The article Please keep out of gay bars and clubs was published in The Independent to my immense dismay (admittedly quite a while ago, but it did the rounds on Facebook recently).
The author very short-sightedly makes the case for segregation of nightlife on the basis of sexual orientation. Apparently the scene in England is such that gay people are restricted to so-called gay villages (a concept I could never really understand).
The author maintains that there are so few gay establishments out there that they should be somehow protected from the tyranny of the majority. In a constitutional democracy the minority is protected from the tyranny of the majority but in this instance the concept of segregation for the sake of preservation is taken way too far.
It becomes awfully reminiscent of apartheid. We are not equal in our segregation. The social segregation of the sexes by itself should be done away with, and there is no place for segregation on any basis when it comes to something as inconsequential as phuza-ing.
I remember distinctly the night after 2008 Joburg Pride. There was a trendy lesbian-only nightclub in Rosebank that made a concession especially for Joburg Pride. It would allow gay men in, that night only. So I went there with my (lesbian) friend, my brother and his girlfriend. As we got to the door an officious lady looked at me and my lesbian friend and said “you two can go in,” and with a slight tone of derision said to my brother “you two cannot go in, we are a lesbian establishment”.
I immediately interjected. I was horribly offended and equally embarrassed. The pink community complains of being discriminated against on a daily basis, of being side-lined. How can we perpetrate and perpetuate the same thing we fight against? I looked at the officious lady and said “look, it’s my brother and his girlfriend and they will not bother anyone here.” The words fell on deaf ears, I wasted my breath.
On another night my brother, one of his friends and I went to a well-known gay club in Centurion. The doorman immediately spotted the straights and gave them a self-righteous pep talk. I once again felt betrayed by the pink community establishments for their “admissions” policy. I often look at those Right of Admission Reserved signs while shaking my head. Those signs perpetuate inequity by virtue of their existence.
I bet your bottom dollar when a prime Sandton hotspot implements a new policy of straights-only there would be a very loud and very shrill outcry from the queers. Emails to pink rights activists would pour in. It is unfair discrimination and unconstitutional, most complainants would argue. Some might foam at the mouth, failing to see the hypocrisy.
Every single time a straight person is turned away from a “gay” establishment, every time a straight person is treated with contempt by the club mafia the pink community loses sympathy. We will scream “equal rights not special rights” till we are blue in the face but the plea would be worthless because we made it worthless with our little gay ghetto.
Do you agree? Should gay and lesbian venues be allowed to bar straight people from entering or is this unacceptable discrimination?