How do you start the debate? You just come out and say it.
Straight people in gay bars rub some gays the wrong way.
Here at instinct, we have 7 different core writers and I believe our opinions on this are just as different as we are. One of our writers wrote Are Gay Men Discriminating Against Straight Women? and he took the stance that "Can we please stop discriminating against our allies? As gay men, we have to give a round of applause to the amazing heterosexual women who have stood next to us in the fight for equality. They didn't give up on us and we shouldn't give up on them." His post was inspired by an Out Magazine article titled “Dear Gay Men, Stop Telling Women They Can’t Be In Gay Bars.” That was his opinion, that was Out Magazine contributor Rose Dommu's opinion, and that is wonderful.
Let' see how his Uber ride went when the conversation turned to straights in gay bars.
Do you agree with Michael?
Do you think the opinions on this topic differ based on the gay male's age with millennials being more accepting of mixed scenes and 40+ maybe are more "us and them"?
Here's my thoughts. Most of these I jotted down when Dommu had written her Out story, but as managing editor I yielded to another writer so he could share his more inclusive post.
For me it's the behavior of people in bars that is the issue. I am not a fan of certain actions that usually come from the straight women, making them stick out like sore thumbs when they are at gay bars. Here's some examples.
Gay Men Are There To Entertain Straight Women – They want to dance with us and be all up in our space. I didn't come to a gay bar to dance with a woman. I came out of the closet to avoid that and since I am honest and like to share, I've said those exact words to women at gay bars before. We gay men are not there to have our dancing, outfits, etc be complimented by women. We didn't go to the gym to build muscle for you so stop complimenting and touching our arms, chest, butt, and so on.
Oogle Over Your Own Shirtless Bartenders And Let Us Get A Drink. – As you are drooling and making a fool of yourselves fawning over our bartenders, we are waiting to get a drink. Please move.
Get Your Mother F-ing Purses Off The Dance Floor, Out Of My Ribs And Back – I have not seen too many lesbians cart purses around the size that straight women do. Lipstick or butch and everyone between, lesbian women seem to be able to travel a little lighter than their straight counterparts. What's up with that? When you get the pile of bags littering the dance floor or being swung around like a they are on fire, it gets annoying. They do serve as a good receptacle for my empty beer bottles if I choose not to leave the dance floor and desire to free up my hands. That is one plus I have taken advantage of quite often.
Long Hair Does Not Need To Be Fixed Every 2 Minutes – How many times has a girl fixed her long hair and cascaded over your arm, shoulder, in your face, and dangerously close to your drink. Seriously, stop flicking it all over the place.
How We Define Fun Doesn't Always Include Women – There's a great rush that occurs when you look across a crowd and everyone is having fun. You know a wedding is a rockin' if the dance floor is full. But there's a different rush when you scan across the room and see a sea of gay men exploding with euphoria and your emotions take over, exclaiming in your head, "my fucking word, all these men are like me. Gay and having fun."
Should straight girls never come to gay bars? That is not what I am saying at all. I've brought straight girls to gay bars before, but they haven't exhibited those beyond annoying traits that many of us feel are unacceptable. It is a question of etiquette. If I go to your house and shoes come off at the door, coasters are used, smoking occurs outside, no feet on the coffee table, I'll respect that. I think that is what most of us gay men are looking for. When I have gone to a church of a different denomination than what I was raised, I sit with my friends and listen to their "good word." I do not draw attention to myself, point out that I am a gay in a place where gays should not be heard, or exclaim if they're doing something differently than how my childhood church did things.
As for Rose Dommu and the female Uber passenger that said, "I know this might surprise you, but in 2017, women can go anywhere we want to," this might surprise you, in 2017 gay men still can't go anywhere we want to, and feel safe and secure and welcomed. You Rose on the other hand can, that's why you're whining about gays not letting you dance to "the thong song" at The Abbey. Which is why gay bars are even a thing, they're OUR place to feel welcomed, safe, secure, and "go down" as you put it on men in peace. I personally welcome straight women at gay bars but know that the focus is not on you and should not be on you. You're in a safe space, a safe space created by gay men for gay men to feel safe! I do want all types of women at gay bars. I do. But with the understanding that this is OUR church, OUR school, OUR home and you're the guest. Please be respectful of that.
But what about the gay bars that hire straight men to entertain, dance, and tend bar? Should they hire more gay staff in order to not attract as many "thirsty" straight women? My roommates came back one night from Swinging Richards, a fully nude strip joint in Florida (now closed). They came back a couple of times with a lot of ones left over. They said it was due to the straight strippers hanging out with the females all night. Rule of the house was that women could only get in if they were in the company of men.
I'd almost like to flip the debate over and ask the question, "should gay bars hire more gay staff?" That of course would be a form of discrimination in many states, but how many gay bars have you gone to where staff members are straight? Unfortunately some men like the straight chase while others actually think it's nice to have gay workers in a gay establishment. That guy you bought the shot from on the Fourth of July, you've heard he's might be gay for pay, and is it really that fun when the boys in the undies and thongs are in the corner of the room paying attention to the girls. If these are places that gays have created for fellow gays, should we make sure the guy in the thong or at the tap are gay, too? If you take the candy out of the candy jar, will people still reach in?
But that debate as well goes back to the overall behavior. I have some good straight friends that I have met while they worked in gay bars. But the thing with them, like the straight customers we do not mind, is that they know where they are at. They are at work at a gay bar. They know what the concept of a gay bars mean to many people in there. Not everyone sees gay bars as hallowed ground or their church, but you need to respect all that are there.
That's my opinion and not that of Instinct Magazine. We all have different takes on the issue, come from different backgrounds, and are of varying ages, and geographical locations.
h/t: Michael Henry