Sure, but that’s different. There we’re talking about literal safety, not (for lack of a better term) social safety – i.e., the opportunity to explore some social activity (sexual or not) in a nonjudgmental atmosphere. I would have no objection to a battered men’s shelter excluding women, either, if the men felt unsafe around women. But that is worlds removed from an open-to-the-public business (like a bar) excluding certain patrons based solely on sexual orientation.
Well, you might not, but I will submit that some gay people do object, and rightly so. Because those sorts of clubs underline the “otherness” of the excluded and reinforce the right to exclude them. The mentality that it is okay to leave certain people out of certain aspects of society (especially places open to the public) based solely on sexual orientation is not a mentality that, in the long run, will do the gay community (or black community or women) much good.
Why would the inability of an interested party to participate justify barring them from the event. If it was a gay man who for medical reasons was incapable of being a sexual participant, would you exclude him as well?
And I’m not talking about orgies, by the way, or even the darkened “bull pens” in the back. I’m talking about wanting to attend an event at a public drinking establishment, or wanting to just have a drink at the bar, and not being allowed to based on sexual orientation. IMO, if we’re talking about a true sex club, where people are expected to participate, then, sure, you can exclude nonparticipants. But not when it’s basically a bar and maybe someone will end up getting a blow job in the back, or finding someone else to take home, but lots of other people will not, and if they want to just drink and dance, they can. Why exclude straight people from that? IMO, if we’re honest, it’s because they want it to be a gay event and they just don’t want straight people to be there. And that is not IMO a good enough reason for exclusion.
Sure. But why does that matter? Are you saying that the disempowered can be exclusive but those in power cannot? Why? The wealthy and powerful do not have fewer rights (both constitutional and social) to associate with whom they please than others do, and I can think of no rationale to attempt to try to say they have fewer. I’m not talking about law. If we as a society say “it’s not okay as a social matter to exclude people based solely on their sexual orientation,” then we can’t undermine that statement by qualifying it: “Unless you’re disempowered. Then it’s okay.” The only rationale I can think of that would support such an idea is a fear that your subculture is in danger of being subsumed into the homogeneous societal whole – an argument often made by Deaf culture, for example. But in this case that just takes us back to the beginning by begging the question of what constitutes gay culture and why it’s in need of protection.
Right back atcha. I’m trying to think it out myself. I think it’s a very interesting question. And thanks for the compliment JARBABY.
Well, I think we can all agree it probably is a comfort issue, at least at some level. The question is whether that’s a good enough reason to exclude certain patrons based on sexual orientation alone. Because “straight bars” would just as willingly exclude gay people on the basis that gay people “make the straight patrons uncomfortable and attract a gay crowd, which we don’t want.” So would it be okay for a bar to have “straight night” – no gay people allowed? Again, IMO, saying such divisions are okay (and such a rationale is legitimate) seems to me to obviously harm gay people in the long run, by giving the rest of society a reason to exclude them. So MATT has been giving some thought to what rationale besides mere comfort might justify such exclusion, which led to the discussion of “safe spaces,” an idea I don’t reject in other contexts but am not sure I’m convinced by in this one.