door policy

Was G-A-Y Promoter Jeremy Joseph Right To Ban Str8 Girls To Keep His X Factor Bday Gay-Only?

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.

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  • jason

    Jeremy Joseph is a turd. He’s a vile little man who brings disgrace to the GLBT community. If he wanted to have a gays only party, he should have held it in his own home. Stop using the public facilities to discriminate, Mr Joseph. A bar has a license courtesy of the public. It’s called a public liquor license.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    Anytime you let any number of hets into a gay bar/club, they will eventually overrun it. I have no issue with barring hets from gay clubs, or events. Fuck ’em. They have thousands of their own bars to party in. Leave ours alone.

  • Cam

    Anybody been to an English club with a bunch of straight girls? The ones that aren’t throwing up are usually picking fights. I don’t think he should be setting up bouncers at the door to keep straights out, HOWEVER, all he would need to do is have bouncers around to enforce a code of behavior and half of the girls would be tossed out within 15 min. anyway.

  • Lamar

    Doesn’t this follow the same logic that is used to ban men – gay or straight from gyms at certain times or on certain days. The whole point is that women feel more comfortable and can enjoy the company of other women when the visit. Similarly sometimes men just want to enjoy the company of other men, I don’t see why this should be illegal if discrimination that benefits women (such as discrimination in jobs) is allowed.

  • Brian

    Actually, I’ve been to G-A-Y Heaven (as well as Bar and Late) dozens of times… and this entire thing is completely out of control.

    It’s great that people are becoming accepting enough that they’d be willing to go to a traditionally gay bar in order to see a performance. But Joseph does absolutely have the right to limit attendees to the LGBT community.

    People are so quick to jump to assumptions of reverse racism (prejudice, really) when it makes no sense. The LGBT community is already marginalized, and that fact is what has required us to form smaller communities and become patrons of places like Heaven. We have every right to maintain these spaces, as they serve a certain social purpose. It’s not about the drinking or the performance – it’s about maintaining a safe space for gay men and lesbians to exist.

  • David

    Let the girls sue him if they’re not happy.

  • Harrison

    Sorry that this is my comment, I don’t really have anything to say on the article, but… unless they’ve aged about ten years since December when the show ended, that’s not a picture of One Direction.

    See here for a photo of them:

  • Benjamin

    Wow. I’m super conflicted about this whole issue. On one hand, instituting a policy that bans straight people from gay establishments is, clearly, discriminatory. On the other, I’ve seen straight girls come into gay bars with their obnoxious homophobic boyfriends, shooting everyone stink eye, talking shit all night, and generally making nuisances of themselves. It’s annoying. It makes people uncomfortable. My gut impulse is to say, frankly, fuck straight people. When I can walk up to a guy in a straight bar and ask him out, and not have to worry that I am about to enter some horrific “gay panic” nightmare, then we can get rid of our segregated little bars, and we’ll all just party together. When two girls can make out in the local college pub without being hooted at by every frat boy with a lesbian fetish, then we can let this go. When we can all go out and queen it up at the local sports bar, and not be informed about what awful people we are, and how we are all bound for the fires of hell because of who we are, then we will fling open our rainbow colored doors to every Dick and Jane on the planet. Until then, fuck off. Can’t we just have this one, straight people? Can’t we just have a couple places in town we can go and have a good time and know that we can enjoy a space of relative safety and peace? Is that so much to ask?

    To be honest, I like the segregation. It makes sense. Our two communities are looking for different things. A straight guy doesn’t want to have to worry about sorting out who the lesbians are all night, and I don’t want to have to do the reverse. Our goals are parallel, but not the same. We need our own place. They need theirs. I get that. Also, we are such a small section of the population, it helps to feel a bit less isolated when we can all get together in the same place.

    Then again, I’ve met straight people in gay bars who have a great time, and there is no problem whatsoever. Mostly that’s what happens. Friends of the community are always welcome, in my book. The problem isn’t so much straight people, in the end, than it is straight assholes. But that’s a doozy of a problem. It only takes one homophobic jerk off to ruin the night for everyone.

    So let me make this request of the straight people who insist on coming to our hangouts: We won’t ban straight people from gay bars. You will be free to enter any gay bar you want, provided that you know how to with behave with dignity and respect, that if you happen to, god forbid, see a couple of boys making out you can manage to keep it together. But really. Try not to. Go to one of the other 99% of places on the planet where we play things your way. Let us have our 1%, eh?

  • EdWoody

    @Harrison: Indeed – that’s Westlife. More top-quality journalism from Queerty.

  • justiceontherocks

    The fucker didn’t invite me so what do I care?

  • Rita Repulsa

    I went to G-A-Y a while ago on the night where guys strip (don’t remember the name), as I was walking in I was approached by Jeremy, who asked me if I was interested in stripping. I wasn’t, so I told him no. He then put grabbed my crotch and said “why not? You haven’t got anything to be shy about” before walking back inside.

    He also did the same thing to my boyfriend.

    I emailed both G-A-Y and the venue, but got a response from neither. I haven’t been to anything Jeremy Joseph has organised since. The man is a sexually abusive, disgusting, piece of shit.

  • Toby

    Benjamin I could write it better.

  • Toby

    LOL couldn’t that is.

  • scott ny'er

    One Direction!??! They suck. No, really, they suck.

  • jason

    There’s nothing wrong with having a place where like-minded individuals meet. My problem is when they try to enforce it. Enforcing brings a whole new dimension to it. I am completely uncomfortable with the notion of enforcing segregation for any reason whatsoever.

    They once said that blacks couldn’t mix with whites for the very same reasons put forward by the gay segregationist set.

  • jason

    The other force at work here is that some straight women want to get away from sleazy straight guys and their predatory ways. The gay male bar offers them a chance to do this. They will then tell all their friends about it and – hey, presto – it’s all the rage. Then the sleazy straight guys cotton on to the fact that the girls are going there, and they follow.

    Memo to sleazy straight guys: you’re welcome, but please mind your p’s and your q’s.

  • jason

    By the way, who the fuck is “One Direction”? Sounds like a trivial teen act who get by on looks rather than talent. Is this what British music has come to? Oh for the days when Britain made music that was innovative and commercial at the same time.

    Nowadays, I’d put British music at the bottom of the barrel. It’s worse than rotten grapes.

  • GeriHew

    At least Jeremy Joseph isn’t such a vile hypocrite as to call G-A-Y Heaven an GLBT club. Inevitably some femme lesbians have complained that they weren’t allowed in that night when they were letting more butch-looking (who may or may not have been actual “lesbians”) girls in. If he wanted to make sure no straight women – or heaven forbid any bisexual women – gained entrance then he should just have banned women altogether. I mean come on, how many lesbians are really totally gay anyway?

  • Lucas

    Amen Benjamin, my thoughts exactly.

    Can’t we have this one fucking place? On the owner’s fucking birthday? In a world where we’re constantly reminded we’re at worst wrong and at best ‘different’, can’t we have this one fucking place?


  • Ross

    I was there that night and I was queuing with some of my girlfriends (who were not ‘little girls’)and they got told they couldn’t come in, my friends were not allowed in with me? it was disgusting! I was absolutely fuming & gutted. I shouted at the horrible bouncer “you just put gay people back 50 years!” How on earth can you expect to be accepted for who you are in society when you’re turning away people want to accept your lifestyle. He is a vile sad excuse for a man.

  • James

    @Brian: just like having seperate restrooms and drinking fountains for the white folk and the black folk is to protect the health of both people as everyone knows they carry different deseases and have differing health and sanitary needs right?

  • James

    @scott ny’er: yes but are they any good at it? sry it had to be said. <3

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