Natural Allies: See Women's and Gay Men's Realities Vanish!

Part Wev in an ongoing series...

So there's a good column in the Chicago Tribune by a columnist I quite like, Dawn Turner Trice, about how women holding bachelorette parties in gay bars is increasingly being seen by gay patrons as insensitive to the marriage equality issue, prompting some bar owners to refuse entry to the parties. Trice is also good about noting that many women prefer gay bars because it allows them to have fun out of the hands of groping assholes, without using that fact to justify the bachelorettes' insensitivity or tacitly reproach gay bar owners who turn the parties away.

But there are two big problems with the piece. After describing women tucking bucks, as the parlance goes, in the G-strings of go-go boys at Circuit during its "Las Vegas-style male revue called SinZation," Trice reports:
I found it ironic that, as the women got liquored up, they were the ones doing the pawing and clawing until soon they resembled the straight guys they were trying to avoid.
Insert screeching record sound here. I actually can't believe that a writer who is sophisticated and sensitive enough to write this column in the first place can make such an astonishing and careless mistake. Conflating women tipping professional male strippers with their explicit consent to men sexually harassing fellow bar patrons without their consent is not just evidently incorrect but dangerously cavalier.

An extraordinary number of rapes committed by dates or acquaintances (the most prevalent kind of rape) have their genesis at a bar or a party, which is what the bachelorettes in question are trying to avoid. It is appallingly irresponsible then to draw an equivalence between physical harassment in a place with known potential of nonconsensual assault and expected physical contact in a place where said contact is unambiguously condoned.

Unless Trice witnessed women actually harassing or trying to sexually assault fellow bar patrons, which she does not claim to have witnessed, her contention that the women "resembled the straight guys they were trying to avoid" is ludicrous.

And then there is this:
The women come to celebrate without having to worry about straight men pawing them. The gay men are there because, well, they don't want to be around a lot of women.
Um, what?

You know, there are always a couple of guys in any gay bar who talk trash about women (which still makes every gay bar less misogynistic than any straight bar into which I've ever had the misfortune of walking), but the vast majority of gay men in any gay bar are totally woman-friendly. To say that gay men "don't want to be around a lot of women" is bullshit, and the thing I hate most about the comment is that it totally obscures the real reasons gay bars exist, which is not because gay men hate women, but because gay men have been historically marginalized and disallowed from courting each other openly in the same way straight couples can.

Rewriting history to imply gay bars emerged because gay men were misogynistic separatists instead of a persecuted class relegated to segregated spaces is about as hostile to gay men's reality as I can imagine.

And as a woman who is fortunate enough to include several gay men who love me more than I rightly deserve, it's like a sock to the gut to have them cast as woman-haters, for a pithy line that's more easily digestible than, "The gay men are there because of institutionalized homophobia that proscribes regarding them as first-class citizens."

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