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Should Straights Stay Out of Gay Bars, and Gay Men Avoid Lesbian Bars? — VIDEO

Ask A Homo Gay Bar Sign

Slate has started a new video series called "Ask A Homo" and for the first outing June Thomas, editor of Outward, fields questions about gay bar etiquette, specifically what should straight people do when they go to gay bars. Her advice, in short, is to not go to bars where you don't belong (this also means gay men should stay out of lesbian bars), but if you absolutely must then stand quietly to the side and just accept any disdain or abuse the waitstaff gives you and be prepared to tip them - and drag queens if you're at a drag show - extra generously as a "tax" for being a straight person in a gay bar.

Less separatist and more tongue-in-cheek advice can be found from both gay and straight perspectives over at Vice and BroBible, respectively.

You can watch "Ask A Homo" AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. How bout we just stay out of bars? Cheaper to stay at home.

    Posted by: Rob | Apr 27, 2014 12:46:05 PM

  2. Who is this woman to be speaking for everyone? Arrogant and ignorant.

    Posted by: SoFla | Apr 27, 2014 1:10:53 PM

  3. I thought the BroBible site was perfect. It balanced some good advice with humor and reflected my experiences taking my straight frat friends to our local gay bar.

    Posted by: RONTEX | Apr 27, 2014 1:15:18 PM

  4. There is nothing I hate more than seeing straight guys act offended when they're hit on in gay bars. It happens more often than you would think.

    Posted by: Håkon | Apr 27, 2014 1:18:56 PM

  5. I hope she becomes a seperatist from the rest of the human race.

    Posted by: Dr R | Apr 27, 2014 1:22:25 PM

  6. I've never personally had a problem with women in gay bars. What I have had problems with (at least twice) are straight 'bro' types tagging along with a group, and then acting visibly uncomfortable with the experience. Remember, we're not here to protect your delicate sensibilities. Keep those straight men out, people.

    Posted by: Sergio | Apr 27, 2014 1:25:36 PM

  7. No

    Posted by: Tim | Apr 27, 2014 1:26:03 PM

  8. Lesbian bars still exist?

    Posted by: Todd | Apr 27, 2014 1:31:33 PM

  9. I live in San Francisco where Popular Bars like Badlands and Cafe are now a good 50% straight on the weekends, with them hogging the dance floor and making out. This is where you use to go to meet people pre-grindr, now you can't even tell if you're hitting on a bro or a mo. What can we do to take back our bars?

    Posted by: dereksf | Apr 27, 2014 1:32:25 PM

  10. June Thomas, you are as ignorant as Donald Sterling. Perhaps you should fill your time at Clipper games than speaking for the gay community.

    Posted by: Mike in Asheville | Apr 27, 2014 1:39:59 PM

  11. Wow, I thought I might be the only one disturbed by the rising number of straight guys (!) in gay bars. They feel less and less like safe spots, and more like the latest places for breeders to accost fag hags. It's telling that the only fight I've ever seen in a gay bar was between a straight guy and a guy who touched his back.

    Posted by: Kevin K. | Apr 27, 2014 1:40:07 PM

  12. Not a fan of separatist talk, but I do get that some straight people can ruin the vibe by acting disgusted or put off. I think we've all been there. Hell, I've taken straight friends to gay clubs and they completely shut down. It was surprising.

    I've been hit on by women and my response isn't to freak out or be repulsed. So I think there's insecurity at play for the people that do respond like that. For those people, they probably should stay out of gay clubs then. Work out their issues. Come back when a guy hitting on you doesn't make your skin crawl or something.

    Posted by: daws | Apr 27, 2014 1:41:19 PM

  13. wrong, just wrong. clubs should be open to anyone who is comfortable in those clubs, and who doesn't purposely make others feel uncomfortable. what's next, "gays only" signs? would anyone support "straights only" signs in return?

    Posted by: northalabama | Apr 27, 2014 1:41:39 PM

  14. The Bro Bible gets it right. But, guys, next time you think it would be cool to bring girls and straight guys to the gay bar, here's an even better idea: GO SOMEWHERE ELSE.

    Posted by: JeffNYC | Apr 27, 2014 1:42:37 PM

  15. "...and who doesn't purposely make others feel uncomfortable."

    Ah, but therein lies the rub... Weird, aggressive entitlement issues flare up when you least expect them.

    Posted by: Håkon | Apr 27, 2014 1:47:41 PM

  16. This person is just as bad as those on the far right

    Posted by: Will | Apr 27, 2014 1:48:43 PM

  17. The bar culture in general - both straight and gay - isn't a very healthy place to be. They promote alcoholism, meat market mentalities and for me are just negative, sad places to spend time and (way too much) money to have a drink. I can have friends over, serve cocktails, play pool and darts, share some laughs and have a great time at home. And if someone drinks too much, they get a guest room or the couch.

    It's no wonder gay bars are seeing a huge decline in patrons. There are simply much more healthy ways to be entertained these days than to sit in a dark bar and watch the idiotic games people play with each other. No thanks.

    Posted by: johnny | Apr 27, 2014 1:49:08 PM

  18. Whenever I hear someone use the term "safe space", I know I am in the presence of a tiny tyrant.

    Posted by: Dr R | Apr 27, 2014 2:08:02 PM

  19. Only two types of people shouldn't go to gay bars: (1) those who are going to create trouble/violence (2) those who are going to see a zoo/gawk.

    For all the gays who can't deal with straight girls and guys in the bar, grow the F up. Seems my friends are more mature and accepting than you losers.

    Posted by: unruly | Apr 27, 2014 2:11:33 PM

  20. I hear Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling want to open a bar. And June Thomas wants in as a private investor.

    Posted by: Sean Maloney | Apr 27, 2014 2:11:40 PM

  21. I have to admit, that when I go out to a bar hoping to see or meet some cute guys, it's annoying when you have a bunch of drunk straight women tripping on you and spilling their drinks, taking liberties with your personal space, and generally being obnoxious. But it's so politically incorrect to suggest that they not be there. Makes me want to stay home.

    Posted by: David | Apr 27, 2014 2:11:55 PM

  22. I've never had an issue with straight guys in gay bars. I've had more issues with fellow gays who keep trolling me, even when asked to stop, than with straight guys being less-than-flattered by an innocent come on, as long as you take the hint... In fact, I've even even lied that I was straight a few times to deflect the tedious come-ons from a few incessantly persistent folks, but stopped when I realized that it made the aggressive trolls even more determined. And, I've only been welcomed in lesbian bars, so where is all this angst coming from? Insure folks, I'm sure.

    Posted by: grench | Apr 27, 2014 2:22:21 PM

  23. *insecure* not Insure...

    Posted by: grench | Apr 27, 2014 2:23:37 PM

  24. There is nothing wrong with having OUR OWN space, and people need to respect that. Black bars, lesbian bars, gay bars, Latino bars, etc., all should be able to be places where people of a similar kind can go to relax and have a good time with their own kind.

    It drives me nuts when I see a group of women strolling through a leather bar during some girls' nite out--or worse, a bachelorette party--thinking they are soooo cool for being there in what they really consider to be a freak show.

    Mixing like that should be highly discouraged.

    Posted by: Tatts | Apr 27, 2014 2:30:49 PM

  25. Gay bars before marriage, were more than pick up sites, and places to get a drink. They were our safe zone. We weren't holding Town Meetings of course but...

    Posted by: Gary Bebout | Apr 27, 2014 2:44:24 PM

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