Gay Bar Wins Right To Ban Heterosexuals
A Melbourne gay bar has been granted an Exemption from the Equal Opportunity Act in a landmark ruling which will allow security to refuse entry to heterosexuals. The owners of Collingwood's Peel Hotel, which came under fire in April for promoting a gay Anzac Day party, successfully argued to the state planning tribunal that banning heterosexuals from the club would prevent "sexually based insults and violence". The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal granted the controversial powers to the club last week. VCAT deputy president Cate McKenzie claimed that allowing straight men and women into the club would defeat the purpose of the venue."This would undermine or destroy the atmosphere which the company wishes to create," McKenzie said."Sometimes heterosexual groups and lesbian groups insult and deride and are even physically violent towards the gay male patrons."McKenzie said some straight women came to the club because they found the gay patrons entertaining."To regard the gay male patrons of the venue as providing an entertainment or spectacle to be stared at, as one would at an animal at a zoo, devalues and dehumanises them," she said."(This exemption) seeks to give gay men a space in which they may, without inhibition, meet, socialise and express physical attraction to each other in a non-threatening atmosphere."A spokeswoman for the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Lobby Group told the Herald Sun that gay men at the Peel had been made to feel like "zoo animals"."This exemption was not sought to exclude members of the community but to try to maintain a safe space for men to meet," the spokeswoman said."It's sad that members of our community would have to go to the VCAT to preserve their rights."This is one of the only free venues with live music in the area, so certainly some people may feel a bit unhappy about the decision."