Friday, July 3, 2009

Queer Bar Stirs a Little Controversy

Cincinnati Guerrilla Queer Bar, which is fast becoming a mainstay on people's party calendar, has both tried to quell some complaints about the event but stirred some controversy in the process. The latest email via their Facebook group:

GUERRILLA QUEER BAR is TOMORROW night (Friday, July 3rd)!

As we eluded to in the previous message, this month is going to be excitingly different. After lots of conversations with many female identified CGQB-ers, we've decided that it is necessary and important to focus this guerrilla queering on FIGHTING MISOGYNY.

I know many of you queer boys out there might be saying, "But there haven't been any problems! I've been having a great time, let's just keep it about being queer in straight spaces!"

Listen boys, it's time to clear the misogynist gauze from our eyes! Being queer doesn't make us free from our male privilege! Many women have reported that they might stop coming to Guerrilla Queer Bar because they feel unsupported in the struggle against all the sexual objectification and misogyny they face during CGQBs!

We'll have pamphlets about combating misogyny for people to pass out, but feel free to show your support by making a t-shirt, sign, or your own flier!!


"Okay, I'm excited to fight misogyny, but what is the ridiculously awesome place we'll be queering this month!!??", you might be asking...
(can I get a drum roll please...)
located in Hoffner Park (where the Pride Festival was)


We know some of you may be complaining, "Northside!? Northside's already as queer as we get in Cincinnati! I thought CGQB was about going to radically straight bars!"

Have no fear! Though lots of queers may live in Northside, there are still plenty of homophoic/transphobic/racist/misogynist people to interact with and show the beauty of queer-dance-love-fantastic. ESPECIALLY at a ROCK and ROLL festival!

Some of you may be still be thinking, "I thought we were going to bars! I don't want to go to some outdoor festival with music I don't like!"

Have no fear again! First-- the festival is going to be ridiculously awesome. There will be a fire performer, a sword swallower (talk about no gag reflex!), and seriously good music. Second-- Cincinnati Guerrilla Queer Bar is going to have a booth so all us queers can gather and celebrate! It will be complete with a kissing booth, queer face painting from 8-10, and lots of cuties to meet. TONS of cheap beer will be for sale, but remember to also bring your thermos full of _________!

Leave your fears at home, put on the queerest outfit you've got (for serious this time-- you'll be in Northside!), come find the CGQB booth (we'll be gathering there around 8), and make Hoffner park even queerer than it was for pride!
Unfortunately, I don't think people got it, or just have just been responding with some negativity on their wall posts, for example:
Your new crusade to fight misogyny is laughable when one takes into account the stance taken in past Queer Bar events when the issue of the sexes has arisen. An April 2 invitation to an event in fact encouraged participants to take part in and ipso facto support a "lady's night" event". An event that offered preferential treatment contingent on being a member of a certain sex. Any preferential treatment is unacceptable, regardless of whether or not something is so common place that it is practically an institution. A number of state supreme courts, including California's and Iowa's, have ruled lady's night is sexist by nature and a violation of men's civil rights. Surely the women participants in said event happily took advantage of the benefits afforded them. I hardly see the point in coming to the defense of a group that willfully participates in events geared at discrimination. Any argument that ladies night is something designed to benefit men by ensuring a large number of women
With two supporters responding:
Every GQB has in some way encountered discriminatory gender-related policies like ladies night, and at every one GQB has engaged these policies in some way either in negotiating with the bar in advance or while we are actually there, either through a questioning of the rules each time they are encountered (remember when we tried to get Sully's to question what they understood to be "ladies"?), or, through a direct breaking of these rules. In the case of the "no dicks on stage" policy at the Lodge bar, this led some people to nearly get kicked out. This time, the engagement with broader issues of misogyny, sexism, and the objectification of women is just more explicit. So there's not really much that's laughable or new here.
anne's got it. ryan, if we were to limit ourselves to attending bars with no discriminatory gender-related policies, we'd end up staying at queer bars. even then, there are a good number of those that are incredibly misogynistic. serpent comes to mind. as for recognizing the implications of our actions, i was barely aware that it even was ladies' night at sully's. all i know is that genderfucking the place opened up lines of dialogue (in bathrooms, on bartops, on dance floors) that would previously have been inaccessible to both the normatively gendered and the queerly gendered.

gqb isn't about choosing spaces where everyone will be safe, or choosing spaces where we know the drinks we buy will not support events like the "best legs" contests that lodge bar keeps e-mailing me about. it's about the creation of a safe space, the challenging of discriminatory policies, and the interaction between the queer community and the straight community.
Perhaps that was the purpose of going to those bars, those lady's night genderfucks. That was always my thought, at least. What do you guys think? Lame or awesomeness, this new branching out and this new take?


The Seeker said...

I second the idea that combating Ladies Nights et al was the point! CGQB's mission was to "invade" (for lack of a better term) "straight" bars and open people's minds. The only event I've been able to make it to so far (Caddy Ranch) showed this. We had pamphlets and busines cards to hand out to people... I think it's a wonderful thing.

Maybe the people that bash GQB events need to take a look in the mirror. They may see that they are just as close-minded as the sexist people/homophobes...


Ms5chw4r7z said...

Maybe women take advantage of Ladie's Night because we only make .78 for every $1.00 a man makes. Now THAT'S what I call discrimination.

Anonymous said...

When are you going to a black bar or do you discriminate?

Anonymous said...

To the blogger complaining about men and women seperation in bars.. please leave it that way. Lesbians have their bars and Gay Men have their bars.. Not everyone wants to always share the space and place!

Anonymous said...

In a group that is 1,200+ strong on facebook - i'm actually relieved there weren't MORE ignorant, poorly thought out comments.

I also wanted to say that I support CGQB in its effort to look critically at itself even though it isn't even a year old yet.

Ethan Philbrick said...

to the anonymous person who posted--
"when are you going to a black bar or do you discriminate?"
thanks for bringing that up!
as one of the organizers of gqb, i assure you that we all acknowledge the fact that having gone to only white dominated spaces/bars so far is one of the serious weaknesses of cgqb. we're focusing on ways to make cgqb a way for EVERYONE and ANYONE to express their sexuality and shake things up in their communities and we'll definitely be working to make it a more inclusive event for queers of color in cincinnati. that said, if you're a person of color in cincinnati who identifies as queer and has something to say about gqb, wants to help organize it, or has a suggestion, CONTACT US on facebook or email!