Ogunquit Bar Holds Shirtless Protest


Last week I posted about Mainestreet bar in Ogunquit, Maine, where bartenders were ordered to put their shirts back on following a homophobic complaint from resident Harriet Yaffe.

The controversy inspired a shirtless protest last weekend attended by hundreds of people. Seacoast Online has the details:

Mainestreet  "In response to Yaffe's comments, Anthony Moulton, coordinator of Saturday's protest, handed out 60 white T-shirts with the words 'Yaffe's Gaffe' written across the front, stamped out with a red 'no' symbol — a circle with a diagonal line through its center.

Yaffe could not be reached for comment.

'(The protest) was a show of unity that we were going to stand together against this injustice,' Paquin said Tuesday. "We acknowledged the injustice and we said we're just going to go and have a good time as we always do."

Ogunquit Select Board Chairman Donato Tramuto attended the event and expressed his sympathy to the bar's staff and Paquin before making a trip around the nightclub to shake hands and exchange pleasantries with the regulars.

'Communities are made up of diverse people and I think the great part about this town is that it's both gay and straight,' Tramuto said.

He added that he was 'extremely disappointed' with the town's decision.

'I say that as an elected official and a gay man,' he said."

Officials are checking health codes to see if the bar is, in fact, in violation.


  1. says

    I have such mixed feelings about this. I think the order for shirts is silly, but I also think calling it an “injustice” is ridiculous.

    Last year, we Mainers got our marriage rights taken away from us and these guys are getting fired up about this? I know we can be upset about both, but….

  2. New New says

    Come on. It’s a damn shirt. Just put one on. Really, is this such an effing huge deal? There are certainly more important issues in the world.

    I believe that the fixation over this issue comes from how hypersexualized much of gay (male) culture is. While i have taken time to view this issue within the sociological construct in which we as gay people must survive, I still think that putting on a shirt is really no big effing deal.

  3. says

    “Come on. It’s a damn shirt. Just put one on. Really, is this such an effing huge deal? There are certainly more important issues in the world.”

    Of course there are more important issues in the world. Is anyone suggesting there aren’t? But, really, is it such a big deal that bartenders have their shirts OFF on a sheltered bar patio in a BEACH town? That’s the “huge deal” that prompted busybody Harriet to create a “scandal” where there was none. Gay men didn’t create the problem. An uptight prude did. After the more serious civil rights defeat in Maine, maybe the gay men of Ogunquit are simply tired of narrow-minded idiots telling them what to do. So they’re saying, No. Good for them.

    The more serious issue here is why some gay men are so quick to side with an old biddie who is claiming harm (shirtless gay men, gasp!) where there is none (sound familiar?) and then going to the trouble to meddle in and put a stop to such behavior (sound familiar again?). Why should liars who make false claims about harming children and violating hygiene codes be continually allowed to rule the day? That’s the issue here. Not shirt vs. skin.

  4. Shirtless says

    Agreed. There are a lot of important issues out there: marriage, youth suicide, bullying, poverty, discrimination… But the point of the matter here is the town reacted to some woman’s remarks, questionably homophobic, by making up “health code violations” in lieu of any real issue. We need to call out this behavior, especially when from public officials, when it happens. It reminds us that these issues, while seemingly unimportant, illistrate that we have much more work to do. Gay people shouldn’t be subject to any different rules than the rest of the population and that what we are fighting in the end, isn’t it?

    BTW, the last time my picture was on this blog, it was for organizing protests associated with the marriage defeat in Maine. I get “fired up” every time there is an “injustice”, especially when it involves my friends.

  5. GregV says

    Can anyone explain the health risk to having a drink mixed by a man without a shirt? Is it that a chest hair or drop of sweat might fall into the drink?
    If that’s the case, it would seem a lot more consistent if Maine bartenders were required to wear bandanas around their forehead and hair nets, which would surely provide exponentially more protection than a shirt.
    This is really about the issue of FREEDOM vs. a conservative busybody trying to impose her “Big Government” to control people’s lives, right down to what they wear.

  6. says

    Amen, Shirtless and GregV! It’s dismaying how many gay people didn’t get the larger point of this story on this and the previous threads. Next time Harriet (and there are a bunch in every town) disapproves (only because of the children and the hygiene, of course, not cause she’s homophobic!) of 2 men holding hands on the terrace of a gay bar, or exchanging a kiss, or rubbing suntan lotion on each other’s shoulders at the beach, or wearing a swimsuit that’s a little too snug for her taste, should we obey like good little pets, just because it’s no big deal and because she said so? The Harriet impulse to control what we wear comes from the exact same place as the one who wants to control who we can marry.

  7. Bruce Wayne says

    Why the hell is one (lowly female hag) person allowed to cause all this fuss and influence policy in the first place?! Since when does the Minority dictate to the Majority?! If she doesn’t want to see shirtless men, she should just stay out of the place! Cunt.