Yes, Vice is reporting just that. Racism is the LGBTQ community in small towns is not unheard of, but in New York City, D.C., Denver, Hollywood and Philly?
• In a Facebook post, Ian Alexis detailed how he and his friends had been denied entry to NYC’s New gay bar, Rebar over the weekend by an employee who told them the bar was at capacity. Alexis said his group prepared to leave before another employee allowed them to come inside. Once they stepped in, they saw that “it was pretty dead and empty,” as his post had it, while other black patrons overwhelmed the line outside, unable to enter. After Alexis’s story caught wind, similar complaints began to flood Rebar’s social media pages and review sites.
• In September, a video of Darryl DePiano, the owner of Philadelphia gay bar iCandy, began to circulate on social media. It depicted him saying “Ni-ni-ni-ni-niggers, every one of ’em,” in a conversation in which he insinuated that queer men of color disproportionately ask bar staff for drink tickets. And on April 15, during the bar’s sixth anniversary, audio from that clip was broadcast on loudspeakers outside the bar by protesters for everyone to hear.
While DePiano admitted it was him in the video and has since apologized for the statement—claiming it was recorded years ago and doesn’t represent his “true feelings”—the revelation was one of many that made Philadelphia’s Commission on Human Relations take action.
• Ashlee Marie Preston is a trans activist who works on the Transgender Advisory Board in West Hollywood (WeHo), LA’s gayborhood. Last Tuesday, she went to eat at a WeHo restaurant named Catch. After arriving with a reservation, Preston—who also happens to be a person of color—alleges that she was stonewalled at the door…
She claims a condescending server then came to her table, instructing her that “these places work a little differently.” Preston claims the server attempted to direct her towards menu items that were cheaper. The insinuation was similar to DiPiano’s: people of color are cheap.
• This January, a 2012 email leaked from David Peruzza, the manager of Washington, DC, gay bar JR’s, to a graphic designer working on flyers for the bar. The flyer in question was for an Olympics-themed party, and featured an African American athlete stretching.
“I don’t know how to be PC about it,” the manager in question wrote, “but do you have a hot white guy?” Reportedly, the graphic designer replied back with “First, don’t actually put that in writing again.”
As the owner of JR’s told Mic, “I won’t apologize for it, because I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that for what was going on at the time. Everything was Abercrombie models and pretty boys.”
• In late November, Gia Valverde her friends were at Denver’s X Bar, where they came face to face with an offensive display, particularly in the wake of the 2016 election.
“We were getting some drinks at the bar and I noticed there was a half-built wall,” Gia Valverde told Colorado’s 9News. “There was an American flag on the wall and above that there was what looked like a dead Mexican in a sombrero on top of it.”
As others laughed, Valverde posted a photo of the display in a private post to her Facebook page. It was soon shared in a public post by her friend Stephen Garcia. “I’ve said it before and I will say it again. GAY people can be RACIST!” Garcia wrote. “Do you know how many Latinx people have spent their AMERICAN dollars in your establishment? To depict a ‘Mexican’ with bloody hands climbing over a wall with an American flag so nicely draped over it… is down. right. Disgusting!”
• In August, genderqueer drag performer Valentine Steaphon was kicked out of the New York City gay bar Boots & Saddle Drag Lounge after a verbal altercation with a cisgender woman in the women’s bathroom. According to Steaphon, after being accosted by the woman in the lounge’s bathroom, Steaphon was asked to leave the space by security.
“She told me that I shouldn’t be [in the women’s bathroom] because I don’t have a pussy or a vagina or whatever,” Steaphon told Out Magazine. “This is exactly what the security said. He said, ‘Well, we cater to straight women here, so if you are making them feel uncomfortable in the bathroom, you have got to go.'” In addition, Steaphon claims a friend of the woman denied Steaphon’s trans identity. “While all of this is happening [the woman’s] friend is yelling in my face that I’m not trans and that I can’t be trans unless I have titties and a pussy.”
Boots & Saddle apologized for the event, and changed the signage on restrooms to gender-neutral.
America in 2017? Racists emboldened by our racist President? If you ask me, yes. (Illustration, Lia Kantrowitz; via Vice)