The Abbey bar in West Hollywood made headlines last week when it enacted a ban on bachlorette parties, with owner David Cooley issuing the following news release:
Every Friday and Saturday night, we’re flooded with requests from straight girls in penis hats who want to ogle our gogos, dance with the gays and celebrate their pending nuptials. They are completely unaware that the people around them are legally prohibited from getting married. Over the past 22 years, The Abbey has been a place that accepts everyone, gay, straight, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and everything in between. We love our straight girlfriends and they are welcome here, just not for bachelorette parties. It has long been a policy at The Abbey to deny admission to groups in costume, including Bachelorette regalia. Bachelorette parties had previously been allowed inside if they removed their costumes. The Abbey's Bachelorette Ban comes on the heels of a ban on Gay Marriage in North Carolina and a number of other states across the south. The Abbey encourages other gay-owned and operated establishments to institute their own bans as a sign of solidarity until Marriage is legal everywhere for everyone.
As you can see by the final sentence, The Abbey doesn't want to go down this road alone; they are opening calling for "other gay-owned and operated establishments to institute their own bans as a sign of solidarity until Marriage is legal everywhere for everyone."
So should San Diego bars heed the clarion call, and follow suit? I asked several of my club-going friends via Facebook what they thought of the idea, and found that opinion here tends to lean against it, although people are quite passionate on the subject on both sides.
Jess Jan Fee, for example, feels it's a bad idea. "That won't help one bit. Why would the one group getting discriminated against the most want to go around and do the same thing? It's going to make us look like jealous catty bitches. Let the dumb loud ass white girls have their party."
Christopher Crisp agrees: "Not sure this is sending the right signal, if we want equality and can't give it in return. The girls who often visit the gay bars are also our supporters, who in turn get their straight male partners to be more accepting. Never burn a bridge, it might be the one you need to get home."
Donny Osborne can't blame them for loving us so much, noting "So what! They wanna celebrate with the gays, WHO WOULDN'T? Come one, come all! Let's party, have fun and then work together rather than building walls."
Aaron Borovoy thinks the whole approach is counterproductive, arguing "You attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. Better to welcome them and educate them with a poster or two than to shut them out. Exclusion never helped anything," while Michael John Emory makes unfavorable historical comparisons: "This kind of mentality is spitting in the face of all our "straight but not narrow" allies. Imagine "colored only bars" to boycott racism during the civil rights movement. It would have been utterly ridiculous. We are trying to bring down walls not build them. We need to educate and preach tolerance."
On the other hand, many are supportive of the Abbey's new policy. "Thank God," says Nixon Lettuce, "nothing worse than Bachelorette Parties at gay bars. Thanks Abbey!"
John Thurston agrees with Abbey owner Cooley and finds the bachlorette practice offensive: ""Let's all go laugh at the drag queens and male strippers ... and then run off and have a 'Real Sanctified Marriage'" ... none of that Marriage Equality talk for them." And David Fisk feels labeling the ban a form of intolerance is a bit much: "Actually, the more I read these comments the more I'm really not seeing the issue. How is this hate? This rule doesn't ban women from the bar. This is a lot of overreaction to a non-issue."
So far as I know, no bar here in San Diego has begun their own bachlorette ban, or is even considering it. As far as other cities go, I've managed to run across one similar ban in Chicago, although interestingly that ban seems to predate the Abbey's news release by several years.
This week's events
After a very memorable Memorial Day weekend, things seem to be settling down a bit here in San Diego. However, we have a few events coming up that are worth checking out.
Tonight (Thursday) is the Varsity! Clothing Optional Party at Numbers, with cheap $2 drinks for boys in their undies. This sounds like a great combination to me!
On Friday local promoter Shaun Flak, the guy who added Church at Babycakes to the Sunday funday schedule, is beginning a new first-Friday party at Bourbon Street, Men at Night. The M.A.N. party plans to be "the hottest men's night in town" and features "hot go go dancers, amazing DJ's, new sound system and lot's of MEN."
On Saturday night iRage at Eden will have LA DJ Dawna Montell in the booth.
And on Sunday, Redwing's Traci Ratcliff will be celebrating an afternoon birthday party at the bar, from 3 pm to 6 pm. In lieu of a gift she asks that you bring a donation of pet food or pet related product to support PAWS San Diego.
Don't forget that the 14th annual FilmOut San Diego LGBT Film Festival is playing through Sunday at the Birch North Park Theatre. SDGLN Editor in Chief Ken Williams give you full details daily on our website.
Last week's events
Memorial Day weekend was exhausting, but in a good way! Check out SDPIX for all the new albums from last week, including photos from the Harvey Milk street sign unveiling, Coco Peru at Martinis Above Fourth, the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast, Bourbon Street, Cesar Becerril and Rudy Cabajal-Lopez' Wet & Wild Pool Party, DJ Manny Lehman at Eden, Active Duty at Rich's, Church at Babycakes, Michael Mack's T-Dance on the Bay, and the Deep End Party at Urban Mo's, plus pictures just in from the Mama's Day fundraiser for Mamas Kitchen, and Long Beach Pride weekend. Happy viewing!