Having booked X Factor band One Direction (voted out in the finals) to perform at his own birthday at G-A-Y on Saturday night, the London nightclub promoter Jeremy Joseph wanted to make sure no straight chicks were going to crash the party at Heaven and make it all co-ed. So he tweeted on Saturday things like “My birthday wish is for little girls to realise that G-A-Y is a lesbian and gay club so there’s only one direction and that’s no direction for them” and “hoping the name G-A-Y, isnt too Subtle???? It’s G-A-Y not Str8.” That didn’t go over well with the screaming straight teen fans of One Direction, nor some gays, who called out Joseph on his obvious discrimination.
And while it’s illegal for businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation (uh, hello), gay clubs can restrict access if they think straight patrons are going to make the environment unwelcoming to its queer clientele. Except having some straight girls in the audience doesn’t suddenly turn G-A-Y into some den of homophobia; it just changes the balance a little bit. And for all the insistence our community has made about barring businesses from discriminating against us, especially nightclubs, it makes no sense for The Gays to then tell The Straights they are unwelcome.
And so that’s what happened: straight girls were turned away on Saturday night, though whether it’s because of capacity issues or their sexual orientation is up for debate. (Though I’m going to assume their refused admittance happened for the same reason a group of straight guys get turned away by bouncers at hot nightclubs with the “it’s a private party” excuse.)
And while London’s gay community owes Joseph much in the way of thanks for helping shape the Soho nightlife scene, since when did we become the arbiters of the “right” sexuality for entry? We didn’t. And sometimes having some straight girls in a sea of gay boys can enhance the evening. Joseph isn’t wrong to make sure he had a room full of cute gay bois to celebrate his birthday with. But banning all straight chicks — and publicly telling them they aren’t wanted — is neither good for the community, nor good for business.