Discrimination | Gay Bar | Houston | News | Texas

Outrage in Houston After Bar Refuses Entrance to Gays


A "guerrila gay bar" event has put the focus on a Houston nightclub after gays who came to participate were forced to stand in line in the rain and never admitted while the club ushered in straight patrons instead, according to a press release from the Houston LGBT caucus.

Houston2These types of events are typically "stealth"  activist events meant to force interaction between gay and straight people in a harmless social setting. This one was not stealth, however. Organizers had sought permission from the club's owner beforehand. The bar owner of Union Bar and Lounge in midtown had told them they would be welcome.

That wasn't the case, apparently. Attendees claim that gays were told to wait outside in the rain while straight clientele was ushered inside (link to PDF):

"Nearly 100 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people were refused entry to Union Bar and
Lounge in Midtown Friday while others were welcomed. Patrons started lining up at about 9:40 p.m. and were told to wait in line and not allowed inside, even as straight-appearing people were waved through. As the line grew and patrons waited in the rain, employees at the door told those who were that they were maintaining a “ratio.” Later, the bar employees simply indicated they had the right to refuse anyone. A patron who arrived at the bar early reported that the bar was nearly empty at about 9:40 p.m., when gay people started arriving and were stopped at the door.  Gay people continued to line up to the street and around the corner as people who appeared to be straight went to the front and were ushered in. Kris Banks, who stood at the front of the line, said the bar employees were asking the women who were entering with men if the men were accompanying them. If the men were with the women, they were allowed in."

Said Lindsey Dionne: "I arrived and heard that they were not allowing gay men in, so when I got to the door with three women I asked if we would be allowed in, and the door employee said ‘I was told to keep you out.’ This was supposed to be a social event, but now it’s political."

The bar owner denies the charges, saying the bar was at capacity. KHOU Houston report here.

A bill was recently filed in the Texas House that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

We Will Not Go There [facebook]

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  1. Why are gays content on co-mingling with the straight folks. Also Anywhoodle should be banned from anyone's mouth.

    Posted by: Cajiva | Mar 16, 2009 11:13:58 AM

  2. Jason's back!

    Posted by: CJ | Mar 16, 2009 11:35:00 AM

  3. The fact is if it were a large group of single straight men they would have been stopped at the door too. Bars/clubs want a good ratio of male to female guests.

    Posted by: txstevo | Mar 16, 2009 11:50:28 AM

  4. If you can coordinate with the lesbians you can pair-up boy-girl to fool everyone.

    I'd simply recommend that you videotape discrimination in action and then post it on YouTube for all to see. Helps to seal the deal.

    Posted by: anon | Mar 16, 2009 12:38:39 PM

  5. I think that their claim that they were doing it to maintain gender balances hinges on whether they allowed in lesbians who came in groups and were clearly identifiable; if they didn't let in men at all if they weren't with women, that might not actually be because they're gay.

    Just a question: is it a common practice for bouncers to separate parties if the gender balance is off? i.e. On a normal night, would they have told a group of men to wait outside but let the women that they arrived with go in? If not, to me, that explains it.

    Posted by: Magellan | Mar 16, 2009 1:17:34 PM

  6. Lord. I'm sure many black gay visitors to Towleroad are chuckling while reading the comments describing not being allowed entrance to these clubs while straight people just walked on in.


    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Mar 16, 2009 1:27:34 PM

  7. I haven't been to Houston since the early nineties but at that time I was floored by the fact that a gay bar was right next door to a straight club. I remember thinking how progressive Texas (or at least Houston)was. And the bars in question were predominately black.

    What has happened in the last couple of decades for the apparent regressive mentality?

    Posted by: deej | Mar 16, 2009 1:43:10 PM

  8. omg, the club has also banned Asians!


    and Blacks!



    Posted by: misquoti | Mar 16, 2009 1:45:25 PM

  9. Derrick, you're a mind reader.

    What do you think of queerty.com compared to towleroad?

    Posted by: misquoti | Mar 16, 2009 1:52:20 PM

  10. Texas............well they are weird in Texas anyway!, I don't care too much for that part of the country....is Bush Country....right wing...people.....no thanks !

    Posted by: Ed | Mar 16, 2009 10:40:01 PM

  11. We have guerilla bar parties in Denver and they're always a huge success. The bars make bank and everybody has a good time. Most straight girls loosen up when gay guys are around, then straight guys get to take them home.

    This bar owner is an idiot!

    As for only admitting straights, did guys have to lick some snatch on their way in?

    Posted by: SteveDenver | Mar 16, 2009 11:42:26 PM

  12. If they have the right to do this, then, through peaceful means, we have the right to drive them outa business. For those who say "we've got gay bars!," get a life. In a straight world, the existence of gay bars promotes us to first class citizenship, huh?

    Posted by: TANK | Mar 17, 2009 12:46:34 AM

  13. the reason to be outraged is pure and simple. a few of us, and many of our parents, remember the sting of signs in public places reading, "no mexicans/niggers, or dogs allowed."

    on a lighter but relevant note, in the early 80s i was singled out of a frigid waiting line to get into a "trendy" bar and told that i was not welcome. the hulked-out, meat-headed, presumably straight bouncer must have felt good about himself.

    as i walked away, i thought: i probably earn 3 times more than he, i probably have 3 times the education and IQ. yet, he can give ME the bum's rush!? where's the fairness? granted, i was decked out in a nu-wave/International Male amalgam that was pushing it for San Antonio, which made me sure that my fashion sense was 100 times better than his. but it was supposed to be a trendy bar, and i fully expected them to live up to their word. and i still do.

    this brings me back to the "Union Bar" controversy. didn't they say that the queers would be welcomed? shouldn't we be well passed that? the idea that the management of a podunk bar in houston in 2009, while a black US prez, a black AG, the 2nd female Secy of St, and who knows how many gays and lesbians are in positions of power, would pull this kind of shit is appallingly retrograde.

    i quit putting up with being left out in the cold way back then. i am proud of the queers who waited in the rain to make a point. racism, ethnophobia, xenophobia, bigotry, dismissiveness of another human being w/o cause -- it is all of a piece.

    i visited the Union Bar's website, and on their "book a party" space, i e-mailed them that i would encourage all friends in the houston area to boycott the establishment. further, i advised them that i would be writing the Houston Chronicle and all other media outlets asking for a boycott by all minorities and open-minded whites. i hope that all of you will do the same.

    Posted by: nic | Mar 17, 2009 1:22:31 AM

  14. "It would be very easy then for the straight majority to invade gay bars on a permanent basis and force them into very out-of-the-way areas in order to remain predominantly gay."

    Easier said than done...and not even likely to ever happen. When has such a thing ever happened anyway?

    Homohating straight people have better things to do than crash gay bars out of spite. Nor would they want to even be INSIDE such an establishment.

    People who don't like us would rather spend their time taking away our rights in the privacy and protection of a voting booth...not surrounded by us in a bar.

    Posted by: PatrickPatrick | Mar 17, 2009 3:38:49 PM

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