Adam Dupuis's picture

Vermont Gay Bar Changes Name b/c Of LGBT Community Pressure Or Poor Attendance?

Craig McGaughan is set to open what's being described as Vermont's only LGBTQ bar on March 10, but it's the bar's name that's causing controversy. Critics are calling the bar's name, Mister Sister, transphobic. 

Two board members of Pride Center of Vermont have resigned over claims that the board waited too long to respond to the controversy.

 

It was March of this year when we posted a brief spot on this New England Controversy: Is This Soon-To-Open Gay Bar's Name Transphobic?  Craig McGaughan opened Vermont's only LGBTQ bar on March 10, but the bar's name caused quite the stir with the queer community. Critics called the bar's name, Mister Sister, transphobic. The unrest about the topic created so much tension that two members of Pride Center of Vermont board resigned over claims that the organization waited too long to respond to the controversy.

McGaughan saw the term as inclusive but some critics contended it’s a slur historically used to disparage transgender women.

In an interview in early March he said, "Mister Sister is for the Misters and the Sisters, those that identify as both and everyone in between. The official description of Mister Sister is `a gay bar for him, her and them.' I have been very intentional in using a pronoun that isn't specifically male or female as a way to include anyone that identifies as part of the LGBTQ community," Craig McGaughan said. (mynbc5.com)

Local CBS affiliate covered the grand opening.

 

UPDATE #1: We did report that the Twitter profile of the bar had an interesting bi-line:

"Vermont's only gay bar! And we mean gay. None of that queer bullshit. This account NOT run by a hate group of radicals waging war on gay drag culture."

After the story was posted, Craig, the owner of the Vermont bar shard with us:

The bar does not now, nor has it ever had a Twitter account.  The account that you quote in your article post things that go against everything we believe in. 

 

Craig McGaughan is set to open what's being described as Vermont's only LGBTQ bar on March 10, but it's the bar's name that's causing controversy. Critics are calling the bar's name, Mister Sister, transphobic. 

Two board members of Pride Center of Vermont have resigned over claims that the board waited too long to respond to the controversy.

Where are we now?  Opened in March and going through a major change in June.  Craig McGaughan has decided to change the name "Mister Sister" to a new, more accepting and less divisive moniker. The new name of his bar? “The Bridge Club.”

But why the name change now? Was it because of the controversy and the reasoning behind people's disgust finally sunk in?  Or was it for another reason?

UPDATE #2 - We stated that "Business doesn't seem to have been booming in Vermont.  Was the name change an attempt to bring more business into the establishment?  Even though the grand opening seemed a success, but were people returning? Were there people staying away because of the name and it's logo? Did people hate that the logo was very similar to that of the rock band "Twisted Sister?" "

Craig McGaughan stated -

I've also been crystal clear re. why I changed the name now if you visit our Facebook page.  
As far as copying Twisted Sister for a logo, the font and design that our logo was based on is public and commonly used.  Chris Brown has recently used something extremely similar for his new single, "Party". 

So from Craig's email, we need to disregard the ... "By the looks of it and viewing this tweet from @MisterSisterVT on June 14th, it does seem that the bar is having some financial issues."

 

 

 

Who would be making this fake account up?  Someone trying to monopolize on confusion and controversy?

But we still found the GoFundMe account and Craig's name is still on it. ( https://www.gofundme.com/thebridgeclub )

 

But Craig does stand behind his Facebook post - "And on June 21st, there was this Facebook post. Is there humor in the new name?"

 

 

 

What are your thoughts about this issue?

Was there an issue to begin with?

Is this a push to keep the business afloat or is it a true recognition of a poor first name?

I wonder if this is why Ballz shut down in Fort Lauderdale.

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Just an FYI. The bar does not have a Twitter account. Someone else (no idea who) co opted the handle and has/had been using it to post. Those comments aren't from Craig or the business.

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Money has a way of driving business decisions that no one likes/wants to admit.

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