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Ogunquit Bar Holds Shirtless Protest

Mainestreet

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.
 

Watch: Ogunquit, Maine Bar Owner Speaks Out About Homophobic Ban on Shirtless Bartenders

Paquin
Late last week I posted about Mainestreet, the Ogunquit, Maine gay bar where shirtless bartenders were ordered to cover up after complaints from a local resident, citing "health hazards."

Ogunquit According to Seacoastonline.com, state health codes are currently being reviewed to see if, in fact, the bar was in violation.

"According to Article 2-402.11(B) in the state's Food Code, counter staff at an establishment serving food are not required to wear hairnets, beard restraints, hats or clothing that covers body hair. All other employees who work around open food are required to cover up.  [Dept. of Health and Human Services' PEggy] Albert said the counter exception does not apply to Mainestreet's bartenders, however."

FOX Maine reports that the owner, Normand Paquin, thinks it's homophobia: "Paquin has complied with the requests, but believes incidents like this could portray Maine as a homophobic place and deter homosexuals from vacationing here. The bar received an outpouring of support Saturday night when hundreds of people showed up. Many of them were topless in support of the waiters."

Watch the interview with Paquin, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Watch: Ogunquit, Maine Bar Owner Speaks Out About Homophobic Ban on Shirtless Bartenders" »


Ogunquit, Maine Orders Bartenders at Gay Bar to Wear Shirts

Ogunquit
 

Bartenders at Ogunquit, Maine's gay bar Mainestreet have been ordered to wear shirts by town officials, who are citing "health hazards" as the reason, though the real reason appears to be image, Seacoast online reports:

Mainestreet "Ogunquit Town Manager Tom Fortier attributed the town's recent requests to a barrage of complaints spearheaded by town resident Harriet Yaffe. 'I was appalled that the town manager allowed this to happen,' said Yaffe. 'It was brought to his attention a while ago and he didn't do anything about it.'  ... 'I have no problem with eating outside or having a nice outside bar,' said Yaffe, adding that she enjoys dining out in the sun. She said she thought the bottles should be removed from the patio and that bartenders should wear shirts so that children passing by don't have to be subjected to the type of image it portrays. 'I love Ogunquit and I love the gay men. I have no problems with anyone. I just don't want a tacky town,' Yaffe said. 'You just don't do this,' she added. 'It's going to become another P-town.' Lempicki said selectmen were upset about the Mainestreet's situation as well. Selectman Graham Simonds said he is concerned with the open use of alcohol outside the bar, but hadn't heard about the shirtless bartenders. 'I really don't like outside service of that type,' he said. 'I don't think it adds anything to the town.' Simonds said before Ogunquit became its own town 30 years ago, alcohol had been banned altogether. 'I just think this is pushing the envelope when they're ordering it outside and serving it outside,'" he said. 'What's next?'"

(top image source, bar image via Gay Ogunquit)


NYT: The New or Not So New Wave of Gay Destinations

Michigan_1

The New York Times today covers the lesser-known gay destinations: Douglas and Saugatuck, Michigan; Ogunquit, Maine; Eureka Springs, Arkansas; Guerneville, California; Rehoboth Beach, Delaware; Asbury Park, New Jersey; Pahoa, Hawaii; Asheville, North Carolina; and Sullivan County in upstate New York, noting that the internet has caused these pockets of gay culture to become more well-known.

GogoThe Times makes sure to note, of course, that despite the far-flung aspect of some of these destinations, there's still the requisite go-go boy, which is either sad, hot, or hysterical depending on your perspective.

So, if you're not up for the well-trod destinations of Provincetown, Key West, Fire Island, or Laguna Beach, and you're looking to be around gay people you may have more choices than you think. It's great to see these smaller destinations covered. I grew up in Chicago and visited Saugatuck a handful of times when I was a child, but I've always wanted to revisit.

Anybody know of other small gay destinations around the country that aren't covered in the article? If so, or if you'd like to voice your opinion about some of the places covered in the article, please do so...


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