Girl, don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining. Dozens of folks (all people of color) have stated they were not allowed to enter the new gay bar, Rebar, in New York City. When asked for a response, the official answer from the bar has been "this is not an issue." Well, judging by the promotional photo from the bar (yes, that is their image pictured above) it's obvious that there is a specific "type" this bar would like to attract.
Let me just start with this, I am not going to beg to spend my money at an establishment where I'm not wanted. I've worked long and hard for it and I'm gonna spend it somewhere that welcomes me. You'll never catch me beating down this door to get in or begging for acceptance from a group that obviously would prefer I walked on by.
Well, walk on by I'll happily do. But if you're brazen enough to set up this practice [they told several black men the bar was at capacity and they couldn't get in and it was confirmed the place was only about half full] then be man enough to stand by what you started. Don't get it twisted, I understand and appreciate the "theme" bars. I've visited and enjoyed a lesbian country bar where everyone wore flannel and two-stepped all night. The difference is, I was welcomed in that establishment without issue.
When I first came out, nearly every gay bar I went to was predominately black. I still love me a black gay bay. But let's be clear, while the clientele may be mostly black, no one is turned away because of the color of their skin.
Reading headlines like the one's today about Rebar make me realize I need to quickly finish my book, Creating An Inclusive LGBT Community. Racial bias is found in most communities, and that includes the gay community. Transphobia is not exclusive to just the staight community, it runs rampant in the gay and lesbian community as well. If the gay community is going to continue to demand inclusion, then we need to practice what we preach. Do you speak out on issues regarding immigration? Does your organization make sure individuals with disabilities have access to your building? Do you feel that the issue of women's reproductive rights is an LGBT issue?
We can no longer only be active regarding issues that affect white cisgendered gay men. Our community is made up of people that are black, brown, and Native-American. We come from every nation and for some of us, English is our second language. We are Christian, Jewish and MUSLIM. We are young and we are old. Some of us are single, some of us have multiple partners, and many of us are raising children. Some of us have HIV and that does not mean we are dirty. Some on us wear our rainbow flag on our shirt and some of us live in silence about our sexuality, but that does not mean we are ashamed of who we are. Some of us are effeminate, some of us are masculine and both are okay. Some of us are kinky, and that is okay too. We may be able-bodied or we may have some physical challenges, but we all belong. Whether we go to work with a badge or a stethoscope, in a uniform or a suit and tie, with a white collar or a blue collar, we all deserve a place at the table. We are short and tall, thin and plus sized and there is value in all of our voices.
New York City deserves better. The LGBT community can do better. And that's I have to say.