open-minded and recognize the problem [of long lines in the women’s bathroom] and recognize they are in a privileged position: They can go out on a gay night and be surrounded by gay men in a place that caters exactly for their needs.” YES, exactly, and I don’t want that small sliver of time messed with by people who think that they’re entitled to entry into what is supposed to be my safe space.
Here’s the myth: just because people lace some letters together or because they use an umbrella term, everything that I helped to build is for everyone and that I have to yield, always, to their demands.
I work with and socialize with people across the alphabet. But from time to time, I need/want to retreat to that safe space (and to me, because of my age, it is a safe place) where gay men congregate and can just be. When I read articles like this one, my blood just boils.
A lot of these gay clubs are very anti-woman and that includes homosexual women. Women can get away with a lot of things that men can’t – this breeds resentment in gay men.
Gay men don’t like how women exploit double standards to receive preferential treatment.
Too bad she can’t read the website where it’s clear their policy about rejecting people who aren’t members. I think everyone deserves clubs where they can be with similar people. I couldn’t get into a lesbian club as a gay man without having women with me. When I go to straight clubs, the women give me total attitude as if I want to get in their pants. And I can’t get a drink because the male bartenders pass my by for women patrons. Nightclubs in Los Angeles are notoriously choosy about admission based on looks. Clubs are all about providing a certain atmosphere. I don’t go to gay clubs just to have a bunch of women there changing the vibe of the place. I don’t go to leather bars dressed like a preppy prude. Don’t complain when you go to someone else’s exclusive club and expect them to bend he rulss and accommodate you. I can’t tell you how much I hate seeing a group of women at a gay men’s club. Especially bachelorette parties and birthdays!!!!!!!
Heaven reserves the right to refuse admission to those deemed to be wearing unsafe footwear, specifically high heels which could pose a safety issue for those wearing them. Heaven also reserves the right to refuse admission to those who are not G-A-Y members on its club events or who are not recognised as regular customers by staff. Heaven will not admit larger parties and this includes hen nights and stag nights because of previous issues with such groups. If you require any sort of clarification please contact the venue directly.
I love how she defeats her own argument. Gay men should cater to women at a club that caters to gay men? How does that make any sense at all? Maybe she should work on changing the straight clubs that are so horrendous. It wouldn’t be a gay club if it was full of women!!!
“They can go out on a gay night and be surrounded by gay men in a place that caters exactly for their needs.”
@Brian: Damn you’re a freak.
@Sukhrajah: But other causes don’t highlight the grave injustice she personally faces and thus only cares about…
Gay men’s clubs are built on a specific type of sex act. By nature, they are resentful of anybody who doesn’t fit into that sex act. Women interfere with male-male sexuality, and are thus considered a threat.
A lot of women need to realize that male homosexual desire is not woman-friendly. By combining two male attractive forces, such desire morphs into a wild beast, an unbridled centaur driven by orgasmic, hormonal forces.
Male homosexual desire is probably the most Fascist force out there.
Funny how everyone here refuses to support this woman when she is discriminated by a gay bar but most likely still wants her support for our rights. Discrimination is ugly. We are discriminated against enough that we should not do it to others. If she causes a problem then have management or security ask her to leave, but seemingly practicing a sexist discrimatory policy is not at all acceptable, and the excuse that it is a gay bar is completely bogus.
She isn’t discriminated against. Did she buy a membership? Ooops, no she didn’t. She is used to getting in to clubs for free, probably getting straight guys to buy her drinks, and additionally, the fact that she admits going into hysterics to the police indicates that she probably wasn’t the most stable person when she was trying to get in the club.
(a) Buy a membership.
(b) At a time when transgender men and women risk being beaten up if they use one restroom or arrested if they use another, it’s incredibly offensive that she’s whining that she’s not being accommodated for using the men’s room in a club that’s probably filled with 90% men. The idea that the women’s rooms are busier probably isn’t as true in this particular club.
(c) I have no problem with women going to gay clubs. I do have a problem with people shrieking at the top of their lungs, men or women. Before gay people could marry, I had a problem with bachelorette parties coming into gay clubs flaunting their marriages and expecting the entire bar to give a fuck about their privilege. And I have major problems with women who would bypass the line at the bar to push the tits to the front, expecting the bartenders to drop everything to serve them first, and expecting whoever’s in the front of the line to not only tolerate it but to also pay for your drink. That might work in the Marina, but this is the Castro and I’m more interested in your boyfriend’s dick than your tits.
Now, the women who hang out with their gay friends and are just part of the gang are totally cool and I’m absolutely happy to see them. It’s the ones who expect to be treated like entitled royalty like they are when they go to frat-bro bars that I could do without.
With that outfit she shouldn’t have any trouble getting in on 80s night.
It’s no secret that gay bars are not lesbian friendly (although in NYC, women are always given admission.) By the same token, lesbian bars are not gay friendly. It’s always been that way. It’s a given, but this spoiled little bitch decided to make a big issue out of it.
Enough already! Why the f.ck do you lesbians have to go a gay bar in the first place. Find your own and leave us alone! You have already highjack our struggles for GAY rights, GAY Pride and disgustingly succeeded in putting the “L” first in LGBT. F.ck off!!!!
It has been my experience that many who are in the business of demanding equality often have the most myopic view of the construct. I hold that until we start to pay equal attention to INTRA-community dynamics under the LGBT umbrella, we will simply never be a community that lives and breathes joy. Many won’t admit it, but the damage done to one’s psyche/spirit from within the community often outweighs the BS we have to navigate with in the so-called hatemongers circle.
I dunno, in the letter itself what she’s describing sounds pretty blatant, with the “membership” thing just an excuse. (Especially check out the comment from someone who actually had a membership card to produce when this happened to them. Didn’t work, they still found an excuse to keep her out.)
Kind of side-eyeing this writeup for trying to make her sound as ridiculous as possible.
Maybe if she had a brain, she’d have realized a membership was required. Smh at dumbo lesbo
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