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Forums / Sexuality and gender identity / Straight men in gay bars

Topic: Straight men in gay bars

18 posts, 0 answered
  1. justinok
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    151 posts
    10 March 2016

    So this is a discussion I came across on Reddit...it's kinda too long for here so I've tried to keep in the main points. For those non gay people who think it's 'trendy' to go to a gay bar, or like to pat themselves on the back for doing it, maybe think twice...

    One thing you have to consider is that if you're straight, you have the luxury of being able to safely assume everyone around you is straight unless someone indicates otherwise. Gay people don't have the equivalent luxury. 

    Keep in mind that if you're a straight person going to a gay bar, you make it harder for the LGB patrons to find potential partners. After all, if enough straight people go to a gay bar, it's no longer a gay bar, and the local gays/lesbians may have no where they can safely hit on others of the same sex. 

    Consider a gay guy who goes on a ski trip in a group of 160 people. Educated estimates for LGBT people are about 5% of the population, so that means probably about 8 people in the group are gay or bi. Now image that you wanted to do what straight people often do, meet someone, hang out, maybe even have some sexy-time. Half of those 8 will be women, and only half will be single. So that brings it down to 2 single gay guys including yourself in the entire group.

    The odds are astronomically stacked against you and the other single gay guy meeting each other and knowing that each other are gay. After all, there is no magical way of determining which of the 159 others is gay, and there are often severe penalties for guessing if someone is gay. On top of all that, you have all the typical issues with finding a partner that straight people face. So even if you manage to identify the one other single gay gay, you very well might not be each other's type.

    On the other hand, if you're straight, all these extra barriers are removed. Although they might not be interested in you for other reasons, you can safely assume that others are attracted to the opposite-sex.

    Statistics show that the majority of straight people meet their SO randomly (friends of friends, work, etc.), which works because straight people have the luxury of being able to assume that each other are straight. 

    ...I don't think it's intrinsically wrong for a straight person to go to a gay bar. But unless the straight person is going as a wingman/woman for his/her LGB friend, I think it would be very inconsiderate to not at least seriously think about going somewhere first."

  2. Missing user
    Missing user avatar
    10 March 2016 in reply to justinok

    Yeah, I think I get it..........

    So I guess that means that I, as a straight person, would not really be very welcome in your new Cafe with no name?

    Naturally I would have liked just to show my support and show solidarity with fellow mental health sufferers of all kinds.  But if I was to cause offence, as a straight person, by doing so then I understand.  

    It must be extrememly difficult being a minority group, and anything that makes it easier for you all, then I am all for it.

    Wishing you all well.

    Sherie xx

  3. blondguy
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    10 March 2016 in reply to justinok

    Hey Just

    Paul here saying hi. I am straight and have some friends and work colleagues that very proudly gay in their choice of lifestyle and sexuality. Two small issues if I may....so i cant go into a gay bar to meet my friends for a drink that are gay?

    I was one of the original supporters (including Kazz's name for it) for the new Rainbow Cafe...To me it has absolutely nothing to with being seen as  trendy but respect for what the LBGT represents and stands for. I have been pushed away from corporate society because anxiety 'isnt accepted' or tolerated thus being one of my reasons for my presence in the BB Forums in the first place.

    I hope you wont do the same as many corporate managers do justinok....but a  great post! I look forward to having a nice cuppa in the new Cafe :-) There is no room for 'exclusivity' in my life right now.

    Kind Regards

    Paul

     

     

  4. Paul
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    11 March 2016 in reply to Missing user

    Hey Sherie,

    Everyone is welcome at the transcendent rainbow cafe with no name. Gay, straight, bi, trans, and all the colours in between. Fellow mental health sufferers, survivors, advisors and carers are also especially welcome.

    If I may add my take on the original post by justinok;

    From personal experience it takes a whole lot of confidence to approach someone you fancy in a mixed bar. I am lucky in that one time when I did approach someone, he was a good sport. We exchanged glances quite a bit. and I followed him inside. I met his group and we started to chat. I said "we held a bit of eye contact out there" he said "Yeah I thought you were trying to pick a fight with me".

    I laughed and said "No I'm trying to pick you up!"

    He laughed and said "Oh I don't swing that way" so I said "Oh bugger, well thanks heaps for being a good sport"

    If the guy didn't have a sense of humour or was homophobic I could have earned myself a punch in the face. If I was shy it never would have happened.

    I think justin's point is that there are safe places for gay people to go where it's safe to assume that everyone is gay. It's made more difficult and comes back towards being a mixed situation if the percentage of gay people is less.

    The other point I'd like to make is that if a straight person is in a gay bar in the first place they are likely gay friendly and having someone approach them with a smile and a nudge would be more flattering and less confronting (generally) if the nudged person is straight.

    There are exceptions. Homophobic people actually go to gay bars to pick up guys and beat them up. It's happened, It still happens. People have died as a result.

    So my overall points in summary are:

    Come one come all

    If you get a pinch on the bottom by someone of the same sex, consider it a flattering sign that they really like something about you.

    Seeing as the transcendent rainbow cafe with no name is an all inclusive safe place. The done thing would be that you get asked if you can be pinched on the bottom first.

     

    Paul (ouch - OK who just pinched my bottom!?)

  5. justinok
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    151 posts
    11 March 2016

    Hmm... this was actually a conversation about gay bars in the real world, not threads on a forum, but there's some stuff that's come up here that illustrates perfectly why GLBTI people need to have safe spaces of our own to talk without having to be on the defensive.  Not sure if you realise how offensive it is Paul to refer to someone's sexuality as a "choice" and a "lifestyle". It is neither. 

    I have been in situations where straight men are in gay bars, perhaps with a larger group for a bit of a laugh. They then react aggressively to people who might be looking at them. Similar thing with hen's nights - and I understand that women might go to a gay bar because they are sick of being harassed in straight bars and just want a night out.  

    I don't think it's too much to ask to have one space - one space! - in an entire city where you can go and safely assume that everyone in the room is gay without having to think about your own personal safety and comfort with every word or gesture, like we have to do in the real world every goddamn day.

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  6. Missing user
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    11 March 2016 in reply to Paul

    Hey Paul, thankyou for the reassurance of an all-inclusive welcome at your "Rainbow Cafe with no name".

    I have a couple of gay friends, one male and one female, although I dont get to see them much any more after moving quite a distance from them about 5 years ago.  But I do still keep in touch with them and catch up occasionally when I visit my old home town.  I am certainly not homophobic, and do understand some of the difficulties faced by you all.  I most definitely would not take offence if I were made a pass at by another female in a bar. I may be a little embarrassed at first, however I would take it as a compliment, as intended. I would make it clear in my own quiet way that I was straight, but flattered by their interest.

    You say that there are Homophobic people who actually go to gay bars to pick up guys and then beat them up, sometimes resulting in deaths.  Yes, that is true and a horrible tragedy.  However if someone was trying to get into a gay bar for that purpose, by posing as a gay person, then how are you to know - until its too late?  You can try to exclude non-gay people, but if someone wants to get in for sinister purposes, then its going to be mighty hard to pick them.  This must be a constant concern, but not something I suspect that can be prevented as easily as excluding non-gay persons.  And dont forget that most gay people have non-gay friends as well, and also like to socialise with them.

    Justinok, yes of course you deserve a safe place to meet and socialise, that you can call your own.  And I hope you can find that safe place.

    Sherie xx

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  7. justinok
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    151 posts
    11 March 2016
    This isn't about policing who goes in and out of bars. It's actually a request to non-gay people, as in the last line of my post, about having a think about your actions and choices. This isn't about homophobia, it's more about privileged thinking.

    On that, it's interesting that even in this thread we have a gay person having to apologise and reassure the non-gay people that they are not being excluded. In a forum space that is supposed to be specifically for and about LGBTI people to discuss their issues!  And so far I've had one person (Rainbow Paul) actually respond to the actual topic I wanted to discuss.

    As an HIV positive gay male, I would very much like to find a safe space to discuss these issues with my peers but am increasingly coming to the conclusion that this space is not the one in which to have it, if I can't even start a thread about a real issue that affects LGBTI people in a LGBTI forum without being lectured by non-gay people about how exclusionary I'm being.  
  8. Paul
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    11 March 2016 in reply to justinok

    Hey everyone

    I understand what is being said about not having places where we can go and really feel free to say anything without having to consider the implications back upon ourselves if someone acts upon prejudice or fear or a group of people they don't understand etc. I share this concern and ask that the discussion about safe places is maintained in a way that considers there are all types of LGBTI people as well. As I mentioned in my post just above, I was bold and the guy I hit on took it in good spirits. If I was not game or the person was hostile I would have either not had the opportunity to try and meet someone, or had a blood nose. Imagine someone with social anxiety who is gay trying to meet someone :(

    I suggested the rainbow cafe with no real name yet as a place where our community can mix in a friendly way with all other communities in a non mental health way - a bit like a rec room, that's why I have said "come one come all". After all, it's good to have people who are friendly to the LGBTI community offer support and drop by for a hello.

    Having said that, I strongly believe that the special space set up for us here on the BB forums, IS a sanctuary where we have every right to feel safe to speak our minds as GLBITQ people and talk about issues concerning us and our community without recourse or upsetting someone. None of us want to upset anyone. Depression and anxiety do enough of that to all of us. Things said in the sexuality and gender identity forum (except for the cafe) are, respectfully, our safe place to talk freely.

    Paul

     

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  9. Missing user
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    11 March 2016 in reply to justinok

    Hi Justinok, I'm sorry if I have made you feel as though I was lecturing you in any way.  Definitely not my intention, as a lecture would be the last thing I would want to do.  My apologies that I have invaded your space.  I thought by contributing to your thread, and thus offering another perspective, I was actually being inclusive rather than the opposite.  Obviously I was wrong.

    Sorry.

    Sherie 

  10. Gruffudd
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    11 March 2016 in reply to justinok

    Hi there,

    It is worth everyone reading this to step back for a moment and think about their own experience and perhaps take a deep breath. I am not interested in fighting or upsetting anyone. 

    I suspect that this topic resonates with so many in our community. It is hard enough to find a safe place where you don't have to explain yourself as a gay man. For our trans sisters and brothers it might seem impossible sometimes. I didn't quite get the meaning of this until I went to a queer uni conference in Adelaide. Sometime on the second day I realised that I was in a room full of people all of whom were gay, lesbian, trans, genderqueer, etc. It was safe, there was no need to explain, or try to figure out the sexuality, it was fine to ask and tell, and for the first and possibly only time in my life I was not a very small minority. Whilst I was there we had a screening of a french movie with a central genderqueer character - I had never seen a person like me in a movie, that was huge.

    I'll be honest, I do resent it when there are straight people in a queer bar who don't need to be in there. I am fine with them everywhere else but in there I shouldn't have to deal with people being upset that I thought they might be gay. And that post is right the numbers are stacked up, even in Commercial Road or Oxford Street, and completely so in a regional centre where we might get a few hours of private function space on a Thursday or Monday once a month. I don't get the choice of venues or anywhere to go on the weekend, like all the straight people do. And I know from experience that on the weekend it is simply not physically safe for me to enter one of those spaces.

    It might be like the womens movement where a space to discuss womens issues away from men and their desire to control or but into the conversation is absolutely necessary. How we include and encourage participation on this part of the forum needs some thought. 

    So anyway, thank you Justinok for raising this and reminding me of Adelaide. 

    Rob.

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  11. Gruffudd
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    11 March 2016 in reply to Missing user

    Hi there Sherie and Paul,

    I think the thing to think about when entering a minority space is your purpose for being there. There is a difference between being invited by gay friends into a space and going there on a hens night. 

    The cafe thread is a place for more of a light hearted discussion with a LGBTI theme, there is a reason for you to join in like you have been and what you have added has been welcome. In other threads you are welcome too, there are sensitivities in our community and people will try to explain when something is upsetting or even offensive from a LGBTI perspective (I think that it is generous when people do that because they are trying to nurture and include you rather then letting you continue upsetting without knowing that you are) Have you read "to kill a mocking bird"? I think it is like that, we learn through walking a mile in someone else's shoes. I haven't quite mastered that skill myself but will keep trying. 

    Rob.

  12. Missing user
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    11 March 2016 in reply to Gruffudd

    Thats fine Rob.  Not a problem.  I accept all that you have said.

    Although I should point out that I am not a particularly social person, and have never been on a 'hens night' in my life.  And if I ever did, I strongly suspect that it wouldnt be to a gay bar.  ( - :

    I accept that I have inadvertently invaded your space by my comments. But dont fret I wont do it again.

    I am not offended or hurt by any of this, so dont worry about that.  

    However I am, I think, just a little confused?

    Sherie xx

  13. Gruffudd
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    15 March 2016 in reply to Paul
    So I was watching this debate about trans identity on news 24. It was just a little difficult at times partly because I kind of could see the point both sides were trying to make. There was one part in particular and it went to this idea of space. One on the feminist side described a university womens event cup cake day where the trans women were asked not to take part. They protested and said they felt like they were being excluded, this was seen as being an example of transwomen making assumptions based in part on their male privilege and them being unreasonable as it was the only thing they were excluded from. Later a transman on the other side if the panel noted in a quiet almost defeated tone (the one I use when I speak a personal truth that I know will be dismissed by the other person) that until transwomen and transmen were accepted as being women and men then there would be no level playing field. There are plenty of spaces these days where GLBTI people are 'mostly' accepted, there are very few where it is unconditional, and it is that unconditional thing that gets me going... I think we need a space where there is unconditional acceptance. 
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  14. white knight
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    15 March 2016 in reply to Gruffudd

    Hi justinok

    What a great thread. While reading your original post, my mind went into the equality mode. All places for all people. By the end of reading it, my view has totally changed.

    Modern ways of meeting anyone for a potential partner are now limited compared to say 50 years ago or more, when old time dancing was common. So I wish you well and thankyou from this straight guy that respects gay people and all others. You've educated me.

    Tony WK

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  15. justinok
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    17 March 2016 in reply to Gruffudd
    On Rob's post, this is where I think a lot of people are upset about the profile that Caitlyn Jenner has. She has lived most of her life as a privileged, rich, white male athlete and that is fuel to the fire for people who don't understand trans issues and want to map her life onto the life of anyone who doesn't fit into the male/female box.  There's a lot of othering that goes on, even within our own communities, and some of us don't know where we are supposed to fit.  Case in point, watch what happens when you tell people - even other gay men - that you're poz.
  16. Gruffudd
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    17 March 2016 in reply to justinok

    There appears to be a lot that I don't understand about the negative reactions to trans people. I happen to find Caitlyn Jenner to be personable and interesting. She seems far more genuine now that she isn't trying to put on so much of that front to the world (and I know I have been there). I think I am just happy to see her happy. 

    The issue of othering in our own community is a huge one. Like the fear that comes along when people disclose their HIV status - we know the risks of transmission, and it is not like there is a risk in respect or friendship - the worst thing that might happen is that you enjoy yourself with a new friend, and even further... current medication means that it could be safer being with a positive person managing their health then someone who doesn't know their HIV status (there is plenty of information out there on that). I find those negative reactions a bit hard to handle they remind me of the 1980's. There was a lot of vicious stuff about bi people there for a long time, it falls into the same. There is this dichotomy sometimes of being either invisible or treated as an other. 

    My answer is two things. I challenge myself to live the change, and to be looking for the good, connection, and friendship regardless of my initial reaction (which for straight people might sometimes be negative). The other part is to have the courage speak up knowing that sometimes people can not because of the way they are treated. I speak for myself and the world I want to live in where everyone has the right to their own voice and to do the same. Anyone who wants to join me on these two things is a bit of a hero in my eyes.

  17. Paul
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    18 March 2016 in reply to Gruffudd

    Rob, I'm right there with you. If one were to look at my rants on facebook, I clearly give no tosses as to who I offend when I talk about rights for our community, tolerance, removal of stereotyping and cats.

     

    P

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  18. blondguy
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    18 March 2016 in reply to justinok

    Hi Justinok

    I just caught back up with your great thread. I would like to apologize for the outdated terminology I used in my prior post "choice of lifestyle and sexuality" I meant no offense whatsoever and I didnt know that my post was 'out of line' in anyway.

    I still have my close gay friends that I have known/respect since I was in the fashion industry a long time ago and was ignorant of the 'correct' way to express myself. I am not well versed in the politically correct way to express myself and will make a concerted effort to do so. I do hope you can understand the environment my gay friends/managers/myself had in the late '70's with homophobia I would appreciate it...It was very difficult for us to socialize, for all of us.

    Thankyou Just and Paul for your understanding

    Kind Thoughts for You

    Paul

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