Showing posts with label gay Bars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gay Bars. Show all posts

October 3, 2018

Drag Queens Boycotting The Long Standing Bar inThe West Village 'The Monster'




 by                                     
The bar manager at The Monster said a flier made it look like they were promoting "a black night," which was bad for business.                     
Drag queens are protesting a famous gay bar in New York City’s West Village over racism.
The Monster is known for its drag shows and go-go boys, but a flier promoting one such event did not meet the preferences of bar manager Italo Lopez, who texted about his dissatisfaction to DJ/Producer Mitch Ferrino.
Lopez said the flier for Honey Davenport show Manster (pictured below) made it seem like the club was promoting a “black night” which would be “not good for the business.” He also said the men pictured should be “beautiful,” to which Ferrino replied that they were. 
Davenport reportedly tried reaching out to the bar’s owner, but received no reply and decided to take her grievance to the stage, where she informed the cheering crowd that she would not be performing that night because of the situation. 
“I cannot be a part of this anymore,” she concluded, growing visibly emotional. “If you don’t want my people at the party, I won’t be here.”
She dropped the mic and walked offstage to applause. 
Davenport also made the following statement to Out
First, thank you to everyone who has reached out and spoken up in support. Taking this step away from a place that I had considered my home was terrifying, and it’s a huge comfort to know that my nightlife family has my back. I’m saddened by the stance that Italo (and in their refusal to respond, The Monster Bar) has taken but unfortunately, I’m not surprised by it. This happens everywhere. I had to speak up because I knew that not doing so would mean I was complicit in perpetuating these attitudes towards other artists. Other performers need to know that they don’t have to be mistreated. Our art has no home in a place where we are not respected. Not speaking up would be like saying, “You just have to take this.”
We have always been a community that fights hate. We must embrace and fight for our queer brothers and sisters of all races. Black people and people of color have had a long history of fighting for our community and we need our community to fight for us now.
Our fight is far from over. We have to keep it going. The Monster is going to wait this out and hope it blows over. For real change to happen, we need to keep fighting.
Other drag queens have rallied in support of Davenport, and against the establishment. 
“Any space that is unwelcome and unappreciative to black folks, I refuse to do business and build community in,” drag queen Emi Grate wrote in an email to Lopez. “I had always considered the Monster a safe haven for queer people of color, and it is gravely disheartening to see your comments. A proper public apology is in order.”
Ferrino has also decided to no longer hold his event at The Monster, informing the bar’s owner, Charles Rice, and thanking him for “everything you’ve ever done for me” but that he would no longer partner with the venue until “the situation is rectified with Italo.”
Rice, according to text messages Ferrino supplied to Out, blamed him for showing the text messages from Lopez to Davenport and if he is forced to close down for good, he should “remember this moment in time.”
“The moment you blamed me instead of the man who did wrong,” Ferrino messaged back to Rice. “Yes. Remember it well.” 
Ferrino had hosted LookQueen, a drag competition started by Bob the Drag Queen before appearing on RuPaul’s Drag Race, at The Monster for four years. 
Journalist based in Charlotte, North Carolina, whose work has appeared in The Charlotte Observer, Creative Loafing, and more.
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September 19, 2018

German Teenager Arrested For Plotting a Bomb Attack on Gay NightClub


A German teenager has been arrested on suspicion he was planning an Islamic extremist bombing attack in the Frankfurt area, prosecutors said Thursday. 
Frankfurt prosecutors’ spokesman Sinan Akdogan told the Associated Press the 17-year-old was arrested by Hesse state police Sept. 1 and ordered held by a judge on suspicion of preparing a serious act of violence.
The information leading to the arrest, provided by the US, indicated the suspect was planning to attack a gay nightclub in Frankfurt and a Catholic church in the city, according to an official with access to intelligence information, who discussed it on condition of anonymity.
Akdogan would not comment on the target or the source of the information, citing the ongoing investigation. 
At the time of his arrest, the suspect had instructions on how to make explosives and was trying to procure chemicals online, Akdogan said.
It was not clear how advanced the preparations were, but Akdogan said small amounts of chemicals were found during a search of the suspect’s home in Florstadt, northeast of Frankfurt.
The suspect’s name was withheld for privacy reasons and Akdogan said he could not give further details on the planned attack.
Germany has previously had success with American intelligence information helping thwart plots, most notably in 2007 in stopping a plan to bomb the US Air Force’s Ramstein Air Base in southern Germany.
In that case, following a tip from the US, German officials put under surveillance four members of the radical Islamic Jihad Union and covertly replaced the hydrogen peroxide they had collected to use for their bombs with a diluted substitute that could not have been used to produce an explosive.
That allowed them to build a case over time and four men were eventually arrested and convicted of terrorism-related charges.  

August 6, 2017

London Tells Developers Go Ahead Develop But The Gay Bar Stays




They will develop this spot but the gay bar returns, so says the city of east London. Don't remember the City of New york ever doing that.




The Joiners Arms, in east London, was bought by developers Regal Homes in 2014 and closed its doors a year later.    

Campaigners fighting to reestablish a legendary London gay bar have made history as planners have ordered for the first time  that a LGBT bar must be created as part of a luxury flats development. 
The decision by Tower Hamlets council to order a multi-million pound redevelopment to include an LGBT venue comes as more than half of London's gay bars have closed in the last decade.

It is believed to be the first time that the sexual orientation of a venue’s customers has been included as a condition of planning approval. 
The Joiners Arms, in east London, was bought by developers Regal Homes in 2014 and closed its doors a year later.

Regulars from the pub, whose clientele has included the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen, singer-songwriters Rufus Wainwright and Patrick Wolf, designer Christopher Kane, actor Rupert Everett and former Westlife singer Mark Feehily, created the Friends of the Joiners Arms (FOTJA) and achieved protective status for it ahead of the planning conditions being imposed.

Councillors are due to vote on plans submitted by Regal Homes on Wednesday which propose to transform the site into nine luxury flats and a pub. 

Ahead of the vote the company has said it is committed to ensuring an LGBT venue remains at the site for 12 years.

“The development on Hackney Road will re-provide a public house at ground-floor level with the same floor space as the previous Joiners Arms pub," a spokesman said.

"We are committed to keeping this space within our development in Tower Hamlets as a LGBT venue and have offered a right of first refusal on the lease to LGBT interested parties, including the Friends of the Joiners Arms and the New Joiners Arms.

“If the lease is taken up by an interested party then the venue will be secured for at least 12 years for LGBT use. We have also agreed a rent-free period for the first year."

A culture at risk officer from City Hall, who will help assess licensee applications, will later check the operator of the new bar is sufficiently LGBT and meets the requirements. 

Tower Hamlets Mayor, John Biggs added: “Tower Hamlets council is committed to celebrating our great diversity, which includes serving the needs of our LGBTQ+ community. I am delighted that as a council we are leading the way in using innovative ways to protect spaces such as the Joiners Arms site.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said he is committed to preserving LGBT venues in London as the number of venues has dropped from 125 to 53 since 2006.

“I hold LGBT venues in very high regard and have made it clear that protecting them is an integral part of my plans to grow London’s night-time economy and culture," he said.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for LGBT venues to exist, and as difficult as possible for them to close."



June 25, 2017

Gay Bar in Vermont Changes Name and Apologizes


        Lucy Bell LeMay attends the opening night of Mister
  
 
A post to Mister Sister's Facebook page said: "Sadly, we've had donations rejected from Pride Center of Vermont and Vermont People With AIDS Coalition due to our name." On May 10, owner Craig McGaughan said he had not donated to the Pride Center since controversy over the bar's name erupted and was referring to advocacy group's March 3 statement that they would reject donations from any place with hate speech as its name. 

The owner of a gay bar in Vermont has abandoned the name Mister Sister and is seeking forgiveness after three months of bitter controversy.
The new name of the Winooski area's only gay bar, which opened in March, will be The Bridge Club.
"I hope everyone finds the humor in going to 'The Bridge Club' to party, sees the nod to the historic Winooski Bridge and recognizes the camaraderie and necessity in building bridges," owner Craig McGaughan wrote on Facebook.
"My wish is that we can all forgive and move forward," McGaughan continued. "Nothing good came from the fighting. No one won here."
The name Mister Sister, which McGaughan initially described as inclusive, sparked controversy because some people viewed the term as a slur against transgender people. 
McGaughan changed his mind, according to a post on The Bridge Club page, after a transgender woman wrote a "kind letter" showing that people who claimed to support Mister Sister were "using public forums to create hate toward the trans community."
"I am a trans ally and when faced with the fact that this issue has created a platform for trans people to be blatantly abused, I had to act," McGaughan wrote.
"I realize now that I mistakenly listened to the fight rather than the pain," McGaughan added.
The Pride Center of Vermont asked McGaughan to change the name before the bar opened in March and pledged to refuse any donations that came from the bar.
McGaughan informed the Pride Center this week about his decision.
"The board is happy that Craig is changing the name of the bar and is open to meeting with Craig to continue the discussion," the Pride Center board of directors said in a statement shared by Executive Director Susan Hartman.
The new name also garnered many positive comments on the bar's Facebook page.
McGaughan declined to speak to the Burlington Free Press about when the name change would take place.
The change comes as the bar is also raising money online to keep its doors open. McGaughan has set a goal of raising $100,000 to pay bills and support operations.
"I've exhausted all of my business and personal resources, borrowed from family and friends and there's no longer any working capital or any sort of reserve to pull from," he wrote on a fundraising page created this month. 
USA TODAY NETWORKApril McCullum, The Burlington (Vt.) Free Press

Should A Bar Be Gay or Queenly?

The website for the Abbey touts its role as a two-time winner of Logo’s “Best Gay Bar in the World” award. But how gay is it? Some of the regulars believe the increasing number of straight people who go there has diluted its reason for being.
“My older gay clientele were saying, ‘Gosh, there are so many straight people in here,’” said David Cooley, the bar’s owner. “My argument was, we’ve been fighting for equality for all these years. We can’t reverse-discriminate and say: ‘You’re straight. You can’t come in here.’”
The Abbey, in West Hollywood, Calif., is not alone among gay bars in facing an identity crisis. In this time of increasing acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, gay establishments across the country are grappling with an influx of new visitors.
The newly diverse crowd at these formerly exclusive environments has set off a debate within the community about the meaning and purpose of such bars today. Something that seems to come up a lot in the discussion is the groups of straight women who consider gay bars as the perfect setting for bachelorette parties.
Photo
David Cooley, center, the owner of the Abbey, hanging out with 
friends at the Chapel on a Sunday afternoon.CreditEmily Berl for The New York Times 
“They use the space to become ‘wild girls,’” said Chris McKenzie, a 35-year-old computer programmer in West Hollywood. “It’s not at all in concert with what the gay men are there for.” Some men feel the women stereotype them. “They think of us as ‘fun’ and ‘free,’” said Vin Testa, a 27-year-old educator in Washington, D.C. “It seems like they’re coming in to find their next accessory, like a new handbag.”
Straight men enter these environs less frequently, it seems. Those who do come, regular patrons of gay bars said, tend not to draw much attention to themselves.
The debate over the evolution in the clientele touches on not only the role and history of gay bars, but also on the struggle to weigh the concerns of inclusivity with the need to retain L.G.B.T. spaces. It even begs existential questions: What does it mean to be a gay bar in the age of sexual fluidity? With the mainstreaming of L.G.B.T. people, and the wider variety of people identifying with “queer” issues, who rightfully owns a space once simply called “gay”?
On a recent weekend night, when I visited Industry, a gay club in Manhattan, roughly 15 percent of the crowd were straight women. “We come to have fun and relax without anything sexual,” said Cathy Merla, who identified herself as straight.
Photo
Miz Cracker, left, and Monét X Change performing with an audience
 member at Hardware Bar in Manhattan.CreditKrista Schlueter for The New York Times 
The men interviewed for this article stressed that they welcome respectful straight women into the bars, preferably in the company of gay men, lesbians or transgender people. They also acknowledge that straight women have long been their allies and understand that many of them come to avoid the tensions and come-ons they may face at straight bars. And yet, certain longtime patrons remain skeptical.
“The women always say they come to these bars to be left alone,” said Larry Kase, a comedy writer in West Hollywood. “But it seems like they want as much attention from gay men as possible.”
Gina Gatta, a lesbian who publishes the San Francisco-based Damron guide, a trusted resource for L.G.B.T. travel and night life, sees a voyeuristic element at play. “It’s like, ‘Let’s go hang out with “the gays” because they’re “cool,”’” Ms. Gatta said.
The development of what might be called gay bar tourism has been building. “Five years ago, this was unheard-of,” said Maxwell Heller, a drag artist in New York. “It’s been a slow trickle that grew over the last few years to reach this moment where it can’t be denied.”
Economic and sociological issues are likely factors, with gay bars in urban centers going out of business at an accelerated rate because of rising rents and perhaps also a shift in the hookup culture, from bars to apps like Grindr and Scruff. 
In her annual survey, Ms. Gatta cited a “drastic decline” in these establishments since 2008, to the point where now there has been a net loss of 15 bars per year nationwide. The erosion has hit lesbian establishments disproportionately, according to Ms. Gatta, with not a single bar exclusive to gay women in either San Francisco or Los Angeles.
To stay in business, many gay bars, like Nellie’s in Washington, have become more inclusive. Doug Schantz, the owner of Nellie’s, has said that he conceived of his establishment as a place open to all. Similarly, the website for Metropolitan, a lively bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, states, “We welcome everyone at the Metropolitan, LGBTQ and all our allies.”
A blueprint for this approach was set by the Abbey, which opened in an area packed with gay bars in 1991. Mr. Cooley, the owner, who is also an executive producer of “What Happens at the Abbey,” a new E! channel reality series set there, noticed that most of the other bars at the time catered to specific tastes — for leather men or “pretty boys,” for instance. He went for something broader while also defying the designs of older bars, which tended to hide behind closed doors, implying embarrassment.
“In the Abbey, I had go-go boys and go-go girls right out in public, where people driving by can see,” Mr. Cooley said.
The change in design, along with Abbey’s expansion into a restaurant and dance club, not to mention setting for a reality TV show, has drawn an increasingly diverse crowd, creating a windfall for the club but also some tension among its longtime patrons. The problem became difficult to ignore, Mr. Cooley said, once the club began to attract bachelorette parties. "They would book all of my tables, and that’s when I really noticed they were taking over the gay bars,” he said. “They’re using my dancers as accessories and toys.”
Mr. Cooley banned such parties in 2012, with the proviso that he would reverse the policy once gay people earned marriage equality in the state. In 2015, when same-sex marriage became legal nationwide, he allowed bachelorette parties once again, to the chagrin of some of his regulars. Last October, to assuage their complaints, Mr. Cooley purchased the space adjacent to his bar, called it the Chapel and dedicated it to gay men.
“It’s hilarious that a gay bar like the Abbey had to open a second bar in order to be gay again,” Mr. Kase said.
While the older crowd at gay bars has complained about the change in clientele, younger men, like William Burke, a 23-year-old tech marketer in West Hollywood, said: “It’s important to have the locations for gay-straight alliances. It brings people from all walks of life into an area where they we can learn from each other and promote acceptance. I know lots of straight people who met transgendered people for the first time at a gay bar, and it changed their perspectives.”
Other patrons believe they have become subject to gawking in spaces where such a thing was never a worry, a feeling exacerbated at the Abbey by the daily appearance of idling TMZ tour buses, which identify the place as a Hollywood hot spot. The vehicles stop in front of the club, and certain tourists point at people in the bar. (TMZ did not reply to emails requesting comment.)
Photo
A group of revelers toasting at the Abbey. CreditEmily Berl for The New York Times 
“It makes me feel like a monkey in a zoo,” said Myles Silton, an entertainment lawyer.
Other men said that the wider acceptance of sexual fluidity has diluted the character of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender spaces. “The gay world used to be freaks and geeks,” Mr. McKenzie said. “Now the edginess is gone.”
In the process, the use of gay bars has taken some unusual turns. Chadwick Moore, a 33-year-old freelance writer in New York, identified a new twist in which such establishments have become a choice setting for first Tinder dates by straight couples. “I believe the women are thinking, ‘I’m going to take the guy somewhere where I’m the only one to look at,’” he said. “Also, ‘I can check out whether he’s “down with the cause.”’”
The tensions may escalate at drag shows. Mr. Heller, who performs in New York as Miz Cracker, described a common occurrence: “A straight girl, with the strength of merlot, will stand in front of you, stick her pelvis out and rub it on you. And you can’t get her to sit down. That can grind the show to a halt.”
The harsh reactions to the newcomers at gay bars have struck Gabe Gonzalez, a news producer for Mic, as misogynistic. “Obviously, queer individuals want to preserve a space where they don’t feel gawked at,” he said. “On the other hand, when gay men revert to sexist insults, like calling women ‘bitches,’ it contradicts the intention of safe queer spaces.”
As vexing as these issues have become, Mr. McKenzie sees a positive side.
“Identity crises like these are a good thing, because it creates a dialogue,” he said. “In the long run, it may make for a new understanding.”
By 

June 20, 2017

Tokyo Neighbors, Being Gay in Japan







Often the only LGBTQ narratives that we see are focused on the western and predominantly white experience of being queer, but a lovely new web series from Japan is here to change that. Tokyo Neighbors is a charming lo-fi short film series by Onabys Pictures and set in a Tokyo bar in Shinjuku’s Ni-Chome district, focusing on the lives of the bars’ inhabitants.
Delving into interpersonal relationships of this small group of gay men, Tokyo Neighbors is an intimate and authentic experience, with the first episode focusing on the everyday intricacies of dating and being in love as a gay man in Tokyo. The show is a refreshing spotlight on an often ignored segment of Japanese culture.
It has historically been hard to access Japan’s queer manga in any other form than fan-scans, but the publication of a translated collection of Gengoroh Tagame’s iconic gay erotic manga, The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame, began to change that in 2013. This year saw the English language release of Tagame’s gorgeous slice of life book, My Brother’s Husband, a moving look at the gay experience of living in Japan and the effects that culture and western influence have on being gay there. This year also saw the release of the heartbreakingly honest and beautiful My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness by Kabi Nagata, whose matter of fact style of discussing being a lesbian struggling with anxiety and depression has taken the internet and comics community by storm. 


 Neighborhood bar


 
Tokyo Neighbors is a wonderful addition to the recent influx of queer storytelling from Japan, and is a great example of a well-made and engaging web series. You can watch the first short film with English subtitles right now! And for those of you who speak Japanese, there are seven episodes for you to enjoy!
Images: Onabys Pictures
Nerdist.com

August 8, 2016

NYC Bar ‘Boot and Saddles’ is Accused of Booting a Trans Person





Mathew Rodriguez posted on internet Magazine MIC  a story about something I would not nor many of others would think, an old institution bar like “Boots” in NYC will be a violator of an LGBT with emphasizes on the “T” civil and human rights.  The story or complaint is between a Trans person and  this non trans-woman mentioned on the story  which if true she had no idea of what LGBT people are and may be she thinks we are just here to entertain her but the sad part is that the staff that night at “Boots” seems to feel the same way if the allegations are true and I am not saying they are,  instead I will repost because I find the story disturbing and will leave it up to you to decide. I’m posting most of the story as it appeared at MIC and there is also a part (with links) with OUT which carries a limited response front the bar and a Facebook response in which they seem to finally address part of what is needed to insure that similar incidents do not occur again. Good signage and education to the staff and particularly the manager or head bartender in charge with a food camera system should easily solve the unnecessary problem. If a person fell on the floor  I am sure there is a system of filling an incident report in case they (establishment) got sued. This type of incident should have the same precedent. As a community we sometimes act like the world is ours because we have been discriminated and somehow we can get away with certain language and behavior that other people can’t. Instead we find law enforcement and the media willing to highlight incidents like this to hammer in that we are not that great people and not deserving of equality. Maybe we are not that great maybe we are but we should be asking to be treated equally with respect and we will equally respect others.

I most add before you read the posting from the Transgender party of allegedly being booted out of the bar because of a bathroom gender-use issue I most caution you that the bar responded to this allegation and said(as you will read below) that the issue was not a bathroom gender use issue but an altercation. 

I am experienced enough to know that the tendency of these type of places is to mix any issue inside the bar in which there is a loud disagreement into the altercation or fight corral or label issue.  I know of people that have been beaten at gay bars back in Miami, Fl. by staff and friends of staff then thrown out with injuries and when police responded  no body knew anything except there was a fight or altercation and only one party is fingered and the other party is gone, disappeared and no body knew them. Leaving the injured person to fight alone the allegation. 

I wish this establishment would have done more to document this issue and the injured party would have taken the time to either bring the police in to file a report or the bare minimum to have witnesses willing to go on the record to document her case. To latter vent about this without thinking what is needed to make a claim believable makes it hard to take either party seriously.
Adam@adamoxie.com  
                                                                        **
On Friday evening, transgender performer Valentine Steaphon took to Facebook to share her experience of being kicked out of New York City gay bar Boots and Saddle in the West Village. According to Steaphon’s account, a cisgender woman confronted her as she emerged from the women's bathroom on Friday night. 


"HOLY SHIT!! I just got kicked out of BOOTS and SADDLE for using the women's restroom. WOWW... So like I'm taking a piss and walk out, there stands a cis women eye balling me. Next thing I hear before washing my hands: "WHY ARE YOU IN HERE? YOU DONT HAVE A PUSSY..?!" Me, shocked and RUPAULED: excuse me?! You don't know what's in my pants? You're in an LGBT space, we use the restrooms accordingly. Her: I DONT CARE YOU SHOULDNT BE IN HERE! Me: uh ok, bitch. Chill. I had to pee. 
Her: BITCH?? Really how dare you call me a bitch *storms out the restroom to her friends and the security, whines that she was uncomfortable in the restroom because she saw me in there. 

Security and her friend come up to me: WELL.. WE CATER TO STRAIGHT WOMEN SO IF THEY FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE WITH YOU IN THE BATHROOM YOURE THE PROBLEM,

Her basic ass gay friend yelling at me: IF YOU DONT HAVE TITTYS OR A PUSSY YOU ARENT TRANS GET OVER IT, GET OUT OF HERE!!
Security kicked me out... For simply peeing in the women's restroom. I am tired y'all. IM FUCKING TIRED.. This is what we cater to.  Fuck it all I’ve just lost all hope for some of these establishments"
 Steaphon and the woman exchanged words before the woman grabbed a security guard and began to explain that Steaphon's presence in the women's restroom made her "uncomfortable."  




"I think she wanted to fight; she just seemed really angry," Steaphon told Mic in a phone interview. "I just told her that you're in an LGBT space and we use the bathrooms how we want to use the bathrooms here."
She added, "She didn't want to hear it." 
Steaphon said she did not go to Boots and Saddle often, but was there to support a friend of hers who was performing at the drag lounge. 
According to Steaphon, the security guard told her that, "We cater to straight women here, and if you're in the women's restroom and she's uncomfortable, you're the problem, you can't be in there." 




Trans Performer Kicked Out of NYC Gay Bar for Using Women's Restroom
For Steaphon, having to defend herself also meant having to educate those who were
 berating her, including another member of the LGBT community. She said that, as the cis woman spoke
to the security guard, a gay friend of hers berated Steaphon and questioned her gender identity.





 "The girl and her gay friends are yelling at me, saying 'You shouldn't be in there,' and 'Unless







you have titties and a vagina, you should not be in there, you're not trans,'" Steaphon told Mic






 "I feel like a lot of gay guys don't want to hear it. They don't know what makes someone trans."








   She added, “ I was kind of glad that it wasn't one of my friends because I feel like no one should have gone through that.  I was angry, I was disgusted, I was sad, I was confused. I was every kind of emotion in that moment."
Boots and Saddle did not respond to a request for comment from Mic, but they did address the incident with a post on their Facebook page.  
"We are saddened that a member of our LGBTQ community felt marginalized for using the restroom at our bar," the post reads. "We expect that every person who walks into our establishment feels safe and respected. To that end, we are taking measures to ensure that such an incident never happens again. Our signage is being updated to reflect what we have always believed — that our restrooms are gender neutral."





A manager from the bar told Out that the patrons — Steaphon and the other party involved in the altercation — were asked to leave the bar. 
"This is not an incident regarding whether or not a certain gender could use the restroom," the manager told Out
New York City recently debuted a citywide campaign educating New Yorkers that transgender  people are legally allowed to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. 
Though people may consider New York City a liberal bastion, that has not prevented some transgender New Yorkers from facing discrimination. In May, trans New Yorker Pearl Love shared video of a vile transphobic attack she faced on the subway. 

April 23, 2016

50th Anniversary for “Julius” The Oldest Gay Bar in NYC


   

                                                                         
In 1966, three years before the Stonewall riots, a trio of gay rights activists staged a small but significant protest at Julius' Bar in Greenwich Village, where they took seats at the bar, informed the bartender of their sexual orientation, and ordered drinks. This was at the time a radical act—many bars were refusing to serve openly gay customers, and NYC cops routinely raided gay bars, which were threatened with liquor license revocation for "gay activity." Julius' refused to serve the men that day, and Village Voice photographer Fred W. McDarrah captured the exact moment when the barkeep put his hand over a glass to take it away.  To mark the 50th anniversary of the "Sip-In," as it was called (as a nod to the sit-ins of the civil rights movement) some of the same activists recreated the scene at Julius' Bar yesterday. Chief among them were Dick Leitsch and Randy Wicker, who recently recounted the history of that time  The men, members of the early gay rights group the Mattachine Society, aimed to challenge bars that refused service to gay people, a common practice at the time, though one unsupported by any specific law. Such refusals fell under a vague regulation that banned taverns from serving patrons deemed “disorderly.”

To mark the 50th anniversary of the "Sip-In," as it was called (as a nod to the sit-ins of the civil rights movement) some of the same activists recreated the scene at Julius' Bar yesterday. Chief among them were Dick Leitsch and Randy Wicker, who recently recounted the history of that time in a fascinating NY Times profile. An excerpt:
The men, members of the early gay rights group the Mattachine Society, aimed to challenge bars that refused service to gay people, a common practice at the time, though one unsupported by any specific law. Such refusals fell under a vague regulation that banned taverns from serving patrons deemed “disorderly.”
“At the time, being homosexual was, in itself, seen as disorderly,” said Dick Leitsch, 81, reminiscing the other day in his apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

The activists knew Julius’ had to refuse them, because the night before, a man who had been served there had later been entrapped by an officer for “gay activity,” meaning the bar was in jeopardy of having its liquor license revoked. As they entered, the men spied a sign that read “Patrons Must Face the Bar While Drinking,” an instruction used to thwart cruising.
The next day’s New York Times featured an article about the event with the headline “3 Deviates Invite Exclusion by Bars.” Two weeks later, a far more sympathetic piece appeared in The Voice. The publicity prompted a response from the chairman of the State Liquor Authority, Donald S. Hostetter, who denied that his organization ever threatened the liquor licenses of bars that served gays. The decision to serve was up to individual bartenders, he said.
At that point, the Commission on Human Rights got involved. Its chairman, William H. Booth, told The Times in a later article: “We have jurisdiction over discrimination based on sex. Denial of bar service to a homosexual solely for that reason would come within those bounds.”
Coinciding with this week's remembrance, Julius' Bar, one of the oldest bars in Manhattan, was entered into the National Register of Historic Places, and the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation is calling on the city Landmarks Preservation Commission to give the establishment landmark status. (The Stonewall Inn, located a block away, was granted Landmark status last year.)
"As important as the Sip-In was, it is easy for this kind of history to be lost," said Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. "And it has been through the efforts of dedicated advocates that the significance of this event has been remembered and given its due. One critical way in which we ensure that history is remembered is to honor and preserve the sites connected to events like these. That is why Julius’ needs and deserves New York City landmark status. Without such designation, even with National Register listing, this building could be altered or destroyed in the future."
State Senator Brad Hoylman pointed out, "It's been said that those who dont' remember the past are doomed to repeat it. While we've come far in securing LGBT rights over the last 50 years, don't think for a second that these rights couldn't be taken from us. Look at what is happening in North Carolina and Mississippi. And let's not forget that transgender New Yorkers don't have full rights, that we still allow therapists to try to convert gay kids, and that non-biological parents in same sex relationships have fewer rights to their kids."
He added, "It's important that we preserve our LGBT history. We don’t want this historic building to become a Starbucks!"

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