Should straight people go into queer clubs and bars?
- Credit: Sophie Buckenham/Florence Ventham/Archant
With its offering of LGBTQ+-friendly nightclubs, pubs and bars in the city, Norwich has always aimed to be inclusive.
But debate has been sparked online about whether heterosexual people should go into these venues or whether capacity should be left for those who need the queer-safe space.
So Evening News readers have had their say on the issue.
Chloe Cousins, who is heterosexual, said “For me, it's always been about solidarity.
“I have so many friends from the LGBTQ+ community and often it's been a place they've wanted to go and I would willingly go with them.
“Incidentally they've often been the spaces where I've felt most comfortable too as the clientele are largely so welcoming and friendly, authentic, and dance like there's no tomorrow.
“I for one certainly feel less judged in those spaces and have always had the best night out.”
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Agreeing with Chloe was Jourdan Madge, who said: “I’m heterosexual, and I go into these spaces because there is always a much better atmosphere.
“I feel more comfortable than in other clubs, and the people are always much friendlier.”
However, Sophie Buckenham, who is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community said she doesn’t entirely agree.
She explained: “I understand why heterosexual people - especially women - would want to use gay bars as it is seen as a safe space,
“However, it somewhat takes away our space and the feeling of it being completely safe for the LGBTQ+ community.
"It feels like heterosexual people have every other space in the world. I feel we should be allowed to have a bar at least.”
Nicholas Baker could see all sides of the argument.
He said heterosexual people going along with a group that included queer people was great.
However, he added: “I think the problem comes when people see queer spaces as a place they can come and treat as a novelty. Or we see them infantilise the people there by seeing them as some kind of entertainment.
“Hen parties in particular are awful for this.”
He added: “Queer people deserve safe spaces and since the vast majority of bars and events aren't queer-focused, I don't think it's asking too much to not have our spaces completely taken over.”
Emma Woodward felt similarly, saying she was very torn on the question.
“We shouldn't exclude anyone in any space and we should definitely encourage allyship," she said.
“However, when it's treated as a ‘let's go to a place where guys aren't going to hit on us’ then it doesn't seem right.”
She added: “I've literally seen an instance of someone getting offended because they were hit on by somebody that was the same sex as them in a gay bar.
“I hear the phrase 'I'm fine with gay people as long as they don't hit on me' and that attitude can leak into safe spaces really easily.”
Florence Ventham felt similar to the other members of the LGBTQ+ community.
She said: “Having experienced homophobic behaviour from what I assumed to be a straight heterosexual male, I never want to experience that on a night out where I'm supposed to be having fun.
“The way I felt afterwards was so vulnerable and degrading, and if I'm honest I was grateful we were at a distance.
“I would feel much safer in a space where my queerness won't be up for debate as being ‘freakish’ and is celebrated as it should be.”
Alanna Baker could see both sides, saying: “I’ve regularly gone out in mixed groups to LGBTQ+ places and had lots of fun.
“I know plenty of cis-gendered straight people who love the drag, music and idiosyncrasies of a gay bar, that's hard to find anywhere else.”
They added: “Introducing a LGBTQ+-only venue will only risk ostracizing and adding further 'otherness' into the LGBTQ+ community.
“How is a bouncer or barman meant to assure someone is gay enough to enter the premises?”
Harrison Elvin added: “I don’t mind either way, as long as everyone is there to have fun.”
What do you think?