Alex Blaze

The ex-gay bar isn't nice to its old friends

Filed By Alex Blaze | February 26, 2010 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media, Politics
Tags: charles lisboa, gender, LGBT, london, realpubs, sexuality

I read this article yesterday morning, but I'm still shocked that London's oldest gay bar got slapped with a fine for discriminating against gay people.

The bar was bought up by a chain (always the beginning of trouble) and then reopened as a straight bar.

However, soon after the pub re-opened as the Pembroke Arms, Malcolm Heap, Director at Realpubs, expressed concern to staff that the clientele had not really changed. The Tribunal accepted that Mr Heap, along with Jimmy Sydney, the pub's General Manager, took various steps to 'de-gay' the pub, including putting a sign up outside proclaiming, 'This is not a gay pub'.

Mr Heap also stressed in an email to one of Realpub's investors that he was attempting to ban the pub's 'over the top' customers.

More after.

[Openly gay assistant manager Charles] Lisboa was uncomfortable with the stance taken by Realpubs' management, and their attitude to him and its gay customers. On one occasion, Mr Lisboa was asked by Mr Heap to reprimand a gay couple for their behaviour, referring to them as 'queens'. Mr Heap then went on to pay Mr Lisboa the back-handed compliment of being 'another kind of gay'. On a separate occasion, Mr Heap stated that one of Mr Lisboa's colleague's 'walked too camp'.

Only four weeks after joining the Pembroke Arms Mr Lisboa tendered his resignation due to such discrimination.

The tribunal found that Lisboa had been discriminated against, but didn't agree with the "constructive dismissal" charge, meaning that they didn't think the discrimination got so bad that he had to quit.

You can't really blame a bar that's trying to go from being a gay bar to being an everyone bar, but you'd think that they wouldn't go all the way in the opposite direction and become a straight bar that's nasty towards gay people in ways that gay bars aren't mean towards straight people. In fact, the problem when it comes to exclusion at gay bars is usually the opposite - all I've heard about in the US is bars trying to keep out straight clientele because they come in so many numbers they take over the whole place. Now gay people are getting kicked out of straight bars for being over the top?

This isn't "can't we all just get along" when a straight bar can't even allow a few gay people in because they think that their flamingness will scare away straight people. There's only one way straight people will get over all that, and that's to hang out at the same places as gender non-conformists.

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Alex, this exact same thing happened downstate here in Illinois last year.