Unabashed Heterophobe (paulnolan) wrote in ontd_political,
Unabashed Heterophobe
paulnolan
ontd_political

Why gay-only venues should have the right to exist

 In the wake of a case that seemed to sound the death knell for homophobia, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has found a new target. Despite no formal complaints, the Commission is investigating potential discrimination – from gay-only venues.

But is that really a big deal? Now that gay people are enjoying an unprecedented amount of tolerance, why stay in the ghetto even if it is fabulous?

The truth is that the LGBT community needs a space of its own as much as ever, and steps to ‘integrate’ queer and mainstream society are a step backwards for gay rights.

Despite the considerable advances in both legislation and public acceptance, many gay people still do not feel comfortable expressing their sexuality in a mixed venue. An attempt to prohibit the only places where they can be assured of a warm welcome will have a deletorious effect on the LGBT community, particularly those who are closeted.

The people who oppose gay-only venues don’t understand the need for a safe space, and for that I envy them. They don’t take a risk every time they kiss their partner in public, or book a room in a bed and breakfast.

They’ve never wondered if this is the day their luck will run out and some bigot having a bad day will decide to make them their next target. I don’t want to be forced into separate rooms or try to get my groove on in twin beds for the crime of holidaying whilst gay.

It isn’t about some petty act of revenge against a mainstream that ignored or criminalised us.

It’s also unenforceable. Gay clubs frequently turn away clientele they think are straight, but who makes those decisions? Community spaces need to be there for the whole community, from femme dykes to ‘straight-acting’ men.

You can’t have a sign outside saying ‘you must be this gay to ride’. If we’re going to preserve queer-only venues, we need to ask ourselves what it is we want them to do.

We claim to be a safe space, but for whom? Not the transwomen, who get turned away from women-only spaces that only allow for narrow definition of what it is to be a woman.

Not our bisexual sisters, who face the attitude endemic among many lesbians that implies even the merest dalliance with a penis can cancel out a lifetime of girl on girl action. If we want to protect LGBT-only venues, we have to make sure that that protection extends to everyone.

Those of us who are out fight on the frontlines daily, furthering the integration the EHRC wants just by being open about who we are.

Of course the end goal should be to eliminate it entirely, but sometimes you want to stop fighting and dance.

Source: Liberal Conspiracy

ETA: If you value your sanity, don't read the source comments. LibCon's patrons are really showing their arse with this one.
Tags: human rights, lgbtq / gender & sexual minorities, uk
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