A September 22nd issue of HUFFPOST GAY VOICES included an article about two straight male customers at a pub in York, U.K. who took offense because the bill they received indicated their server had identified them as “Gay Guys”. There is no allegation by the “victims” that they received poor treatment or disrespectful service.
Appearing under the title; “‘Gay Guys’ Receipt Shocks Straight Male Bar Patrons In The U.K.”, the story described an incident where a female server in the bar had used the label “Gay Guys” as a descriptor to identify the two in the establishment. The customers, a 26-year-old male and his platonic friend who identify themselves as straight were shocked. In an interview, the customer is quoted as saying
“I obviously thought it was inappropriate,” “It’s as equally unacceptable as racism… It’s not a bad thing to be called gay — although I’m not and neither is my friend — but I think it’s prejudiced. It’s jumping to a conclusion without the need to do so.”
The bar owner issued a public apology, stating;
“We have apologized unreservedly. While it was completely wrong, I don’t feel it was prejudiced… It was completely unprofessional and it is not what our business is about.”
The server has since been disciplined and the establishment is looking into training strategies to ensure that the incident doesn’t happen again.
Quoting the HUFFPOST article; a spokesperson for the York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Forum discussed the incident with reporters, stating;
“Clearly this is an unacceptable and wrong stereotype made by a member of staff at the bar, but it is also a mistake which could cause great offence and upset to anyone involved, regardless of their sexuality… We would welcome any business to contact us should they feel their staff require training on issues of equality, where we would be more than happy to assist.”
I am not sure where to begin …..
Thanks to HUFFPOST for raising this story’s profile. Really? Slow news day on the ‘Gay Voices’ desk? There was no bad treatment, no hostile environment, no derogatory language. The fact that two straight guys chose to be offended by the suggestion that they might be gay is newsworthy around the globe?
I can fully understand the bar patron raising an objection to the management of the establishment. It was an inappropriate identifier. I would have mentioned it….. and I am a “gay guy”. But interviews with the media? “Is the need to get ones “15 minutes of fame” so compelling that he latched onto this? Bonus points for tossing in: “It’s not a bad thing to be called gay” though I think what he meant was ‘it’s not a bad thing to BE gay’. Clearly he thinks being CALLED gay is a very bad thing indeed. As for his comment; “It’s as equally unacceptable as racism”….. Is it really? I bet anyone who has ever seen, much less confronted, racism would disagree. This isn’t anything like racism. It isn’t even anything like homophobia.
A special ‘shout out’ to the folks at York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Forum. Things must be pretty nice for the LGBT community in York if advocating for offended straight men is a priority for the community organization. Were two gay men in the pub identified as “Nancy Boys” and received poor service I would hope a community organization would be all over it. I would rather not, however, have an LGBT organization publicly buy into the notion that suggesting a straight man might be gay is so profoundly offensive that it warrants international news coverage and a condemnation from the gay community. Our community faces legitimate issues around the world; marriage equality, bullying, the Russian legal environment to name a few. What thought process brings an LGBT community organization to weigh in on this faux issue with anything other than some polite form of ‘oh, get over it!’?