March 11, 2010


This past week, a popular scene queen was denied entry to a bar which shall remain nameless. Skyla Versai was informed by the doorman that this was a mens’ night and her kind was unwelcome. In fairness, the club also operates a weekly tranny night where I assume the dragoons would be admitted. But drag queens being turned away from gay bars is nothing new. Although we’ll be the very first ones to call on for a free show at an AIDS benefit, sometimes we’re not good enough to party with our more masculine gay brethren.

Leather bars nationwide have a reputation for banning gurls. Club veteran Linda Simpson recently turned away from a club for not wearing leather. She was like "Hello! My ancient, ashy skin doesn't qualify?" In fact, I recall Rawhide frowning on men not in drag if they wore cologne or sandals! I wonder where this comes from? While I fully understand that certain cruising scenes thrive on a no-frills, butch atmosphere, if you’re really confident that you’re a big he-man overflowing with testosterone, why should it matter if a feather boa swishes by you?

I have a theory. Face it, from homo-thugs to personals ads seeking straight-acting hook-ups--how straght can you act sucking a cock?--for many gay men the cruising experience involves hiding any effeminate tendencies they might have to flick back an imaginary Beyonce weave or lip-synch wildly recreating every move to Lady Gaga’s latest video. Because you’ll be less likely to snatch any trade that night if you do. So imagine you’re a burly leather daddy who prepared for the evening anally trimming your handlebar moustache and pouring yourself into chaps—ironically, while playing the tunes of some female icon like Judy Garland, Donna Summer or Madonna. Then you saunter into your local cruise bar with a cap shading your eyes and a couple of prospective tricks run their hands run down their suspenders to their crotches in anticipation as an industrial, manly house track pumps in the background.

Then Rupaul swishes in and you lose it. You flit over to her and a string of pearls flies out of your mouth. “I love you on Drag Race! Fabulous, girl!” Now that everyone’s seen you lisping excitedly, they may agree with you about RuPaul, but they no longer want to sleep with you since you’ve revealed the real you. Self-hatred, anyone?

This issue goes so far beyond drag queens. One bear was prompted by the news of Skyla to complain (paraphrasing) “At least you drag queens get in everywhere else and are even handed drink tickets! Bears often can’t even get into clubs.” (This made me giggle a little since at my current weight if I simply stopped shaving, I’d qualify as a bear!) Leather bars discriminate against drag queens and twinks. All kinds of gay clubs discriminate against women. Trendy watering holes have dress codes which might prevent a slob's entrance.

I travel to perform in smaller cities a lot and it’s always refreshing to visit a place where there is only one bar in town. Everyone from twink to bull-dyke to fag hag is forced to mingle. But in NYC, there are enough gays to segregate into different scenes. If it’s a private club where only black guys holding 10-inch pipes want to congregate with each other, I won’t hold it against them. (Although I wish they would hold it against me!) But gays are already a minority. Can we ever advance mutual goals of a gay agenda if we can’t even party together in our public spaces? And before I hear anything else about drags being turned away from a gay bar, don’t forget that it was us, not you butch queens, who were man enough to throw that first brick at Stonewall which launched the gay rights movement that enables you to be openly gay in the first damn place! And then you turn your hairy backs on us? I don’t think so, mary!