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The Village


Clubbing
Who's straight and who's gay?

Take me to the gay bar?

What makes a gay bar gay? Should the majority of the people in there be homosexual? Some bars on Canal Street think so, and to keep straight people out, they're actually testing men and women for their 'gayness'.


It’s not something that’s new to the Village, and it must be stressed that it’s not all venues, but as being gay has become more accepted and programmes like Queer as Folk have increased interest in the area, more straight people are going down to Canal Street to enjoy a night out, and so the policy comes into use more and more.

Ashley Byrne, from BBC GMR’s GayTalk, says that the popularity in the Village has increased not just the number of heterosexuals, but the tensions between them and the usual Village crowd.

"I was turned away from one bar on my 30th birthday, but they let a straight friend of mine in because he looked more gay."
Ashley Byrne on why the policy is difficult to enforce

"Largely, there’s no trouble but there's been isolated incidents. Some bars at the weekend have started to become predominately straight. Some gay people find it uncomfortable not knowing whether they're in a space which they can totally relax in."

The question is, though, how can door staff tell if someone’s gay or not? Ashley says it’s an issue that everyone going into the area has to deal with, whether they’re gay or not.

"I was turned away from one bar on my 30th birthday, but they let a straight friend of mine in because he looked more gay - he's a bit camp you see. Some bars ask questions; in fact I was asked what magazines I read! I was a bit pedantic about it so they didn't let me in."

All this could change soon, though, as under the new Equality Bill, hotels and bed and breakfasts will no longer be able to turn gay couples away because of their sexuality - and that also works the other way too. Gay venues will no longer be able to ban people on the grounds of their sexuality, which could mean more private members clubs are opened.

Should this be an issue at all? Does it matter what sexuality you are when you’re out in the village? Are gay venues right to turn away straight punters?
Talk about this subject on the message board >
last updated: 27/03/06
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