door policy

Why This Gay Bar Can No Longer Ask Whether You’re Straight – And Refuse You Entry

The Peel Hotel in Victoria, Australia — which isn’t so much a hotel as it is a bar/dance club with requisite go-go boys — managed to score quite an exemption from the state’s anti-discrimination law: It was permitted to ask patrons attempting to enter whether they were gay or straight, and refuse the breeders if the bouncers wanted. All that’s over now.

The gay venue will no longer be allowed to assess entrance worthiness based on sexuality, something it’s been permitted to do since 2007 when the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal granted an exception to the state’s Charter of Human Rights, which prohibits businesses from asking such invasive questions.

Rather than endorsing discrimination against heterosexuals, at the time it was seen as a way to protect gays trying to get their drink on from straight jerks, with the tribunal stating at the time the Peel could refuse “people who do not identify as homosexual males” if said people would get in the way of the bar’s gayness.

But in a new tribunal ruling this month, the bar will no longer be allowed quiz guests on their sexuality, but retain the right “to explain the nature of the venue to prospective patrons … and to permit them to choose whether or not to enter.” Though I’m pretty sure they’d figure it out after stepping two feet inside.

Is there good reason, though, for gay bars to block non-family from entering? It’s a slippery slope — of the kind that could also, in some minds, validate the argument of keeping gays out of straight bars. But answering the question requires a reasonable look at whether the congregation of gays at a venue unnecessarily attracts anti-gay violence? As we’ve seen, getting attacked at a gay bar doesn’t require being inside one. But some of my best nights out at gay bars were with straight friends, and I’d certainly rethink forking over $8 for a beer to any venue that, in the name of some false sense of safety, refused entry to someone based on his sexuality.

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    Never mind the door policies, I would be not inclined to visit because of the fugly go-go man (he left “boy” status over a decade ago)………….. :p

  • kevinvancouver

    doesnt sound like you play well with anyone….

  • Qjersey

    Well we have worse forms of discrimination among ourselves:

    People of color entering bars with a mostly white clientele and vice versa.

    Men entering lesbian bars

    Women entering gay male bars (in fact SPLASH in NYC ran an ad once in the 90’s stating they just had a “breast reduction”).

    Lesbians, especially butches, entering gay male bars.

    The big clubs used to have diverse crowds, but they’re all gone now in NYC…and sometimes you just want to go get a drink with your friends and not worry about who will feel welcome where.

  • Screaming Queen

    Unless that foam is some high grade anti-bacterial stuff, the interrogation at the door won’t be necessary. What’s next, will gay pride parade participants be forced to prove their gayness? Time trials to see if you can wrap with one hand? How do we differentiate the gays from the bi? OMG, what about the hags, doesn’t anybody care about the hags? It’s just not a night out without my trusty lusty hag in tow! It’s nice to see the gay community is getting more divisive around the world instead of coming together and working towards a common goal of equality and acceptance…..I’m going to blame this on those damn progressives *giggles*

    Note to self: Take the “Outbreak” Halloween costume if I ever go to Australia, that place looks duuuuuurty, and not in a good way! (LOL)

  • lfivepoints69

    Unless it is a membership-based private club, no bar or other public accommodation should EVER be allowed to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, marital status, or sexual orientation.


    I remember the second time I went out to the gay bar my two best friends who were straight came along to see what was up.

    Thank God for them too cuz I got a little too drunk and the wouldn’t let me back into the bar so my friends went back in and got my stuff and helped get me back home.

    They had an ok time, moreso because they got to see make out with some small Asian boy for the first time. The one however was a little scarred by the go-go’s so he swore he was never going to one again.

    lol good times.

    Anyway how would they even be able to tell your lying. Seems stupid to me.

  • ewe

    Gay people breed. that is not solely a straight trait. this whole thread is tacky.

  • ForeverGay

    Heterosexuals are dangerous. Heterosexuals wait outside gay bars to attack gay people for fun. Heterosexuals go into gay bars to attack gay people and make an unpleasant atmosphere.

    Ewe, the word breeder should be replaced by haterosexual, it’s more accurate.

  • Aaron

    While I know this is Australia and not amurrica, I believe that yes, they SHOULD be allowed the right to refuse service to anyone. I believe that any small(er) business- something that isn’t a chain- should be allowed the right to refuse service as they see fit. And call me intolerant, but I honestly wouldn’t want straight guys coming into my bar. Granted if they seemed genuine and were just there to support a non het friend, I’d probably let them in. But let’s face it: they’re probably there to either a) harass people, or b) pick up some faghags.

  • dk

    @Aaron – the right to refuse service should apply to anyone based on behavior, not sexuality.

  • Daez

    @PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS: I am not surprised you have a thing for hairless little boy wonder twinks that just turned 18 and are still 1/3 your age, but seriously, some of us are actually attracted to actual men.

    We can not discriminate against straight men and then complain when they discriminate against gay men. There is a reason that clubs hire bouncers, and that reason is to keep the peace and insure safety.

  • Matt

    I take my straight girlfriends everywhere I go! They are the ones that try to hard to dance and laugh at my fav gay bars – you know it shows how much fun they are having and how hip they are…..they are the life of the gay P-A-R-T-Y – they can tip the go go boys and flirt away just like I can’t in straight bars! FUN!! I love my straight GFs on Grinder and at the baths and back rooms – so super fun!

  • jason

    I think that when a gay male bar wants to enforce a gays only policy, it usually means one thing: sex club. It’s usually a cover for the fact that the club wants also to operate as a sex-on-premises venue, something which may be in breach of the law.

    Nevertheless, I can understand why some gay bars want to create an “atmosphere”. Some mainstream bars are allowed to enforce a gender ratio, a fuzzy term that is really designed to keep gay men out of these bars. I wonder if the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal is also going to crack down on bars that enforce a gender ratio.

    We also have the problem of women who see visiting a gay bar as a status symbol. It’s a vanity visit. It’s designed to prop up their egos. They can then tell their girlfriends “Oh, do you know what I did on the weekend? I went to a gay bar”. These women aren’t remotely interested in the concept of gay rights.

  • Jim Hlavac

    I’ve said it here before — it’s a dangerous strategy to force straight clubs to accept gay people (don’t worry, they will eventually, it’s getting better!) — because we’ll be forced to let them in to our clubs. And what happens when a bus load of Baptists or similar comes in and starts to take over gay bars? There’s just not enough of us, and never will be. In fact, within a fortnight every gay bar in the nation could be swamped with heteros and we won’t have a gay bar left, and we still won’t be able to get into straight bars, or the former gay bars gone bad. No, this forcing people to accept us socially can come to no good. And if we claim an exemption from such rules and laws we’ll be accused of asking for special rights. It’s one thing for legal equality in marriage, mortgages, hotel rooms etc, it’s quite another for legislating and regulating whom will be allowed to hang out with whom in whose bars.

  • astor

    I think a number of you are displaying a lot of hysteria over something that won’t happen. Straight people are not suddenly going to stream into gay bars and take them over. Enough with all the hand-wringing.

  • astor

    Oh, and Jason, your relentless misogyny is tiresome.

  • jason

    Jim Hlavac,

    I don’t agree with you at all.

    Bars and clubs should not be allowed to discriminate on the basis of who you are. We cannot allow personal prejudices to dictate entry into public venues. And, yes, a bar is a public venue. So long as it has a liquor license from the government, it’s a public venue.

    We need to get away from this idea of identity politics in determining our views on things. How we behave should be the benchmark, not who we are.

  • Franky

    Nope. Just like they shouldn’t stop us from going into their bars/clubs cus we’re gay, we shouldn’t stop them from going in our bars/clubs cus they’re straight.

    A few of the gay clubs in my area are becoming straighter and straighter and it is annoying but the straight clubs are also quite open. We’re also opening new gay clubs in the straight areas which are actually surprisingly working out. If we really don’t want certain people there I’m certain that we’re more than capable of grossing them out enough so that they never come back.

  • jason


    How am I misogynistic? I didn’t say women shouldn’t be allowed into gay bars, I simply said that there are some women who see visiting a gay bar as a status symbol. It’s the truth.

  • Jimmy

    The best gay bar in Indy allows all comers. That is what makes it great. There is also a tired, tacky leather bar for those who want that scene, and no chick with any class would be caught dead in there. So be it. This kind of problem is one created by insular, narrow minded, tweeked-out homos, and they’re no fun to be around if you happen to have a personality.

  • justiceontherocks

    Of course we should let straight people in. How are we going to convert them if we don’t get them drunk and molest them?

  • Tom

    Using the word “breeders”? Tactless and unnecessary.

  • Daez

    @justiceontherocks: Good point, but we can go undercover to meet straight people then go “camping” with them and molest them there.

  • Matt

    Come on guys look at that hot tub photo! Now picture my female office mates from the office right in the middle laughing it up with the gays! now that’s HOT! This web site is also too gay! We need more topics of intrest to straight chicks! Everyone should be welcome on this site! More postings so straight girls will post on the site more often = even more gay hotness! But straight friendly. Now that’s sexy!

  • RS

    @dk: Agreed. And not just sexuality, but ethnicity, sex, gender identity, etc. And yes, there have been times when I felt uncomfortable when a rough crowd entered my favorite bar, acting straight though they might have been gay but too used to the down-low lifestyle. If they create a disturbance inside, they should be thrown out, but the presumption should be that straight people are in solidarity, not to create problems. Address bad behavior but don’t make assumtpions based on sexuality or appearance.

  • Ivan

    Most well run gay clubs that I’ve been in have signs clearly stating that this is an inclusive space and that this will be enforced. So if someone has a problem with two guys on the dance floor necking, they are the one asked to leave.

    Plus I’d hate to not see that ‘deer in the headlights’ look on a str8 guy’s face when he realizes he’s in a gay club — priceless.

  • jason


    So true.

  • Steve

    If a business is a public accommodation, it should accommodate the public without discrimination. If it is a private club, it may have membership policies that invite only certain people to join. But, the “private club” thing needs to be real, not just a dodge.

    Some years ago, I joined a private gays-only club. At the front desk, they asked you to fill out a form, which asked who referred you to the club. If you named the local gay-oriented publication that carried the clubs advertisement, that was good enough. The scheme seemed to work effectively to keep straights out and let gays in.

    At another private gays-only club, they just required you to pay a membership fee. If you were willing to pay $20 to join before ever seeing what was inside, that was good enough. People who didn’t already know, wouldn’t pay.

    Both of those schemes seemed like dodges, instead of legitimate membership policies. I’m not sure there is a bright line between public accommodation and private club. I am sure it will be litigated, eventually.

  • paulD

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I sure as hell wouldn’t step foot in that hot tub!

  • JAW

    Most gay bars that I have been to especially in the last 5 years or so have been welcoming to all… most “straight” guys that go to gay bars realize that they are in our house, and nobody FUCKS with us in OUR HOUSE!

    The only issue I have seen is when gay twinks bring their fag hags to a leather bar to show it off and become disrespectful.

  • jackieohboy

    I bring my straight friends to gay bars and they bring me to straight bars all the time. I usually feel comfortable, but I don’t try and hit on guys at straight night clubs, but I have done it in straight bars that are more the pool, darts, draft beer kind of places where you can actually talk to somebody and figure out if they’re gay before making a pass.

  • Queer Supremacist

    Getting kicked out of a “straight” bar would reflect on them, and not us. To quote Robert Preston in Victor/Victoria, “like getting kicked out of here is significantly better than getting kicked out of a leper colony.”

    Any bar should have the right to refuse service to anyone they want. Especially gay bars, where the potential for anti-gay violence is high. I, for one, would like to see more hetero-free public and private spaces. If I didn’t have to associate with these “people” I wouldn’t.

  • a

    So what if a guy is bi-curious? He won’t leave straight after a night at the gay club anyway. I don’t mind this at all.

  • Toni

    Something about VCAT’s original decision to allow the Peel to turn people away based on their perceived sexual orientation (I never saw or heard of anyone being asked whether or not they were gay, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen though) that wasn’t mentioned: The Peel was also allowed the right to turn away queer women because they were apparently there to start fights and make the gay male patrons feel unsafe in their establishment. (See:

    On the occasions when I rocked up with a group of gay male friends, I was still denied entry based on the fact that I’m a gay woman. In a weird way it makes sense based on the VCAT ruling; in a completely other way, it frustrated me to see straight women allowed entry moments after I had been denied on three separate occasions. (Also confused me to see gay men be turned away – this didn’t seem to be in keeping with the ruling at all.)

    Seems to me the original ruling just allowed the staff and owners at the Peel to be choosy about who could and couldn’t get in based on their personal preferences and interactions with patrons. The VCAT ruling was just a convenient smokescreen that they stood behind if anyone ever challenged their decisions.

    All of this said, great that the ruling’s been overturned but I highly doubt that it’s going to change any of the hatefulness or spite that seems to be bred into the staff at the Peel. They’re still going to turn people away, they just have to be a little smarter about it now.

  • STEVEmd2

    I estimate that abouT 10% of the people at the big baltimore MD USA gay bar are str8. Based on the number of guys who come in with their girlfriends.

    And I am one of the str8 ones. I go to have a good time, meet my gay friends, even give them a kiss on the cheek (not the lower ones, sri (laughter).

    And I come with my cross to symbolize what I think of the catholic church of the endless hatred and molestation, and the christian Kults who still worship slavery and segregation.

    Its made out of 2 dildos tied together in the form of a cross. Brings the house down every time.

    And if a trouble maker did come into the bar, preaching his hatred, you can be assured that he would be found in a trash barrel stark naked with his head at the bottom and his ass and legs sticking up.

    We also have something we do re str8 bars. Once a month about 300 to 500 largely gay people and some str8 friends converge on a str8 bar. the bar owners know we are coming, and of course they love the business. And only one time in the last 2 years have we had a problem with eg the bouncers. Who quickly found they were unemployed.

    You guys should try thAT also. For all practical purposes the str8 people could care less about the gays in the str8 bar.

    And its all about breaking down the closet. As str8 people begin to know more and more gays, the churches of hate are withering, and gays are being widely accepted.

    America isn’t there yet, we have lots of Nazi Christians who worship slavery and hate gays. We have the monstrosity of the catholic church of endless molestation. Which has yet to excommunciate hitler, and in 2009 UNexcommunciated a Bishop williamson who is a holocaust denier.

    No wonder W. Europe is almost complete in allowing gays Marriage or CUs. Latin America is tipping, with 3 CU countries and 3 marriage countries. Add canada, Israel, Rep South Africa and to an extent NZ, Au, 3 countries in E. Europe and the world is changing for the better.

    Make it so in your nation also. Full civil equality under the law, and acceptance of gay people is the social justice issue of the wwesternized world today.

  • Jeffree

    Four times I’ve been part of a group flas.m.ob in nominally str8 bars (40-100 people). That was a couple years ago. In each case, the person running the group called the bar manager to say we were going to be there. It wasn’t to protest but to be visible, to have fun.

    70% men, 30% women or so.

    With almost NO excepti,on we were treated very well and invited back.

    These were for the most part pubs/ taverns, not dance clubs, but I’d say we had a great time & discovered some new places to hang out.

  • ILoveDudes

    What does “discrimate” mean anyway? Really, guys, for the new year : imagine how much of the time you waste on these silly blogs and how much better use you could make by improving yurself, body and mind. Read one of the classics. Join the gym.

  • mark

    old old school queer, I didn’t go out to the bars to be with straights, it was one haven, I didn’t have to deal with them.
    I know younger gays and straights mix freely, but that wasn’t my world, if straights invaded our bars, we moved to a different bar.

  • damon459

    @astor: I beg to differ we have had this happen to bars in Montana which is why we barely have one gay bar left and it’s only about 40% gay now because the breeders keep chasing the gays out. I also know of plenty of hetero bars that have kicked out gays so why is it so wrong to turn the tables? Frankly I want to go somewhere I know I will be safe and be able to have a good time without worrying about the breeders don’t they have enough bars as it is without stealing ours?

  • jason


    Yes, I think bar managers and door staff can come up with any excuse to refuse entry. However, I believe that the reason for refusal needs to be explained for each refusal. That way, the bar can be held accountable and, if necessary, taken to court if it has acted in a discriminatory and prejudicial way. Thus, I think it should be mandatory for the refusal to be explained.

    All bars are publicly licensed, and thus need to be held accountable. There is no such thing as a private venue when it comes to liquor-dispensing businesses.

  • jason


    I sympathize with the situation in Montana. Doesn’t Montana protect gays from discrimination? If those straight venues are refusing entry to gay people, they need to be held accountable and taken to court.

  • alan brickman

    Breeder is an hate word….noo wonder equal rights are taking so long…..


    @Daez: Gee, you gots some crazy kind of calculator there, you added a few decades to my birth year…………And point was that I simply don’t find that man attractive and once again the term is go-go boy………


    @Daez: Gee, you gots some crazy kind of calculator there, you added a few decades to my birth year…………And point was that I simply don’t find that man attractive and once again the term is go-go boy……..and I think he is simply not attractive.

  • scribe

    I guess I don’t have gay face… Last new years eve took me and my lover to a big new gay club for the first time. The bouncer wouldn’t take my money at first saying,”you know this is a gay party tonight?” I quickly kissed my partner on the lips and then just looked at the dude.

  • DR

    I’m glad.

    If someone comes in to have a good time with his friends, why the heck does it matter of he’s straight, gay or bi? As long as he doesn’t cause any trouble and acts respectfully when he turns down a guy who hits on him since he’s at a gay bar, what’s the big deal?

    There’s a difference between creating safe spaces or establishments and segregating ourselves, and I do not support self-segregation.

  • ILoveDudes

    Scribe : That can be a problem, yes, with banning straights from gay places. What about gay guys who look/act/appear straight? Quite a number of the gays in NYC hate straights, and doubly hate any “straight-appearing” gays (who they treat as if they’ve betrayed the gays). Gay-Only would just be a good excuse to keep out those gays who aren’t THEIR type of gay.

  • Just a thought...

    @ILoveDudes: Thank youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu,

  • GeriHew

    Asking people straight out whether they’re gay or straight is essentially biphobic.

    That’s what I tell people when I’m in a good mood. Other times I’d just tell them to fuck off.

  • Fin

    I have been to the Peel a few times, a friend of mine works there. I once went there with a female friend and was asked if we were a straight couple, to which I replied no. It seemed really stupid to me as I honestly don’t see what is stopping straight people from entering nor do I think the should be prevented from entering. I’m glad the policy has changed.

  • kae

    Ok, I need to come out as straight (not a “breeder” btw – a really offensive term; straights do a tad more than just “breed”). Anyway, any straights going to a gay bar are likely to be very gay friendly and are probably with gay relatives or friends. What is wrong with that? And as Astor said, we aren’t suddenly going to be seized with a desire to invade all gay bars. We realise that you need your own space. Please, we’re not all bad ppl.

  • Jeffree

    Have you told your parents yet? Lol. Time to come out to your family!

    I agree that “breeder” is offensive, and I’m not shy about saying so.
    I have brought str8 male friends to a bar on occasion, guys comfortable in their own skin, and they’ve been fine. By “fine” I mean that if someone starts flir.ting with them, they deal with it along the lines of “no, thankyou” vs. pulling out the “no, I’ m straight” card. Same as they would do if a woman they didn’t want to date would make a move.

    When I’m at a het-bar, I’m flattered to be hit on by a woman.

    Do visit us on here again.

  • Franky

    @kae: Don’t believe most gay peeps will outright hate you for being straight. If you are accepting and cool, you like to chill at a gay bar realizing what the establishment is and generally caters to, at least for me, that’s totally great, no complaints at all from me.

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