After the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando earlier this year, there was renewed talk about the importance of gay bars and other “safe spaces” where LGBTQ people can come together. But what happens when those spaces become infiltrated by straight people?
“For someone who’s gay, a night out in a gay bar means that they don’t have to brush off homophobic comments disguised as ‘banter’ and aren’t at risk from violence and harassment from people who don’t agree with their sexuality,” Lottie Tiplady-Bishop writes in a new blog post published by The Tab.
The post, titled Should straight people go to gay clubs?, raises the question of whether or not heterosexuals still need work on “recognizing their privilege” before going out to gay clubs.
“Even though most would assume the kind of straight person who would choose to visit a gay club would be fairly open minded,” Tiplady-Bishop writes, “there’s still a risk that the more integrated a gay bar becomes, the higher the risk of homophobia.”
She then brings up the issue of straight people often viewing gay bars as a “novelty,” where they can go “to ogle gay people, ‘turn’ them straight or scream at drag queens.”
“Obviously gay culture is very vibrant and this makes for a great atmosphere on a night out,” she writes, “but there’s a fine line between appreciation and appropriation.”
“It’s totally possible to just go to a gay club and have a good time whether you’re gay or not,” Tiplady-Bishop concludes, “but there is a deeper significance to gay venues that’s sometimes too easily forgotten.”
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