Saturday, March 14, 2009

Houston Bar Refuses To Admit Gays

The Union Bar Lounge in midtown Houston, Texas refused to serve nearly 100 gay patrons, leaving them to wait in the rain while the bar was empty and heterosexuals were being ushered inside.

Patrons started lining up at about 9:40 p.m. and were told to wait in line and not allowed inside, even as straight-appearing people were waved through. As the line grew and patrons waited in the rain, employees at the door told those who were that they were maintaining a “ratio.” Later, the bar employees simply indicated they had the right to refuse anyone.

“I was shocked to be a victim of that kind of discrimination in a city like Houston in 2009,” said Neal Falgoust, a Houston law student. “I have never experienced anything like that before in my life.”

A patron who arrived at the bar early reported that the bar was nearly empty at about 9:40 p.m., when gay people started arriving and were stopped at the door.

Gay people continued to line up to the street and around the corner as people who appeared to be straight went to the front and were ushered in. Kris Banks, who stood at the front of the line, said the bar employees were asking the women who were entering with men if the men were accompanying them. If the men were with the women, they were allowed in.

“I arrived and heard that they were not allowing gay men in, so when I got to the door with three women I asked if we would be allowed in, and the door employee said ‘I was told to keep you out,’ ” said Lindsey Dionne. “This was supposed to be a social event, but now it’s political.”

That this kind of discrimination is still legal in Houston makes it more outrageous. A coalition of GLBT rights groups, including the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, the Houston Stonewall Young Democrats, the Harris County Impact Houston and Amicus at South Texas College of Law said Saturday that the incident is proof of the necessity of legal protections for sexual orientation and gender identity for public accommodations.

“Houston is the only major city in Texas without a law that prevents this kind of discrimination,” said Jerry Simoneaux, GLBT civil rights lawyer. “This incident is exactly the reason Houston should implement such an ordinance.”

The event was organized as Houston’s first “Guerilla Gay Bar,” a tongue-in-cheek event that has been popular in other cities in which GLBT individuals come to traditionally straight bars to interact with other communities. Though Guerilla Gay Bars are usually a surprise event in other cities, Houston organizers informed the bar owner in advance out of courtesy and were told they would be welcomed (Capitol Annex).
The fact that the bar was told in advance that a large gay crowd was coming was not even necessary, since when does one need to RSVP to a bar? The bar said they would be welcome, and then decided to discriminate against them.

People are already leaving negative reviews on their yelp page.

2708 Bagby St
Houston, TX 77006
(281) 974-1916
info@unionbarhouston.com
www.unionbarhouston.com

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm not trying to defend the bar as I live no where near Houston and have never been there but read all of the comments. There was an explanation by the place and there were comments from gay people who said that it really was full and that was the problem. They then said they went back later and it was great. Either way I'd like to hear both sides of the story before I'd trash a place online that bad

Queers United said...

Well this was originally posted by the Houstin LGBT Coalition and there are even reports from people within the bar when people tried to come in who said it was empty and they only refused gays while letting str8s in.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to tell another side of this story. I was at Union when this happened and I was a gay man who was inside enjoying myself at the bar. I know the owner of the bar to be a very nice gay friendly guy. The bar was not empty when all of the gays showed up outside and they do still have to follow fire code restrictions. I also went outside to try and speak with some of the gays outside who were refused entry. They were screaming insults at the bouncers as soon as they told them it was crowded inside and that is when the staff told them they were not allowed in to make a big scene inside. This whole situation is getting blown up to something that did not happen.

Anonymous said...

Im confused, Is my "American Dollar" Gay ,Straight,Bi or Lesbian ?

Ray of Sunshine said...

"Im confused, Is my "American Dollar" Gay ,Straight,Bi or Lesbian?"

My point exactly! It shouldn't make a difference how the creator made me because money is green and will spend the same no matter where you go. People need to get over themselves and mind their own business. If they weren't so busy trying to mind other people's business, they might actually make more money and in this type of ailing economy, I don't know what smart person would turn down that opportunity. Such a sad day in America! :(

~Ray~

Greg said...

“Houston is the only major city in Texas without a law that prevents this kind of discrimination,” said Jerry Simoneaux, GLBT civil rights lawyer. “This incident is exactly the reason Houston should implement such an ordinance.”

Now really. This is somehow the city of Houston's fault? Come on people, municipalities are supposed to be for water, power, roads, ambulances and local law enforcement. Stuff like this should, indeed be illegal, but you're blaming the wrong set of lawmakers. The federal government should be the ones making sure that shit like this is illegal.

Anonymous said...

I don't go to bars anymore...But if I did
I know never to go to that one...


TACKLE YOU HUGS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Laurie

Anonymous said...

i say stagfe a huge protest in front of that bar... get it into the news!!!!!!!!

SteveDenver said...

How did they know who is gay from straight?

Patrons of color and women who were denied entry should lodge a class action suit based on race and gender discrimination.

The bar is absolutely allowed to refuse service, but they have to prove why. The year is 2009, not 1959.

Liquor licenses are granted by the city. Enough disgruntled customers can call it up for review. Hell, find the oldest looking 20-year-olds you know, get them fake IDs to get inside, swap it for their real IDs and get the bar busted.

"Anonymous" said the owner is gay-friendly. Well obviously his bar and door staff are not.

Hire a gay off-duty policeman to stand by the door and oversee the policies being exercised. Invite the press. Get every queer down there to occupy every parking space within a mile.

Donate $500 to Planned Parenthood in their name and get the anti-abortion protesters down there.

SacGary said...

“I was shocked to be a victim of that kind of discrimination in a city like Houston in 2009,” said Neal Falgoust, a Houston law student. “I have never experienced anything like that before in my life.”

Oh Please! It is Texas! What else did you expect?

I have lived in various parts of Texas off and on over the years and this kind of behavior is EXACTLY what I would expect.

I am not sure where you have been but surprise is certainly the last emotion I would have experienced.

Anonymous said...

http://www.myspace.com/unionlounge

Anonymous said...

What a crock of shit! I was inside the bar at 9pm with a few friends. When the bar got full, the staff started a line outside. The guys in line did not like it. The bouncer created the "ratio" rule to get any and all females out of the cold rain and inside the bar first. Union Bar is not discriminatory. I am so over the gay scene in this city. Always blowing everything out of proportion. I can't believe this is happening. I'd love to know who the queen was that started all the rumors. It had to be one of the guys who was YELLING horrible things to the bouncer when the line was first formed. Please do your research before you jump on the band wagon. Union Bar is a new business and needs community support to make it. My GAY friends and I had a very good time and were very embarrassed to be associated with the group of gay people that made a scene and started all of these rumors on Friday night. Get a grip people!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I know the organizers of this event who had already contacted the bar owner prior to the event. The organizers are even shocked. I also know many of the gay people who were inside the bar when this happened. The bar was not full. This is coming from both straight and gay people who were inside. The bar staff even told people both inside and outside that they were not allowed to let anymore gay people in. They actually said those words. That is fact.

Anonymous said...

I just called the bar and got a great response from the owner, he is telling me that there is video showing that the bar was near capacity when this group of people were pissed because he wouldnt let everyone in. He said he has never turned away his gay and lesbian customers and states that this is untrue. Just so you all know call for yourselves and hear what he has to say.

Tom said...

Correction, in Texas, Liquor Licenses are issued by the State, not the City.
As a gay man and a business owner, I appreciate the fact I have the right to refuse service. This is a two way street.
It is a privately owned business.

Thalassa said...

My understanding is that GGB tried to bring in a couple hundred people to a bar with a capacity of 177. On top of that, the bar had already committed to reserving space for a private party on the same night. Based on what I know of this part of Houston (it's their gayborhood, basically) it makes sense that a tiny little bar was overwhelmed by the numbers, but not that gay people were refused admittance.

Anonymous said...

You can't discriminate against us, it's not right and not fair. I don't look gay so I guess I would be let in. I would love to be let in then jump on the bar and yell oops you let a gay woman in here!! Guess I'd be arrested. It's sick that we still are treated like this. I am a native Texan and Houston is my hometown. Montrose is a gay area, I mean what is the deal??

Anonymous said...

I so understand a bar having a compacty level of 177 and i would respect that at any gay or str8 bar. but by reading and having being in that line too. its the fact they were still letting girls with guy friends in there before the line of gays. Shouldve worked as a first come first serve bases. That is were the bar messed up and how things got out of hand. As far as the comment below talking about "which queen started this rumor" yeah basically speaks for itselfs what kind of people run and go to that bar.

Anonymous said...

Thank God for what ever bar you are complaining about. Atleast someone has some sence. GAY is WRONG.

Queers United said...

Thanks anonymous, you are the first person to initiate the Sodomite Committee. http://queersunited.blogspot.com/2009/03/sodomite-committee.html

Now a guy or multiple will engage in sodomy on your behalf. God Bless!

Anonymous said...

This could turn into a very very bad 'incident' like OKC. I hope we don't have another 'McVeigh' somewhere who would just love to get 'even'.

Poor owner, I'm think he's living in fear and hiding somewhere!

jaysays said...

I have family in Houston and they called me after this occurred and stated, "Hey, you know what's hurting the Gay Rights movement, things like this:..." and explained what had happened. It's been widely reported that the bar was at capacity. After the attack by the straight guys in Galveston, TX (very near Houston) against the gay bar by way of rock throwing and injury to patrons, I imagine LGBT people are a bit sensitive there.

Anonymous said...

I am a gay man that lives in Southern California and have been thinking of moving to Houston recently with my partner of 23 years. If this is how gays and straights get along in Houston I think I will just stay here in Cali ... you never hear of this kind of baloney happening here ...

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