The Camp Vamp: Katrina Fox

Commentary on GLBTIQ issues, social justice and some of life's quirks.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


So, a gay men’s pub in Melbourne, the Peel Hotel, has won the right to refuse entry to straight men and women, and lesbians. Should we be glad about this?

Well, first off I can appreciate that a queer pub overrun by straights can be really irritating. Being cruised by straight boys with wandering hands isn’t much fun – for lesbians, anyway. Neither is getting filthy looks from bimbos in the women’s loos for physical displays of affection with your girlfriend. (I mean, haven’t they seen a strap-on before?). Women booking a gay venue for hen nights and using the gay patrons as entertainment isn’t on either.

But is refusing entry to someone on the basis of their sexuality and gender identity really the answer? I don’t think so. For one, how on earth can it be policed effectively? Even in days of old, when the words ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ were en vogue, it was a dodgy sort of policy. Now, with the modern ‘queer’ label, and the trend for people “not to define” their sexuality but who are on the lookout for same-sex dalliances, it becomes really messy to implement. What of the butch, Muscle Mary ‘straight-looking/straight acting’ queen who wants to get into the Peel Hotel for a bit of man-on-man rumpty-tumpty? What exactly is he going to have to do to ‘prove’ he’s gay? Suck off the doorman or the manager? Bend over for a good rogering from his boyfriend?

Interestingly, the Peel Hotel has included lesbians in the groups of undesirables it does not wish to darken its doors, apparently because they “insult and deride, and are even physically violent towards the gay male patrons”. Now, I will say here that drunk lesbians are a pain in the backside. I’ve had more than my fair share of sozzled dykes getting lairy, and in a particularly wasted moment, I myself threatened to burn down the apartment of a woman I was obsessed with unless she slept me with – it was a LONG time ago, and she’s been my girlfriend for the past 14 years (note to young lesbians: don’t try this, as neurotic lesbianism is no longer fashionable and you’re likely to have an AVO taken out against you). But not all dykes are aggressive drunks out to frighten the delicate gay men.

Neither are all straight people. So, here’s a thought: instead of refusing entry to someone because of their sexuality or gender identity, refuse it because of someone’s behaviour. If someone’s being naff, loud, obnoxious or looks like trouble, whether they’re male, female, straight, lesbian, bi, queer or other, don’t let them in, or if they are inside already, chuck them out. Because if other queer places follow the Peel Hotel’s lead, expect to see select members of the GLBT community setting up the Australian Sexuality Verification Commission who will issue Gold membership cards for the ‘real’ gays among us. The rest will sue. It won’t be pretty.


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