Friday, 11 March 2011

Something a bit different...

Not to go off the topic on my search for success blog but I really have been irritated beyond belief and need to vent. Not only have I had to put up with the below but I've also been censored by a publication I contribute to as to not rock the boat.

Not written here for a while as things are going pretty well, maybe this is the start of being successful at something else...

Following a few failed attempts at nights on the town with my friends I'm getting increasingly more and more fed up with the treatment, which could be perceived as heterophobia, that goes on in a particular bar group in Soho... Yes you G-A-Y. All I want is to paint the town pink and show my straight friends a good time, but no.

The bar group which is the shining beacon of hope for some gay guys, offering them sanctuary from the scary heterosexual bar world whilst they discover who they are has not once but three times turned away a group of my friends and I in the last fortnight. Purely me speculating as not to incite any legal comeback but purely because the group did not consist of solely of gay men. It saddens me that I can't enjoy a night out without worrying we'll get turned away, based on the fact some members of the group don't look 'gay' enough.

I have known this happen regularly amongst other groups of mixed sexuality friends. Even a group of my lesbian friends were turned away from Late for some unknown reason... Back to your underground hideaway at G-A-Y bar girls.

Let's not forget the slight media uproar that G-A-Y generated, they turned away screaming hetero female fans of One Direction when they performed at G-A-Y Heaven post X-Factor which caused a few publications to question door policy. The more this happens the more negative press you will generate, we work so hard to promote acceptance and show that we are a tolerant LGBT community, if you start causing too much of a stir from your door policies then you will undo all of this work. Imagine your stance if you were turned away from a straight club because you weren't 'a member'.

To be fair, one of the occasions we were turned away I can accept, as I was the only gay guy with two, albeit questionable, hetero men and four hetero females. I accept the stance that it is a gay bar and a place for gay men and lesbians to feel comfortable, I also accept G-A-Y have to protect the welfare of their customers to a degree. Having the door policy there is to protect the patrons from harm, I guarantee if a couple of skinhead homophobes went in looking trouble they wouldn't get out in one piece that's for sure. The times I take issue with are when the group is split with lesbians, gay guys and a couple of straight females - we were met with the usual line of 'members only'. I'm not saying my friends look like flaming queens and the lesbians like the stereotypical bull dykes perpetuated on screen, but we are clearly of the gay variety. The two hetero girls looked mortified and thought that they were the reason we couldn't get in. My question is, how did the delightful door staff, and manager, once summoned for an ear bending, not know we weren't all gay?

We were expected to return on a Sunday night, fill in an application, show our passports and receive a membership card. Now this I also take issue with, for three reasons. Firstly, I get up at crack of dawn to go to the gym and go to work, this is the focus of my life, not being gay and putting money behind the bar. I do not want to have to drag myself into town at 11pm just to apply for a gay ID card on the one night they allow members to join. Secondly, how do we know that we won't all get down there and be turned away again? Thirdly, I do not want to carry around a card just to prove that I'm gay, which let's be honest is the whole point of the card application process. It's disgusting and hidden behind the facade of membership.

Not one to ever be told no and give up on a night out, we eventually gave up and went to Ku bar in Lisle Street, the door staff were lovely and didn't give a hoot we had straight girls with us, they laughed and joked with us until we staggered out at 3am. Clearly the bar with the better policy. Clearly the bar where I will be taking my friends and my money from now on.

Now to my point - Listen up G-A-Y! This is an early warning to you as I can smell something a-brewing. I'm not the only person with the lucky opportunity to publicly write about my experiences with your door staff. Nor does it give me a sense of joy to bring to light your somewhat militant ways of dealing with your unwanted clientele. Someone with an even bigger public following than me may be met with the same problem, they may wish to turn this into a bigger issue for you in a very public arena. Stories on the LGBT community are on the press agenda a lot more these days as we continue to fight for equality, especially on subjects of tolerance and homophobia. If you want to be seen to be a leader then change policies and accept the fact that groups of friends will include a couple of straight people who want to spend time with their gay friends. They aren't Nazi fanatics, they aren't BNP members, they aren't part of any other group wishing our community harm... How do I know this? Well I doubt they'd be hanging around a group of gay guys and lesbians if they were, do you?

I implore you to change and accept our heterosexual friends or you run the risk of becoming dated and archaic in your beliefs.

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