Equality – It Works Both Ways

–noun, plural -ties.
1. the state or quality of being equal; correspondence in quantity, degree, value, rank, or ability.
2. uniform character, as of motion or surface.
3. Mathematics . a statement that two quantities are equal; equation.

Image via University of St Andrews

If you asked people, the majority would say they believe in equality. However, how many of them actually deliver equality in their everyday life, is totally different.

I believe in equality. Everyone should be treated the same; regardless of their sex, age, race, sexual orientation or even if they are left-handed! I prefer to judge a person for who they are, not what they are.

Ever since records began, there has always been some sort of fight for equality going on. There are so many to list, but to name a few; the suffragettes with women rights to vote and Malcolm X and his fight for the rights for African-American. And the most recent fight for equality, that is in the headlines, is about homosexuality.

Being a gay man, of course I am going to side with ‘my team’ in relation to equality. Of course, I am going to be disgusted and disagree with the likes of Stephen Green, Iris Robinson, Melanie Phillips and Jan Moir; whom I see as openly homophobic figures within our society. But I will say this; these people are fighting a losing battle. We have seen through the years, that being openly gay is becoming more widely accepted. Further down the line more boundaries will be removed. Just like all the other minorities, there is always going to be a battle on the hands. Just not as big as before.

Hiding behind religion

What is being seen at the moment, is people defending their arrogance/homophobic opinions, by hiding behind their religious beliefs. To me this is utter codswallop.

We have seen hoteliers being taken to court for refusing a gay couple a double bed…due to their “religious beliefs”. They lost, and I am happy they did. Without going over old ground, my opinion is that if you run a business and refuse a service due to someone’s sexuality then you are breaching the Equality Act. End of!!! This isn’t about their beliefs, they can have them behind closed doors, but when it comes to a business, then there is laws their to protect everyone. And these have to be adhered to.

Could you image if these people refused entry to a couple because of their colour of skin? It just doesn’t seem acceptable, so why should it be seen okay to do this against gays?

Just recently, it has been reported that a podiatrist, has been found guilty of misconduct for  refusing to treat people who he thought were gay. It sounds absurd that this type of treatment still continues within our medical industry, but report shows that 1 in 5 health care professionals have admitted to being homophobic. These are people who have admitted to it. There is still people out there who refuse to admit that they are homophobic!

I could sit here and write more about inequality and religion, but I would be here for a long time. So although a lot of people, including the people within the minority groups, think their fights are over, I am going to say it isn’t. And I don’t think it ever will…not for a long time at least.

Equality works both ways

Now, as much as I will stand up and challenge people who try to limit my rights as a gay man, I have to stand here and challenge the minority groups for their treatment to ‘the norm’. While I concentrate on the gay community, my thoughts also transcend to other minority communities who I also believe can be discriminatory.

I think it is hypocritical that we demand equality, yet it is deemed acceptable to discriminate people whether within our own community or those who aren’t.

Just as a gay man won a constructive dismissal case against his employees due to their activities to make gay customers unwelcome with the bar, we had a gay club doing the same for straight customers. Both of them are totally unacceptable, but I feel this is the norm within the gay community…especially in Manchester.

Jeremy Joseph, the owner of G-A-Y, had booked One Direction to appear at his London premises. He then ranted on Twitter that he didn’t want their female straight fans to come to his club:

Jeremy knows that the fan base for One Direction is mainly female fans, so if he is not willing to let them in, then don’t book the group. It’s that simple really! But if you do book them, then you can’t complain when your clientele for that night will be mainly female straight fans.

Just while the laws are there to protect ‘us’ against discrimination, it is also there to work the other way. And I do hope that if anyone was refused entry from G-A-Y due to their sexuality, then they have the guts to take the company to court, just like the gay couple did.

While I understand that many people still prefer a ‘safe haven’, I still don’t believe it is fair to turn people away purely due to their sexuality. The majority of straight people who do come to the queer quarter are there to enjoy themselves and do not have any issues with us or our sexuality. Surely as a group we should be embracing this instead of turning them away.

Image via VisitManchester

As I stated before, I strongly believe that a lot of the gay venues in Manchester, and most likely other towns and cities, are breaching the Equality Act, but secretly hiding it behind a “members only” reason for refusal I have been on the receiving end of this several times, at different venues and when I challenged it, I was allowed entry. One instance, I had to get a member of staff I knew, from the club to confirm that I was gay, so I could gain entry. Ironically, it’s not as if it isn’t that obvious.

Recently, I have openly witnessed one bar just off Canal Street who confirmed that a group of female friends were refused entry due to their sexuality and when I challenged this I was kicked out for being abusive. In fact, I was joking with them. Management for said bar wouldn’t not even listen to the complaint.

Another bar, this time on Canal Street, refused entry to my brother because it was “members only”. I challenged this and explained that the bar is not “members only” as I am always there and not a member. They still refused to let them in and I believe this purely on his sexuality.

So how can we demand that society should move on from the stone-age and be diverse when we, as community, refuse to leave ourselves? Society as a whole is changing and so must we. Where we demand that places should be gay-friendly, I challenge that we should be straight-friendly. It’s not that difficult is it?

You may think that there are situations where I am being a hypocrite because I wont give certain people the time of day (like some of the people listed above). I just want to reiterate, this isn’t because of their religion, colour of skin or anything else. It’s a simple fact; if you don’t give equality then how can you expect to receive it?

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Posted in Equality, Homophobia, Racism
4 comments on “Equality – It Works Both Ways
  1. […] I am not a big frequenter of the village anymore, however there is very much a drastic change in the feeling and clientele that is down there. Ever since Queer As Folk hit the screens, it is true that straight people have started to enjoy the village more, and I personally don’t have any issues with that, as I have said before in a previous blog. […]

  2. SteveDenver says:

    Excellent article, I followed your link from the article on gay hotels being investigated for discrimination against heterosexuals.

    When I studied contemporary sociology, one of the topics that came up was the idea of being “More Equal.” It can be seen among groups of people who have faced discrimination in the past: Women’s alliances, Black/African-American Groups, Jewish Groups.

    Some groups intend to preserve culture, highlight opportunities, and share with the community at-large. Other groups intend to promote business within their subset, which could be perceived as discriminatory to outsiders.

    As soon as people want equality for all instead of grovelling for personal benefit, we’ll be in good shape.

  3. David Murtagh says:

    I agree with most of what you say. But I can’t remember ever being asked if I was gay when signing into a gay hotel & I have never come across a gay hotel which specified gay only.

    You are spot on with bars and clubs which do seem to discriminate. Perhaps hotels should allowed to advertise that they are run by biggotted ‘christians’ so we can avoid them.

    • I have been thinking about the ‘gay-only’ hotel story that is going around recently. Personally, I have never stayed in a gay-only hotel but I am sure there is a few out there. Memory serves me right Trades in Blackpool was gay only.

      Personally, I don’t see the issue with the advertising as a gay venue (but straight-friendly). The future guests are aware who the main clientele are can choose whether or not to stay there.

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