Isaiah Webster

Tag: Gay Bars

Why do women-only restrooms exist in gay bars?

WEST HOLLYWOOD — I’m just finishing my short vacation in West Hollywood, and I’m slightly perplexed by various things that I’ll discuss in the coming days. But today I’ll rant about the one thing I truly don’t get — women-only restrooms in gay bars.

I should say upfront that I don’t believe women belong in gay bars at all. (I hinted to that fact in a post last year, which drew criticism from some of my female friends that read this blog.) But I will set aside that broader issue for today and focus on the restroom issue.

My friends and I were bar-hopping in WeHo on Saturday night and I was amazed at how many straight women were in the gay bars. In some cases, they were there with their girl pals, and in other cases, they were there with their boyfriends. It is a reasonable expectation to see gay women flocking to queer bars, but I should not have to endure straight people making out in a gay bar. That’s just fucking ridiculous.

After a few drinks, however, I was willing to overlook the fact that straight people were in every direction I turned. The unforgivable sin occurred when I finally needed to take a piss.

As I approached the restroom area, I saw the long line of men waiting their turn — this is not unusual in a busy bar. Once I got close enough, I could see two restroom doors — one labeled “men” and the other labeled “women.” Again, there is nothing unusual about that either. Most gay bars have a restroom labeled “women.” But here’s the catch — only women could use the “women” restroom in this WeHo bar. I’ve never heard of anything so ridiculous in my life.

As my hand stretched out to open the door to the women’s restroom, a male bathroom attendant stopped me and told me that it was reserved for women.

Why would you reserve an entire restroom for a group of people that make up less than 10% of your clientele? And moreover, since when have gay bars decided to justify strictly binary gender classifications by having a women-only restroom?

It is our culture that gay men can use any restroom in a gay bar. If the women don’t like that, perhaps they should go to a restroom in a straight bar. One would assume that if straight women love gay bars so much, then they must also love our culture, which dictates no gender-specific toilets.

I won’t even jump into the question of which restroom would the drag queens be required to use in this silly bar.

Part of the reason I was so bothered by this restroom foolishness is because it seems that gay bars are becoming indistinguishable from straight ones. If I have to watch straight people make out and piss in a restroom for men only — I may as well just go to a fucking straight bar!

The allure of a true queer bar is that none of the conventional bullshit exists. Our entire society should promote gender-neutral restrooms. And a gay bar should absolutely understand why such a simple concept is so profound.

The only way for gay bars to exist is to stop acting like straight bars. If straight bars were so much fun, the women wouldn’t be all in my way while I’m trying to get a drink at the neighborhood queer dive.

Women + Gay Bar = Not Much Fun

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a gay bar and had to fight through a maze of straight women to get a drink or a glance at a hot stripper. On many occasions, I’ve commented to my friends that we should ban women from our bars or charge them double to discourage their attendance. My rationale is simple — there are far more straight bars than gay ones; and going out should not be about having to endure all the things I hate about straight bars!

Cocktail, a gay bar in Chicago’s Boystown, is in the mainstream press for its policy of denying admittance to bachelorette parties. According to the bar’s owner, the policy is in place because the presence of brides to be is a unwelcome reminder that gay couples can’t get married. Even though the policy has been in place awhile, the owner said it is getting attention now because of Proposition 8 and the broader fight for marriage equality.

Though this rationale seems odd to me, I was surprised that The Chicago Tribune took such a big interest in the door policy of a gay bar!

I like Cocktail’s policy, but I don’t like the rationale. We need not make any excuses for not wanting drunk, squealing women coming into our bars to “have fun” with the hot gay men. If they love straight men so much, then they can “have fun” with them and put up with the groping and sexist comments that go along with it. A gay bar should not be a circus for straight women, where they come to feel free and act in a manner that would get them thrown out of their own clubs. We don’t need the tiaras, the drunken drama, the unwanted photo requests and the obligatory cock necklaces. Lord knows we have enough drama of our own…and we have our God-given dicks to keep us amused.

I think Cocktail is well within its right to turn away those annoying bachelorette parties; and I would gladly frequent any gay bar that banned women completely.