A gay bar opening next week in Winooski, Vermont has found itself at the center of considerable controversy due to its proposed name, which some people are finding offensive and transphobic.
Mister Sister will be the first exclusively gay bar to open in Burlington in eleven years.
As Towleroad reports, owner Craig McGaughan insists he meant no offense and wanted to come up with a name that supported inclusivity.
As he wrote on Facebook:
Like all names, Mister Sister will have different associations, interpretations and will be perceived differently by individuals.
My interpretation of Mister Sister is one of inclusiveness. It is a term that has been used among gays and Drag Queens for decades intended to be positively gender-bending.
Mister Sister is for the Misters and the Sisters, those that identify as both and everyone in between.
The official description of Mister Sister is “a gay bar for him, her and them”. I have been very intentional in using a pronoun that isn’t specifically male or female as a way to include anyone that identifies as part of the LGBTQ community.
Thank you to all of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans folks and our allies that have been supportive of Mister Sister. We look forward to welcoming everyone on March 10th when we reopen Oak45 as Vermont’s only LGBTQ bar.
He adds that “the LGBT community in Vermont has been missing a place to call our own and through luck, a lot of support and hard work, we have the space to offer that.”
But some people think the name is offensive to the transgender community.
Talking to the Burlington Free Press, resident Wiley Reading said he feels “‘mister sister’ is a transmisogynistic slur, and it is deeply uncomfortable.”
Josie Leavitt, interim executive director of the Pride Center of Vermont, agrees.
“Personally, I do find the name offensive,” she said. “I know Craig, and Craig is a good man. … His unwillingness to meet is what I’m finding to be the most troubling.”
The drama has led to the resignation of two board members, Timer Adams and Bailey Cummings, who, according to the Argus Press, said “they won’t be part of an organization that won’t take a stance on issues that affect the people it serves.”
Do any of you think the name Mister Sister is offensive to the transgender community, or is this whole controversy much ado about nothing? Sound off in the comments below.