Gay Bars Should Not Discriminate Against Straights

RECEIVED Thu., June 2, 2005

Dear Editor,
   I am not an Austin native but recently had the opportunity to visit your wonderful city during Memorial Day weekend. As a recent graduate from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, I felt at home in the progressive and individualistic atmosphere. However, I had an experience one night that was slightly disconcerting.
   I am a gay male and am accustomed to frequenting the gay nightlife scene in the greater Detroit area and have also experienced the NYC gay club scene when I lived there for three months last summer. I have gone to many different types of bars and clubs with both my male and female friends ... gay and straight. My straight friends have always felt welcomed and comfortable at gay bars both in Detroit and in NYC.
   When I attempted to go to a bar in downtown Austin this past weekend, however, my two straight female friends were blatantly discriminated against. We had gotten in line behind two other girls who were there with their friends. After watching the girl in front of us get turned away for having questionable identification, my two 23 year-old female friends showed the bouncer their identification. Despite the fact that the both had a driver license, student ID, and multiple credit cards with them the bouncer refused to let them in. Never before have I seen such a display.
   What bothers me most about this incident is the message that is sent to "straight" society. Gay people, of all people, should understand discrimination. In a world where it seems like every state government is against equal rights for gay people, how do we expect to gain these rights by alienating ourselves from the world in which we live? If a person is supportive of the gay community, they should be welcomed, not turned away. I sincerely hope the bar will change this attitude and realize the consequences of such actions, as they are destructive to the progression of equal rights.
Nicholas Florek
Ann Arbor, MI
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