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Montreal Gay Bar Faces Complaint for "Men Only" Policy

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Audrey Vachon, a Canadian woman who was asked to leave Montreal's Bar Le Stud when she sat down to have a drink with her father on the patio because of their "men only" policy, has filed a complaint with Quebec's Human Rights Tribunal, reports CTV.

Said Vachon: "On the spot I didn't believe it, I thought it was a bad joke. I didn't say a word until I'd left. I was too shocked. I was embarrassed, I was humiliated, I felt guilty that I'd even gone there, like I'd done something wrong."

According to CTV, "A spokesperson with Montreal's Gay Chamber of Commerce said Le Stud may have made an error and that the group wants Quebec's Charter of Rights respected."

The incident comes on the heels of a recent ruling over a similar situation in Melbourne, Australia, where popular gay spot The Peel Hotel was awarded the right by a court to bar heterosexuals from the premises.

As in Australia, feelings appear to be mixed about the situation, with some saying there should be a place where gay men can go and be able to be themselves, and others, like Peter Sergakis, another Montreal bar owner, saying it's time for the policy to go: "This should not be happening, it's like going back 20 years ago when the gays were intimidated in straight bars. I'm sure the owner is going to change the habits. This is not acceptable in 2007."

It's unclear what the outcome of Vachon's complaint may be.

Montreal gay bar under fire for barring women [ctv]
Woman lodges human rights complaint after being evicted from gay bar [canada.com]

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Comments

  1. I strongly feel that these policies of "gay only" are so detrimental. We are doing exactly what whites did to blacks during segregation and we all know how well that went. The only way the straight community is going to truely learn about us and accept us is if we welcome them with open arms.

    Posted by: Matt | May 31, 2007 9:14:56 AM


  2. I don't think you can equate gays discriminating against straights with what whites did to blacks here. There's a difference between a powerful majority oppressing the minority, and the oppressed minority trying to find some safe space by turning the tables here and there. When we're all truly equal in this society, then we can start equating.

    But that doesn't mean that what Le Stud did was right -- it wasn't. And it does smack of misogyny, which DOES have a long and sordid history that we need to fight against. And it's just unnecessary: I don't know of many gay men who object to the presence of women in their bars.

    Posted by: Glenn | May 31, 2007 9:26:43 AM


  3. No one thinks it is weird that she was at le stud with her father?

    Posted by: MrSmith | May 31, 2007 9:33:16 AM


  4. I am not from Canada, but have visited numerous times. There used to be "taverns" in Quebec and maybe in Ontario that were male only -- both straight and gay ones? I think they only served beer but not hard liquor? When did the laws change to outlaw them? Can someone educate me?

    Posted by: John | May 31, 2007 9:38:14 AM


  5. andy-i saw your blurb in Musto's column...hot!

    Posted by: Dave | May 31, 2007 9:38:29 AM


  6. This is bullshit -- there are literally HUNDREDS of places that chick and her pop could have had a drink.

    She picked one of the GAY BARS. She or her dad had better be a homo.

    I'll break out my teeny-tiny violin for this one.

    Posted by: CF | May 31, 2007 9:49:59 AM


  7. I've seen this happen at a lot of gay bars. At Club 67 in Grand Rapids MI (now closed), I used to get hassled by the queen at the door for bringing straight people with me. Splash in NY almost didn't let one of my lady friends in one night because there were go-go boys present and they thought she'd be "distracting". And Ginger's, the lesbian bar in Brooklyn, probably has the worst rep I've ever heard for it's patrons threatening gay men right back out the door. (Even though male bartenders work there.)

    And don't get me started on some of my local East Williamsburg bars who won't serve me because I'm white!

    Posted by: Ridwah | May 31, 2007 9:54:03 AM


  8. These gay club owners are giving the gay community a bad name. Their discriminating practises - in the name of retaining gay "ambience" - are sheer stupidity and have the potential to bite back with a return to the days when the general community discriminated against gay people. When gay people fought for equal rights, not for a moment did I think that it would turn out this way.

    Posted by: joe | May 31, 2007 9:57:03 AM


  9. I agree with Glenn. This, and what's happening with the hotels in Australia and Turkey, are bad precedents. I can just imagine some straight bar saying that gay men won't be served because they have their own places.
    Besides, carpet munchers should be welcomed with open arms at gay bars. They add color to the place.

    Posted by: gwyneth cornrow | May 31, 2007 9:58:41 AM


  10. Ridwah,
    What about the Metropolitan? That was one of my favorites when I lived in Williamsburg. Its a gay bar but for both men and women and I always saw straight male or female friends there as well. For a while it was the most popular bar with my straight friends.
    I really think this is also a generational thing. I think a lot of urban folks in their 20s are not as interested or as comfortable in a gay bar scene dominated by one gender or excluding straight people.

    Posted by: Adam | May 31, 2007 10:02:58 AM


  11. The gay community risks becoming an isolated and arrogant community if it accepts these discriminatory practises from gay bar owners. Just say "no" to discrimination in any way, shape or form, whether it's gender-based, orientation-based or race-based. Gay people who practise discrimination of this sort are creeps who don't deserve to run bars.

    Posted by: adam | May 31, 2007 10:03:10 AM


  12. "No one thinks it is weird that she was at le stud with her father?"

    "This is bullshit -- there are literally HUNDREDS of places that chick and her pop could have had a drink."

    If she is a lesbian, or her father is gay, there isnt really. Gay people tend to frequent gay establishments, out of support for the community. In this case they were rewarded with being ejected.

    Posted by: Gregoire | May 31, 2007 10:03:57 AM


  13. What... the girls don't want men in their bars? There have been more times that when I have gone to a gay bar, and it turned out to be a women's bar I was made uncomfortable or asked to leave since it was a women's bar. I have never seen a women be asked to leave a mens bar. Be careful for what you ask for, as the results may be something you had not invisioned.

    Posted by: kent | May 31, 2007 10:06:13 AM


  14. I agree that gay bars are a form of sanctuary but it's also important to remember that the straights who go there are also generally our friends. When we in the gay community turn them away, we are turning our friends against us. Let's not devolve into a closed-minded group of people. We got to where we got because of the help we got from gay-friendly straights.

    Posted by: brian | May 31, 2007 10:08:33 AM


  15. John...in answer to question.

    I can't speak for Quebec.
    I was born and raised in Toronto.
    The concept of "beer taverns" has'nt been around since I was a teenager in the '70's.
    There was a time,that ended in the late '70's early '80's,when liquer was not allowed to be served on Sundays.Hence beer only periods of the week.
    But those type of bi-laws ended a long time ago when the liquer laws where up dated and moved out of the victorian mind set that we had been saddled with.
    As for the idea of segregated "straight/gay" spaces.
    Legally that kind of thing fell out of trend,and I say trend because there was never any legal mandate of segregation,back when we created our Charter of Rights.
    Places have attempted to create "womens only spaces,mens only spaces" etc.
    However they've never stood up to a legal challenge.
    The Charter of Rights is national so I doubt that Quebec,which by the way has always been a more open and forward thinking province then Ontario,would be any different then the rest of the country.
    Now that being said...I can only say what I've seen in my life time.
    What may have been legal or fasionable before I came of age in the '70's is a matter of history and should be viewed in the context of the time's.

    Posted by: griffin1573 | May 31, 2007 10:08:53 AM


  16. This sort of stuff goes to show you that foolishness and intolerance is alive and well in this world. I hope she sues and wins, some of these gay establishments are just awful with their arbitrary rules of who they let in, most don't want blacks and make sure they are well aware that they are not wanted, most don't want women and let them know it, and the some of the black bars don't want whites, its all just totally disgusting and a cycle of intolerance and hate, and its wrong.

    Intolerance is wrong, and there are no excuses as to why you would ban anyone from a place of business, based on race, gender or sexual orientation in the civilized world, the place should lose its liquor license.

    Totally disgusting.

    Posted by: mark | May 31, 2007 10:09:13 AM


  17. Adam, yeah the Metropolitan is a great place. Great crowd too.

    Posted by: Ridwah | May 31, 2007 10:17:36 AM


  18. On canada.com, it says that the Montreal bar promotes itself as "one of the most hard, manly, and virile establishments in town." To which I say "give me a freaking break!!" Anyone who's been there knows that most of the men in there tend to mince and lisp with their queeny voices. Manly and virile my foot.

    Posted by: brian | May 31, 2007 10:24:42 AM


  19. I know this bar. Big hairy bears Cruising Bar; but none of them at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. The gentille naive little girl simply saw an empty terrace. The waiter clearly rejected her bicose 2 or 3 customers inside suggested and insisted so.
    Sheer 'niaiserie' (moronitude) but just enuf to sparkle a few
    blurs of local weakened homophobia.

    Posted by: rochon pierre | May 31, 2007 10:27:42 AM


  20. Just to add to the mix-- what about male only bath houses? In some places they serve alcohol and are much like a bar setting with sex. Do you truly want all establishments to allow all genders? And maybe an all-women space is not a bad idea for some women. I haven't really decided where I stand on this issue. For years many leather bars did not let women in, and there was a certain atmosphere that is no longer there in leather bars today.

    Posted by: John | May 31, 2007 10:29:55 AM


  21. It's turning out that some gay men are just as misogynistic and closed-minded as some straight men. Not a good development.

    Posted by: vin | May 31, 2007 10:30:31 AM


  22. I haven't fought for gay rights so that gays can discriminate against others. If you're a gay person who wants to discriminate, you have no place in a fair-minded gay community. Go away.

    Posted by: jack | May 31, 2007 10:35:59 AM


  23. Brian, you hit it on the nose...although I do like "manly and virile" feet--big ones. If it was truly a "men only" bar, half the guys in there would have to leave. I don't believe in black only, white only, Latino only, gay only, etc.

    Posted by: Derrick form PHilly | May 31, 2007 10:44:40 AM


  24. Well, John, I really think bathhouses are a different subject entirely. You're necessarily there for one thing -- sex with other men (assuming it's a gay bathhouse). The alcohol is just incidental. I think there's a good reason for excluding women there. Just like I don't think you have to hire women for a gay porn flick. Being all-male is rather essential to the enterprise.

    But a bar? I guess reasonable people could disagree, but to say that being male-only is essential to a bar seems like a huge stretch, to me.

    Posted by: Glenn | May 31, 2007 11:04:56 AM


  25. There are hundreds of bars in Montreal, more than a dozen in the Village but only a few bars left where men can meet men without beeing bothered by. Maybe the barman wasn't very diplomatic in his approach, and now the gay community as a whole is paying for her lack of jugment: she must be too stupid and/or too young to understand that she has no place in a gay leather/jeans bar.
    By the way, she and her father are 'straight' and there wouldn't be all that fuss if her father didn't work for the national TV network.

    Posted by: Ray | May 31, 2007 11:30:17 AM


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