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Denmark Gay Bar: No Straight Kisses Allowed

NeverMindA minor brouhaha is fomenting over the ejection of equality activist Jobbe Joller and several friends from the gay bar Never Mind, in Copenhagen. Here's what happened, from Homotropolis:

Jobbe states that ... himself and his gay friend Martin ... were going out with two straight female friends and their boyfriends. They arrived at Never Mind and entered the bar without any problems. At one point when Jobbe came back in to the bar after talking on the phone outside, he meets one of his friends who was on her way out of the bar to speak to the bouncer who, a few minutes earlier, had informed her that it is not allowed for her, as a straight person, to kiss her boyfriend in Never Mind.

“I told the bouncer that it had to be discrimination against heterosexuals to say that they were not allowed to kiss,” Jobbe says, when we ask him to explain his version of the story.

“The bouncer replied that it was unacceptable to conduct in that kind of behaviour at a gay place and that Never Mind receives a lot of emails from its gay guests concerning the high number of straight guests that visit the bar. I asked him if it was not the same as saying that black people are not allowed to kiss in Never Mind, but he disagreed and told me that the owner of Never Mind may decide who can kiss and who can’t kiss in the bar,” says Jobbe, who also admits that he did not let the discussion stop there, but stuck to his argument on the alleged discrimination against heterosexuals.

“I repeated my claim that it corresponded to banning black people from kissing each other, and he asked me whether I was aware of § 3, 4 and 5 of the Penal Code, which I was not. When I replied that I would love to hear more about them, he could not explain what they actually state. At the same time my other friend and her boyfriend came back after a trip to 7-eleven, and they were then told that they couldn’t enter Never Mind again, probably because they had walked hand in hand showing that they were straight ... "

An argument ensued between Jobbe and several Never Mind staffers, and eventually Jobbe was told that he, too, was now banned from Never Mind, despite his sterling gay bona fides. Jobbe later sent an email to Never Mind, to which owner Christian Carlsen replied:

there are not many gay places left in Copenhagen, and that Never Mind is one of the places remaining and it is important to the gay community that Never Mind is kept as a gay place. So it is therefore not allowed for heterosexuals to kiss and so on in Never Mind ...

In a further email to Homotropolis, Carlsen wrote:

It is quite clear that gay bars in Copenhagen attract many straight people and that in itself is also okay, but when you come with 3, 4, or 5 straight friends you no longer fit into a gay bar ...

... Problems often arise when the girls, late at night, call their straight male friends and think it’s a good idea that they come by and join the party. They are often quite intoxicated, and most straight guys unfortunately have it a bit difficult with gay men. This often results in a serious situation which our security people than have to handle ...

... In Never Mind we don’t want heterosexual guests to dance, strip, kiss or behave inappropriately. There are plenty of places in Copenhagen that are reserved for heterosexuals, but there are only a few gay bars left, and it is probably fair enough that gays and lesbians have bars where they can meet other homosexual people without having to consider whether it is a straight or gay person they are addressing...

I wonder how many bars remain in Copenhagen where straight people can be absolutely sure they're addressing other hets. 

The Never Mind story is getting picked up all over -- perhaps most fruitfully by the Edge, which has assembled quotes from a plurality of viewpoints on the matter. Opinions are divided. Gawker's Brian Moylan, for instance, blames faghags for the present difficulties of gay bars. Straight girls, he says, ought to stay away.

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  1. All the spin doctors on this site can't make this anything other than what it is; gross discrimination. This gay man is ashamed of them for even trying!!!

    Posted by: jack | May 6, 2012 4:33:43 AM

  2. Have you all gone mad ?
    Have you forgotten the fierce struggle even to achieve equal rights to serve in the military ?
    Have you forgotten that straights voted down Prop.8 ?
    Have you forgotten that referendums are being held in N.C. to prohibit our rights to equality ?
    Have you forgotten that straights are voting in their thousands to deny us basic civil rights?
    And what about our right not to be discriminated against for being gay in our places of work ? The straights won't implement even that basic right.
    And let's not mention a long long history of gay-bashing. God forbid .

    And most of these posts here are by hand-wringing apologists because we want a space away from this majority which will not accept equality.
    Well, they can't have equality until we have absolute equality in all issues.
    Then we can revisit the issue of whether the straights can kiss in our bars.
    Until then it's war.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 6, 2012 6:08:33 AM

  3. There used to be a sign: 'The Management Reserves the Right to Refuse Entry' that pretty much covers any behavior that is unwanted. What gay bars need is a canny door policy: don't let gangs of clearly heterosexual drunks in and you won't have to ask them to leave. These are businesses; not democracies: they have the right to define who their clientele are: you can't sell dildos are Toys R Us for a very obvious reason.

    Posted by: Steerpike | May 6, 2012 6:24:21 AM

  4. There used to be a sign: 'The Management Reserves the Right to Refuse Entry' that pretty much covers any behavior that is unwanted. What gay bars need is a canny door policy: don't let gangs of clearly heterosexual drunks in and you won't have to ask them to leave. These are businesses; not democracies: they have the right to define who their clientele are: you can't sell dildos are Toys R Us for a very obvious reason.

    Posted by: Steerpike | May 6, 2012 6:24:24 AM

  5. The reality is, is that a lot of straight people are jealous of our culture as gay men, both male and female. They are jealous and they want to be apart of it. That is the reality, which is why they go to our bars. They are jealous of our culture, they feel as if we are more fun than straight bars, less violent, have better drinks and dancing, better bartenders, and they feel as if we are more "indiscriminate". So like, they can just do anything. The straight guys will flirt with straight girls, and even flirt with gay men, for the attention. Straight girls will be running around with their gay friend while he is wanting to dance with a hot guy he's into. I don't necessarily think these people do this to gawk, at least not all straights. But they do it because they think it's "cool". Because they "cool" kids go to gay bars, as has been stated.

    I go to two gay bars here in my city where the crowd is really mixed with many straights who are regulars, and everybody is chill with everyone, but I know that's not going to happen everywhere. The problem isn't straights coming to the bars, it's straights taking over our space and making us feel like outsiders in our own home. If I see a hot guy and he says "sorry, I'm straight" in a gay bar, that feeling of rejection is horrible, I shouldn't feel rejected where I go to feel acceptance, let my hair down, and be comfortable. I shouldn't have to deal with straight boy/girl drama when straight guys use our bars to try to hookup with our girl friends. What straights will have to learn is, good, more people are comfortable in their sexuality to go to our bar, that's a positive. But you better KNOW where you are and behave appropriately. This isn't some random bar where you can get away with some of the behavior you may otherwise engage in. This is a gay bar, and therefore, respect the establishment and the customers.

    Posted by: Francis | May 6, 2012 8:21:02 AM

  6. Some of these posts on both sides are sort of scary, actually. I hate homophobia, obviously, but not all straights are homophobic. Hell, I kissed a straight guy (yes, he's straight, wife and kids) at one of the bars I go to literally a few weeks ago. Not all straights are going to gay bars to gawk. Most aren't, especially a city like Copenhagen which is progressive. I can understand feeling distrust towards heterosexuals, but some of the anti-straight mentality I'm reading here is not good nor wise, because the reality is most people identify as straight. So hating 90% of society won't get you anywhere.

    With that said, some of you are REALLY delusional if you think that wanting to keep a gay bar gay-oriented is heterophobic. No, it's actually heteronormative privilege that makes some heterosexuals recoil when they are actually given rules to abide by and actually forced to look beyond themselves for more than 3 seconds. Gay bars are gay bars. Straights should be allowed, many are so much fun to be around, but they have to know the rules.

    Posted by: Francis | May 6, 2012 8:31:10 AM

  7. Nevermind has a reputation in Copenhagen for having horrible, rude staff. It doesn't surprise me that this happened there - the staff are rude to gay and straight alike though, so at least they believe in equality in this regard.

    Posted by: Jacques | May 6, 2012 8:41:08 AM

  8. I haven't been to Copenhagen in years, but one of the things I liked about Copenhagen twenty years ago was that gay and straight people easily intermingled in all the clubs, including straight clubs.

    Posted by: Jay | May 6, 2012 9:13:38 AM

  9. I don't hate heterosexuals, which would be ridiculous for any homosexual to say. I don't think 'straights' should be denied entry to a gay bar or club just because they're 'straight'. I certainly don't think opposite genders should be denied the right to kiss in gay bar/club. Though I do think gay bars/clubs should be just that, for primarily gays or bisexuals. Is this too much to ask? They're one of the few places a gay or bi person can truly feel comfortable and at ease in public. And yeah, some of the 'faghag' stuff in the gay so-called community, including bars and clubs, can get out of hand. And yeah, a lot of 'straights' do go to gay bars and clubs to checkout the gays. I don't like feeling like I'm in a zoo, although this happens in 'regular' bars and clubs too.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 6, 2012 10:51:04 AM

  10. @Jacques,

    A bar or club with rude, condescending staff? Well knock me over with a feather. Is this particularly unusual in your experience? I'd say it's pretty common, actually.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 6, 2012 10:53:22 AM

  11. Bravo to the Copenhagen bar prohibiting an influx of straights. As gay people are still discriminated against, we need to hang out in an all-gay bar and chat with all-gay guys. Straights have plenty, plenty of venues to visit, so they should not invade in mass a gay venue. I have witness a similar problem in Prague in the ON Club (formerly Valentino's Club). During the last few years, young straight females (dressed in sexy outfits) invade the middle dance floor and try to drag young gay guys, usually a bit femmy, out on the dance floor and then try to rub their pussy in the guys' cock, I guess the gals hope to get these femmy guys sexually aroused and then take them back home for sex. These straight gals find it a challenge to pick up young femmy gay guys. The masculine gays tell the gals to move on. As a result, many gays are now now avoiding ON Club and visit other gay clubs such as Termix. the owners of ON Club must be brain dead.

    Posted by: David Jarrett | May 6, 2012 10:59:27 AM

  12. Very sick of gays bringing their straight friends into gay bars. Also sick of gays excusing straight females going to gay bars because they feel "safer" in a gay bar.

    Posted by: empirical | May 6, 2012 11:18:33 AM

  13. @Empirical,

    And never mind the fact gay and bi men aren't eunuchs [at least most aren't] and are just as capable of being d-heads as a 'straight' guy. Same goes for lesbians, who're also just as capable as a 'straight' female of being a c*nt.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 6, 2012 11:46:02 AM

  14. Null:

    There may be some straight men who come into gay bars not looking for a fight. That doesn't make their presence o.k. Do we not have a right to a place we can feel safe and unviolated by their pesence? Do you think that gay men who have bad experiences with straight men deserve to have a place where we can breath easy away from straight guys? Don't you think we have at least the right for our own bars?"

    Cool. So you're OK with straight bars banning gays, because they deserve a place of their own too, right?

    Posted by: Jack | May 6, 2012 1:33:58 PM

  15. I live in a fairly homophobic country...and yet I was never kicked out or a bar or a pub for kissing my boyfriend. I am pretty sure that in Denmark (much more advanced in the gay rights area) nobody would kick me out either.

    There have been numerous cases presented here where gays have been discriminated against and everybody was up in an uproar. Some of the...let's call them "discriminators" were invoking religious privileges.

    Now, when the exact identical case is made but this time the discriminators are gay...all of a sudden it's all right? Claiming that you go to a gay bar to be with with gays it's an absolutely identical claim to we run a Christian establishment so we don't accept gays.

    So if we are fighting for equal rights, perhaps we should not turn right back and discriminate especially against people who are allies.

    Yes, straight people come to gay bars to come in contact with gay watch and maybe understand. That is actually a good thing. Because they will see that we are the same!

    Posted by: RandyN | May 6, 2012 2:18:23 PM

  16. @Jack
    False equivalency. Straights are the majority. Straights don't need a place of their own; every place not specifically for us is their own. They need no place to be safe from us because we don't turn the tables and bash back (I don't know why). We need a place we can feel safe from them. I know of no good reason for a str8 to fear gay people. I know a lot of reasons gay people should fear str8s. I hope you can see this. Do you really feel str8s need a place of their own away from us? How do you figure?

    Posted by: NullNaught | May 6, 2012 2:32:49 PM

  17. @Null:

    Please, like the kind of straight guy (sorry, I'm not 12, so I'll type out the word) who would go to a gay bar would be the kind to take issue with gays. Get your head out of your ass and stop being so damn paranoid.

    And yea, what about the straight people that don't want to have to worry about getting hit on by a gay guy? Don't they need their own place to feel safe? Mind you, I don't believe in this way of thinking, but it makes about as much sense as yours, and I'm trying to highlight the idiocy of it.

    I am not going to go through life being scared of a generalization of any particular group of people. If you want to, that's fine, but it's ignorant and betrays a small-mindedness that I would rather not associate with. And I will not support it. If the only place you feel safe is when you are only in the company of gay people, then I feel pity for you.

    Posted by: Jack | May 6, 2012 2:39:35 PM

  18. @jack
    I think we have just had very different life experiences. You are probably younger than me and haven't experienced so much homophobia as I have. You perhaps don't fear str8s as much as I. Good for you. But I have already answered the disingenuous argument that str8s need a place of their own. It is a false equivalency. Str8 guys don't have a problem getting hit on in str8 bars. Gay guys have a problem getting hit by str8 guys just outside of gay bars. Your position is just silly. My position is thought out.
    Generalizations are true. Take any str8 person at random and you are more likely than not to have a homophobe on your hands, at least if you accept the way they vote as a valid random sampling. That's the fact, Jack.
    When str8s stop bashing gays, we can have this conversation again. Until then, we do need places to feel safe and I can't believe you don't see that.
    And I am Peter Effing Pan. I never age; I still get carded. So you will have to excuse me if I act like a youth. I am still one in body and in heart. Just not in experience.

    Posted by: NullNaught | May 6, 2012 3:02:39 PM

  19. Spin it any way you want guys. You can't make it look like anything other than what it is; ugly discrimination. I will admit that I am shocked that so many LGBT folks who rail against anti-gay discrimination favor this discrimination against straights in a Denmark bar. SHAME!!!

    Posted by: jack | May 6, 2012 3:15:48 PM

  20. "Generalizations are true."

    Wow, ok. Well, maybe you're right. I mean, after all, take any random gay person, and you're more likely than not to have someone who dropped out of high school or never went to college, and wastes their life away working as unskilled labor. Oh, and they have AIDS too.

    Your position is NOT thought out. Your position is reactionary and based on fear. Just because your experiences have scarred you doesn't mean your position is right, or well-considered. In fact, it makes it more likely that it's not.

    Posted by: Jack | May 6, 2012 3:17:26 PM

  21. If more than 50% of gay people fit into each of those groups, what you have just said is mathematically true. What is wrong with that?
    As to my postition being reactionary, well that is in the eye of the beholder. You react to things based on your experience just as I do. In this sense all positions are reactionary, aren't they?
    I'm just curious, why are you obsessing on my response? There are plenty here who have said much the same thing as I. I am just one of many saying the same things, so what is up with you? Why not leave me alone to have my own opinion? I don't feel the need to invalidate you or try to make you feel wrong; why do you so unsucsessfully try to do so to me?

    Posted by: NullNaught | May 6, 2012 3:29:18 PM

  22. @Jack: Stop trying to shame gay men who prefer to be in the company of other gay men. Are you going to shame us next for not sleeping with women? Where do you draw the line with this political correctness?

    There is nothing wrong with wanting gay bars to be majority gay. I don't hear a lot of people here suggesting that straights should be banned outright, but there is a balance that should be maintained or there is no point in having a gay bar in the first place.

    Posted by: Castro Craig | May 6, 2012 3:41:02 PM

  23. Jack...darlin.. I will pose this question. Now mind you...i am against this idea of banning heterosexual people or activity at any gay I do think it serves as a way to bridge the cultures a bit...and I do think it is a bit small minded to ONLY want to associate with other LGBT people....but your arguement has a few holes....mainly in that somehow there is an equivilant between the treatment of LGBT people in society at large...and heterosexual people being sanctioned at a bar. I'll pose this challenge....gather a group of gay men...about 8-10...have a birthday or stag party planned...and the invade a straight sports bar or pool hall...drink heavily...flirt with and hang all over the patrons...have the DJ or juke box turn on Lady Gaga...and then swarm the dance floor with a chorus of "Whooooooo!" ...and tell me how it goes. Until the LGBT community can do that with impunity...they two issues truly cant be equated. With that said...I can hold a man's hand almost anywhere i go and be met by curious and sometimes dissaproving looks...but no true violence...(i live in SoCal)....but I am also aware that by in still very marginalized...and I make my straight friends aware of the comparisons. I'll leave it at that.

    Posted by: jt | May 6, 2012 3:56:12 PM

  24. Spin it guys. Its ugly discrimination. Gay people advocating it should be ASHAMED of themselves.

    Posted by: jack | May 6, 2012 5:33:30 PM

  25. @Jack: Simply, you don't what the hell you are talking about. You have every right to your opinion, as we all do, but your experiences in life are not the same as mine or anyone else's, so you can take your attempt at shame and judgment and shove it.

    Posted by: Castro Craig | May 6, 2012 5:44:38 PM

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