Gay Bars Can be Mind-Bogglingly Racist

Discussion in 'LGBT News and Events' started by Nick Delmacy, Apr 30, 2017.

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  1. Nick Delmacy

    Nick Delmacy
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    Gay Bars Can be Mind-Bogglingly Racist

    We decided to take a look at how unsafe "safe spaces" have been in the last 12 months.

    Last weekend, Rebar went from being one of New York City's most promising new gay clubs to a glaring personification of the lack of intersectionality that exists within broader gay culture. When the bar opened its doors in Chelsea, partygoers across New York were pretty excited to check it out. But one Facebook post by a patron named Ian Alexis shifted the conversation away from the club's new digs to the way the venue allegedly mistreats people of color.

    In the post, Alexis detailed how he and his friends had been denied entry over the weekend by an employee who told them the bar was at capacity. Alexis said his group prepared to leave before another employee allowed them to come inside. Once they stepped in, they saw that "it was pretty dead and empty," as his post had it, while other black patrons overwhelmed the line outside, unable to enter. After Alexis's story caught wind, similar complaints began to flood Rebar's social media pages and review sites.

    "I actually kinda felt helpless," Alexis told Mic after his initial Facebook post went viral. While Rebar management later released a statement admitting they "understand patrons were made to feel unwelcome during our opening weekend," they also refused to speak to claims of racial discrimination—despite the fact that Rebar opened in the former space of G Lounge, which had the same owners and also suffered from its own discrimination rumors.

    Unfortunately, the events at Rebar did not happen in isolation. In fact, this alleged discrimination is all too common at gay bars. Over the past 12 months, there have been a shocking number of prejudicial actions committed in so-called "safe spaces." Here's a rundown of a few of the ones that have caught our attention.

    "Ni-ni-ni-ni-niggers"

    In September, a video of Darryl DePiano, the owner of Philadelphia gay bar iCandy, began to circulate on social media. It depicted him saying "Ni-ni-ni-ni-niggers, every one of 'em," in a conversation in which he insinuated that queer men of color disproportionately ask bar staff for drink tickets. And on April 15, during the bar's sixth anniversary, audio from that clip was broadcast on loudspeakers outside the bar by protesters for everyone to hear.

    While DePiano admitted it was him in the video and has since apologized for the statement—claiming it was recorded years ago and doesn't represent his "true feelings"—the revelation was one of many that made Philadelphia's Commission on Human Relations take action. Today, 11 bars and clubs are undergoing anti-discrimination training after a subsequently-commissioned study showed how rampant discrimination was in the city. This discrimination, according to the reports, extended to queer women who were routinely failed to be served at bars.

    "These places work a little different"

    Ashlee Marie Preston is a trans activist who works on the Transgender Advisory Board in West Hollywood (WeHo), LA's gayborhood. Last Tuesday, she went to eat at a WeHo restaurant named Catch. After arriving with a reservation, Preston—who also happens to be a person of color—alleges that she was stonewalled at the door and only allowed in after threatening to leverage her position on the Advisory Board to criticize the establishment. Once inside, she said, the poor treatment continued.

    In an op-ed for local blog WeHoville, Preston recounted what ensued: She claims a condescending server then came to her table, instructing her that "these places work a little differently." Preston claims the server attempted to direct her towards menu items that were cheaper. The insinuation was similar to DiPiano's: people of color are cheap.

    A conversation with an assistant manager about what had transpired proved fruitless. His response, wrote Preston: "I don't think that's likely, Laverne Cox has eaten here before." As she wrote for WeHoville, "To me, that's like someone saying, 'I can't be racist, I have a black friend.'"

    "Do you have a hot white guy?"

    This January, a 2012 email leaked from David Peruzza, the manager of Washington, DC, gay bar JR's, to a graphic designer working on flyers for the bar. The flyer in question was for an Olympics-themed party, and featured an African American athlete stretching.

    "I don't know how to be PC about it," the manager in question wrote, "but do you have a hot white guy?" Reportedly, the graphic designer replied back with "First, don't actually put that in writing again."

    As the owner of JR's told Mic, "I won't apologize for it, because I don't think there's anything wrong with that for what was going on at the time. Everything was Abercrombie models and pretty boys." The facts that a black model shouldn't alienate a white audience, or that black models can be both "pretty boys" and "Abercrombie models" still seem lost on him.

    "There was an American flag on the wall and above that there was what looked like a dead Mexican in a sombrero."

    In late November, Gia Valverde her friends were at Denver's X Bar, where they came face to face with an offensive display, particularly in the wake of the 2016 election.

    "We were getting some drinks at the bar and I noticed there was a half-built wall," Gia Valverde told Colorado's 9News. "There was an American flag on the wall and above that there was what looked like a dead Mexican in a sombrero on top of it."

    As others laughed, Valverde posted a photo of the display in a private post to her Facebook page. It was soon shared in a public post by her friend Stephen Garcia. "I've said it before and I will say it again. GAY people can be RACIST!" Garcia wrote. "Do you know how many Latinx people have spent their AMERICAN dollars in your establishment? To depict a 'Mexican' with bloody hands climbing over a wall with an American flag so nicely draped over it... is down. right. Disgusting!"

    A statement was soon posted on the bar's Facebook page claiming the bar's owners had no prior knowledge of the "visual statement," which they called "satire." They recognized how problematic it was, had it removed, apologized to anyone who was upset, and instituted training for employees to prevent similar incidents in the future.

    "Unless you have titties and a vagina, you should not be in there"

    In August, genderqueer drag performer Valentine Steaphon was kicked out of the New York City gay bar Boots & Saddle Drag Lounge after a verbal altercation with a cisgender woman in the women's bathroom. According to Steaphon, after being accosted by the woman in the lounge's bathroom, Steaphon was asked to leave the space by security.

    "She told me that I shouldn't be [in the women's bathroom] because I don't have a pussy or a vagina or whatever," Steaphon told Out Magazine. "This is exactly what the security said. He said, 'Well, we cater to straight women here, so if you are making them feel uncomfortable in the bathroom, you have got to go.'" In addition, Steaphon claims a friend of the woman denied Steaphon's trans identity. "While all of this is happening [the woman's] friend is yelling in my face that I'm not trans and that I can't be trans unless I have titties and a pussy."

    Boots & Saddle apologized for the event, and changed the signage on restrooms to gender-neutral. But the fact that Steaphon had to experience such discrimination in the first place, alongside the myriad other examples listed here, shows that even in LGBTQ establishments, "safe space" is a subjective term.
     
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  2. ColumbusGuy

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    True enough. I do not go out really and have not for quite a while, but when I did, I did not really see this, but it is easy to overlook if you are not looking for it or it does not happen to you and all. Plus I did not go to the 'stuck up asshole' bars really...maybe that had something to do with it?



    At least people are speaking up so they can force change to happen(hopefully).

    Are things getting better, or are they getting worse? What do people think?
     
  3. alton

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    I haven't been to a gay club in yeeears, but back when I was Out & About, clubbin in the City, I definitely could see the "whisperings" of all this sh!t, starting to go down. Startin' around 2005, little by little, city ordinances/ zoning, and space rental costs began forcing a lot of the Black & Brown Owned/Frequented spots down, some of the "white" spots too, but they were much less harder hit. Now, with the exception of (I believe) one spot up in Washington Heights, and Langstons in BK, you'll be hard pressed to find a spot that caters to Black/Latin folk, anymore. The closest one left on Christopher is The Hangar and according to my godbrother (he is white, so the owners were comfortable talking to him) who used to DJ there, they've made it clear on NUMEROUS occasions that they don't want "us" in their establishment anymore, either. he was told to "stop playin' Hip Hop because it attracts the wrong clientele". Queens has a few clubs left, but the Central/South American patrons and staff tend to prefer their fellow club goers and clientele to be either Ricky Martin Latino or white.
    Trust, these are not assumptions, they're facts. LOL

    And I've been to that f@#kin G Lounge before and yes...the staff and crowd were very arrogant and pretentious, and it was pretty clear if you weren't Abercrombie status or Ricky Martin Latino, you weren't welcome there. smh LOL
     
    #3 alton, May 1, 2017
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  4. ColumbusGuy

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    Well I forgot about how the apps and internet have kind of killed off so many bars and clubs...that explains part of it. It also sounds like some of these places not only want whites, but only the right kind of whites. Racist and Classist. Fuck them for all of that [email protected] I hope they get picketed and boycotted and have to close down. Picketing would be a great way to drive traffic away from them and hurt them where it counts-in the wallet. That 'type' of white gay does not like to be associated with anything that might shine a negative light on them so picketing would work to keep them away.

    If they don't want you as customers, let them know that you don't want them as a local business. By driving their customer base away. I am against banning stuff, but this is not banning, just sort of protesting and giving them a taste of their own medicine.
     
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  5. alton

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    Yeah, apps have killed off some of the business, I'm sure, but again, I saw all this coming before the apps really took hold. As far as picketing, boycotting, etc...that may work in some towns but NYC/NJ/CT have more than enough of the "Right White" that these establishments could really care less about the negative press. G Lounge, for example, had had MANY complaints and they just got more popular.
     
  6. OhSheit

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    I still say us NYC cyphers should show out in a herd and go to ReBar. I haven't been in a fight in a minute and I know @Coltrane and @SB3 are wit it.
     
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  7. ColumbusGuy

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    Don't get in a fight...just get them to be racist or say some sh#t and record it! A hidden recorder would be best just in case you get some evidence..then it can be plastered online nation or world wide and sink them! Maybe you should leave @SB3 out of it though...those anger issues...

    Hell even if they say 'we are all full' and make you wait..if you can get inside eventually and then it is nearly empty that is still evidence that can be posted to facebook, youtube, other social media and create a sh#tstorm for them. If New Yorkers don't care...the rest of the world has plenty of people who will. Black gays should start flocking there just to f#ck with them..but buying nothing...just being there to piss them off lol.
     
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  8. Omega Level

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    Ha, yeah thats a good one @ColumbusGuy. Show up like a BLM march and see what they do. After all the hoopla, they'll probably let everyone in to play as if they are not racist, but internally their blood would be boiling. LMAO

    I always found it crazy when people show their hand so blatantly. Of course I dont condone racism, but if you wanted a certain "group" or "demographic" in your establishment there are things you can do that encourages that without being an ass and saying your club is full. I mean either way the sh*t is corny. But when people show what bothers them it gives others more incentive to pick at that very thing. I've become very good at cloaking what irritates me or my insecurities. Not showing you my scab so you can pick at it.

    However, in the end I guess it does serve minority groups to know what time it is up front with places that may not want our dollar before we go in there spending money and laughing like its one ole good time.
     
  9. BlackguyExecutive

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    White Supremacy is alive and well. We all know that. We all know that certain clubs are for certain people.

    It has been a while since I was that Club Kid who literally went out every night of the week, to latin night, to lesbian night, to "Urban night" and then to mainstream nights which were always Saturday. This was all in a single club that placated to different demographics and made ALL of the gay money. Each night with its own clientele is a great business practice. I feel pretty fortunate that the Tampa, Florida gay club scene was relatively inclusive and people stuck to what they liked. If you liked the latin music you hit up the latin night, if you liked hip-hop and trap music you went to urban night. Personally, for me, I loved the lesbian night because they literally had the best dance music and I liked to piss off scary Stud Lesbians by dancing with their women.

    I guess the moral of the story is that I am not surprised by the findings that gay club safe spaces are racist because white supremacy is powerful and everywhere. With that being said, If you are in the business of making money you should be in the business of making money from everyone.
     
  10. SB3

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    Well, we had gone to G on 'urban' night (Fri) quite a few times, but can't speak on the 6 other nights of the week...
     
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