There are too many straight people at Legends Gay Nightclub. I went for the first time a couple weeks ago with a group of friends. As a lesbian, I had expected to meet other queer people and for it to feel like a safe space to meet people within my own community, but my experience was not that.
When I walked onto the dance floor, the bright rainbow lights blinded me, and the loud music blared in my ears; it was sweltering from all the people crowded together, dancing their hearts out and screaming at the top of their lungs to their favorite songs. The whole place smelled like body odor, alcohol, and weed–which was not appealing. As soon as I stepped onto the main dance floor, I noticed the overwhelming number of straight couples dancing around me that dominated the place.
Gay clubs are supposed to be a safe space for queer people to meet other people within their community, a place to listen to queer music and artists, and a place for us to be able to express ourselves freely. But, it doesn’t feel as safe and inclusive when straight people come into our safe spaces.
Straight people come into our queer spaces because women generally don’t feel safe in standard clubs because of the toxicity within average dance clubs. Straight women bring their boyfriends to dance with, which makes queer people feel uncomfortable. They also might come into our space because they want to experience queer culture and see drag performances.
While having straight friends support us in our queer spaces is good, we must remember that it could create opportunities for discrimination and microaggressions against LGBTQ+ people.
When straight people in the club are assumed to be gay, they might get offended and make both parties feel awkward and uncomfortable. It should be safe to presume while at a gay club that the other people there are queer as well, but that’s often not the case.
Straight people may treat queer people differently in these places even though it is supposed to be a safe space for queer people. For example, they might ask gay couples who the man/woman is in the relationship, even though the point is that they are both of the same sex, and it isn’t going to model a heterosexual relationship. They could also place stereotypes about queer people, such as assuming that all gay men are stylish and funny or that lesbians dress/look a certain way.
Queer couples could be asked who’s the top or bottom in the relationship, and there could be the sexualization of queer relationships by straight women and straight men. Gender non-conforming and transgender people could be asked personal questions about their gender that are uncomfortable to answer.
When straight people enter our safe spaces, it makes us feel like we can’t be ourselves because the outside world is now brought into our space. Straight, gender-conforming people are allowed to be in public anywhere with their partner and to be authentically true to themselves without getting strange looks or being side-eyed. Gay clubs are places meant for queer and gender non-conforming people to be able to be themselves and to feel accepted, not the opposite.
By Kayla Dunn, Reporter