According to some reports, a Chicago-area gay bar, Wang’s turned away women, setting off an interesting, though enduring debate on protocol, etiquette as well as discrimination. The manager of Wang’s denied a policy of sexist bias, and it may turn out that the issue with Wang’s might be the acts of just one thoughtless employee.
But folks have been discussing the idea of banning bachelorette parties in gay bars for a bit. And because of this story, some online commentators have taken to the Internet to express their opinions. Some support banning bachelorette parties, while some oppose. Those in support of the ban site that since same-sex marriage is illegal, it’s very insensitive for women to supposedly “flaunt” their rights in front of those who cannot – others take issue at what can be perceived as condescension from straight women, who supposedly view gay men as little more than witty sidekicks.
While there is merit in some of these concerns, I don’t think we’ll be doing ourselves any favors by barring these groups. Now, if these young ladies become so obnoxious and obstructive that they’re causing a scene, then by all means, discreet motions from security are warranted – but let’s not pretend that it’s just straight brides-to-be that are acting a fool.
Some bars across the country request that women queuing for a bachelorette night at a gay bar sign a petition supporting marriage equality – that seems to be a more productive approach – others view this as an opportunity to build bridges between communities – a very important goal, as the LGBT community continues to surge ahead in gaining equal rights.
While looking at the various comments, I’ve noticed some gay men complain about being turned away at lesbian bars for being men – while I agree that this isn’t the most pleasant experience, we have to call this a false equivalency: when lesbian bars enact a female-only rule, it’s often for safety – women need to know that they’ll be in a safe space, where they can be themselves, without having possible sex predators or leering jackasses who just like to see two women make out. It’s not the same as barring women from entering a gay bar because the owners and some of the patrons are rightfully upset that they cannot get married.
I don’t want to make this bigger than it really is – I mean, really this could just have been a misunderstanding, but there is a concerning divide among gay men and straight women. I know many gay male readers and straight women will shout “What?” at the computer screen and insist that “my best friend is a gay man/straight woman!”
And it’s true the straight girl/gay guy coupling is legendary. But let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that there isn’t a serious problem with misogyny in the gay male community – I mean, just think back to the last night you heard your gay friend call a woman a “bitch,” “hag,” or “fish.” Try to talk about a woman’s reproductive organs or menstruation with a gay man and you’ll get a reaction you’d expect from a 12-year-old, not an adult.
And that’s not to say that the straight girl component of the relationship is without baggage – to many straight women, gay men have been relegated to assigned roles as the witty, sometimes bitchy, friend who doles out advice on fashion. Be honest ladies, think about the last time that you heard a guy’s gay, and you huffed a frustrated, “what a waste.” Uh, last time I checked, my sexuality as well as my committed relationship was anything but a waste…
And so while Will & Grace idealized the Venn diagram of life where gay men and straight women intersect, the truth – as always is a lot messier and a lot more complicated. Just like the LGBT community should examine its relationship with the black community, we also need to make sure that we’re doing all we can when looking at how we approach women – remember, the more allies we have, the better.