Melbourne Hub




Australian Gay Bar Wins Right to Ban Heterosexuals

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Tom McFeely, owner of the Peel Hotel in Melbourne, has won the right from an Australian tribunal to refuse entry to heterosexuals after arguing that an increasing number of straight people threatened the safety of his gay patrons.

According to Reuters, "McFeely said that, while the hotel welcomed everyone, its gay clientele had expressed discomfort over the number of heterosexuals and lesbians coming to the venue in the past year. He said there were more than 2,000 venues in Melbourne that catered to heterosexuals, but his hotel was the only one marketing itself predominantly to gay men." Said Peel: "If I can limit the number of heterosexuals entering the Peel, then that helps me keep the safe balance."

A tribunal agreed with Peel. Said Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal deputy president Cate McKenzie: [If heterosexual men and women came into the venue in large groups] this would undermine or destroy the atmosphere which the company wishes to create. Sometimes heterosexual groups and lesbian groups insult and deride and are even physically violent towards the gay male patrons. Some women even booked hens' nights at the venue using the gay patrons as entertainment. To regard the gay male patrons of the venue as providing an entertainment or spectacle to be stared at, as one would at an animal at a zoo, devalues and dehumanises them. (This exemption) seeks to give gay men a space in which they may, without inhibition, meet, socialise and express physical attraction to each other in a non-threatening atmosphere."

The decision has understandably created quite a bit of controversy. Said McFeely: "I was expecting some flak. But I did it to protect the integrity of the venue and to ensure the safety and comfort of my regular gay clientele."

McFeely says that since the decision was handed down, the club has been receiving more threats than ever. McFeely: "The phone honestly hasn't stopped ringing and that's sad but it also in my head demonstrates the need for this type of thing, because there is still quite a bit of homophobia within the general community."

Court Decision [read it]
Peel Hotel [official site]

Peels

Gay pub bars heterosexuals [tr]
Gay Australian pub wins right to ban straights [tr]

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60-Year-Old Australian Man Bashed, Sexually Assaulted by Gang

Ballarat_2A 60-year-old man was dragged from a Mercedes Benz and sexually and physically assaulted by a gang last Thursday morning near a cruising park in Ballarat, Australia, a town 105 km northwest of Melbourne.

From the Ballarat Courier:

"Police said the man was attacked while in his car at the southern end of Victoria Park about 12.30am. He was dragged from the Mercedes-Benz sedan by four male offenders, who sexually and physically assault him. When the attack was over the men poured alcohol on the victim and urinated on him, police said. The offenders then stole the victim's car and abducted him. He was held captive for about an hour before being released near the intersection of Latrobe and Learmonth streets. The car was found burnt out at the northern end of Wendouree West Reserve about 5am Thursday."

Three of the attackers are believed to be in their 20's and a fourth is described as "slightly older."

Said Ballarat Crime Investigation Unit Detective Senior Constable Paul Jolly: "He received hospital treatment and has been released, but physically and emotionally he's very distressed. It was a very savage and disgusting attack."

My source for this article said that the area where the attack occurred is generally known as a "beat" (an Australian term for cruising area). More on this when it comes in...


Sportrait: Cooper Cronk

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Cooper Cronk is a halfback for the Melbourne Storm, who are headed into Australia's National Rugby League final this coming Sunday. Cronk has astounded rugby pundits by rising from a second tier player for another team (the Brisbane Norths) to a halfback in the grand final in just 18 months.

We've seen the Melbourne Storm in these pages before and the addition of Cronk to their roster does not disappoint.

One more shot of Mr. Cronk at a recovery session at Melbourne's St. Kilda beach on Sunday.

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