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Straight men in gay bars

Community Member

So this is a discussion I came across on Reddit...it's kinda too long for here so I've tried to keep in the main points. For those non gay people who think it's 'trendy' to go to a gay bar, or like to pat themselves on the back for doing it, maybe think twice...

One thing you have to consider is that if you're straight, you have the luxury of being able to safely assume everyone around you is straight unless someone indicates otherwise. Gay people don't have the equivalent luxury. 

Keep in mind that if you're a straight person going to a gay bar, you make it harder for the LGB patrons to find potential partners. After all, if enough straight people go to a gay bar, it's no longer a gay bar, and the local gays/lesbians may have no where they can safely hit on others of the same sex. 

Consider a gay guy who goes on a ski trip in a group of 160 people. Educated estimates for LGBT people are about 5% of the population, so that means probably about 8 people in the group are gay or bi. Now image that you wanted to do what straight people often do, meet someone, hang out, maybe even have some sexy-time. Half of those 8 will be women, and only half will be single. So that brings it down to 2 single gay guys including yourself in the entire group.

The odds are astronomically stacked against you and the other single gay guy meeting each other and knowing that each other are gay. After all, there is no magical way of determining which of the 159 others is gay, and there are often severe penalties for guessing if someone is gay. On top of all that, you have all the typical issues with finding a partner that straight people face. So even if you manage to identify the one other single gay gay, you very well might not be each other's type.

On the other hand, if you're straight, all these extra barriers are removed. Although they might not be interested in you for other reasons, you can safely assume that others are attracted to the opposite-sex.

Statistics show that the majority of straight people meet their SO randomly (friends of friends, work, etc.), which works because straight people have the luxury of being able to assume that each other are straight. 

...I don't think it's intrinsically wrong for a straight person to go to a gay bar. But unless the straight person is going as a wingman/woman for his/her LGB friend, I think it would be very inconsiderate to not at least seriously think about going somewhere first."

17 Replies 17

Community Member

Yeah, I think I get it..........

So I guess that means that I, as a straight person, would not really be very welcome in your new Cafe with no name?

Naturally I would have liked just to show my support and show solidarity with fellow mental health sufferers of all kinds.  But if I was to cause offence, as a straight person, by doing so then I understand.  

It must be extrememly difficult being a minority group, and anything that makes it easier for you all, then I am all for it.

Wishing you all well.

Sherie xx

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hey Just

Paul here saying hi. I am straight and have some friends and work colleagues that very proudly gay in their choice of lifestyle and sexuality. Two small issues if I may....so i cant go into a gay bar to meet my friends for a drink that are gay?

I was one of the original supporters (including Kazz's name for it) for the new Rainbow Cafe...To me it has absolutely nothing to with being seen as  trendy but respect for what the LBGT represents and stands for. I have been pushed away from corporate society because anxiety 'isnt accepted' or tolerated thus being one of my reasons for my presence in the BB Forums in the first place.

I hope you wont do the same as many corporate managers do justinok....but a  great post! I look forward to having a nice cuppa in the new Cafe 🙂 There is no room for 'exclusivity' in my life right now.

Kind Regards




Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hey Sherie,

Everyone is welcome at the transcendent rainbow cafe with no name. Gay, straight, bi, trans, and all the colours in between. Fellow mental health sufferers, survivors, advisors and carers are also especially welcome.

If I may add my take on the original post by justinok;

From personal experience it takes a whole lot of confidence to approach someone you fancy in a mixed bar. I am lucky in that one time when I did approach someone, he was a good sport. We exchanged glances quite a bit. and I followed him inside. I met his group and we started to chat. I said "we held a bit of eye contact out there" he said "Yeah I thought you were trying to pick a fight with me".

I laughed and said "No I'm trying to pick you up!"

He laughed and said "Oh I don't swing that way" so I said "Oh bugger, well thanks heaps for being a good sport"

If the guy didn't have a sense of humour or was homophobic I could have earned myself a punch in the face. If I was shy it never would have happened.

I think justin's point is that there are safe places for gay people to go where it's safe to assume that everyone is gay. It's made more difficult and comes back towards being a mixed situation if the percentage of gay people is less.

The other point I'd like to make is that if a straight person is in a gay bar in the first place they are likely gay friendly and having someone approach them with a smile and a nudge would be more flattering and less confronting (generally) if the nudged person is straight.

There are exceptions. Homophobic people actually go to gay bars to pick up guys and beat them up. It's happened, It still happens. People have died as a result.

So my overall points in summary are:

Come one come all

If you get a pinch on the bottom by someone of the same sex, consider it a flattering sign that they really like something about you.

Seeing as the transcendent rainbow cafe with no name is an all inclusive safe place. The done thing would be that you get asked if you can be pinched on the bottom first.


Paul (ouch - OK who just pinched my bottom!?)

Community Member

Hmm... this was actually a conversation about gay bars in the real world, not threads on a forum, but there's some stuff that's come up here that illustrates perfectly why GLBTI people need to have safe spaces of our own to talk without having to be on the defensive.  Not sure if you realise how offensive it is Paul to refer to someone's sexuality as a "choice" and a "lifestyle". It is neither. 

I have been in situations where straight men are in gay bars, perhaps with a larger group for a bit of a laugh. They then react aggressively to people who might be looking at them. Similar thing with hen's nights - and I understand that women might go to a gay bar because they are sick of being harassed in straight bars and just want a night out.  

I don't think it's too much to ask to have one space - one space! - in an entire city where you can go and safely assume that everyone in the room is gay without having to think about your own personal safety and comfort with every word or gesture, like we have to do in the real world every goddamn day.

Community Member

Hey Paul, thankyou for the reassurance of an all-inclusive welcome at your "Rainbow Cafe with no name".

I have a couple of gay friends, one male and one female, although I dont get to see them much any more after moving quite a distance from them about 5 years ago.  But I do still keep in touch with them and catch up occasionally when I visit my old home town.  I am certainly not homophobic, and do understand some of the difficulties faced by you all.  I most definitely would not take offence if I were made a pass at by another female in a bar. I may be a little embarrassed at first, however I would take it as a compliment, as intended. I would make it clear in my own quiet way that I was straight, but flattered by their interest.

You say that there are Homophobic people who actually go to gay bars to pick up guys and then beat them up, sometimes resulting in deaths.  Yes, that is true and a horrible tragedy.  However if someone was trying to get into a gay bar for that purpose, by posing as a gay person, then how are you to know - until its too late?  You can try to exclude non-gay people, but if someone wants to get in for sinister purposes, then its going to be mighty hard to pick them.  This must be a constant concern, but not something I suspect that can be prevented as easily as excluding non-gay persons.  And dont forget that most gay people have non-gay friends as well, and also like to socialise with them.

Justinok, yes of course you deserve a safe place to meet and socialise, that you can call your own.  And I hope you can find that safe place.

Sherie xx

Community Member
This isn't about policing who goes in and out of bars. It's actually a request to non-gay people, as in the last line of my post, about having a think about your actions and choices. This isn't about homophobia, it's more about privileged thinking.

On that, it's interesting that even in this thread we have a gay person having to apologise and reassure the non-gay people that they are not being excluded. In a forum space that is supposed to be specifically for and about LGBTI people to discuss their issues!  And so far I've had one person (Rainbow Paul) actually respond to the actual topic I wanted to discuss.

As an HIV positive gay male, I would very much like to find a safe space to discuss these issues with my peers but am increasingly coming to the conclusion that this space is not the one in which to have it, if I can't even start a thread about a real issue that affects LGBTI people in a LGBTI forum without being lectured by non-gay people about how exclusionary I'm being.  

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hey everyone

I understand what is being said about not having places where we can go and really feel free to say anything without having to consider the implications back upon ourselves if someone acts upon prejudice or fear or a group of people they don't understand etc. I share this concern and ask that the discussion about safe places is maintained in a way that considers there are all types of LGBTI people as well. As I mentioned in my post just above, I was bold and the guy I hit on took it in good spirits. If I was not game or the person was hostile I would have either not had the opportunity to try and meet someone, or had a blood nose. Imagine someone with social anxiety who is gay trying to meet someone 😞

I suggested the rainbow cafe with no real name yet as a place where our community can mix in a friendly way with all other communities in a non mental health way - a bit like a rec room, that's why I have said "come one come all". After all, it's good to have people who are friendly to the LGBTI community offer support and drop by for a hello.

Having said that, I strongly believe that the special space set up for us here on the BB forums, IS a sanctuary where we have every right to feel safe to speak our minds as GLBITQ people and talk about issues concerning us and our community without recourse or upsetting someone. None of us want to upset anyone. Depression and anxiety do enough of that to all of us. Things said in the sexuality and gender identity forum (except for the cafe) are, respectfully, our safe place to talk freely.



Hi Justinok, I'm sorry if I have made you feel as though I was lecturing you in any way.  Definitely not my intention, as a lecture would be the last thing I would want to do.  My apologies that I have invaded your space.  I thought by contributing to your thread, and thus offering another perspective, I was actually being inclusive rather than the opposite.  Obviously I was wrong.



Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi there,

It is worth everyone reading this to step back for a moment and think about their own experience and perhaps take a deep breath. I am not interested in fighting or upsetting anyone. 

I suspect that this topic resonates with so many in our community. It is hard enough to find a safe place where you don't have to explain yourself as a gay man. For our trans sisters and brothers it might seem impossible sometimes. I didn't quite get the meaning of this until I went to a queer uni conference in Adelaide. Sometime on the second day I realised that I was in a room full of people all of whom were gay, lesbian, trans, genderqueer, etc. It was safe, there was no need to explain, or try to figure out the sexuality, it was fine to ask and tell, and for the first and possibly only time in my life I was not a very small minority. Whilst I was there we had a screening of a french movie with a central genderqueer character - I had never seen a person like me in a movie, that was huge.

I'll be honest, I do resent it when there are straight people in a queer bar who don't need to be in there. I am fine with them everywhere else but in there I shouldn't have to deal with people being upset that I thought they might be gay. And that post is right the numbers are stacked up, even in Commercial Road or Oxford Street, and completely so in a regional centre where we might get a few hours of private function space on a Thursday or Monday once a month. I don't get the choice of venues or anywhere to go on the weekend, like all the straight people do. And I know from experience that on the weekend it is simply not physically safe for me to enter one of those spaces.

It might be like the womens movement where a space to discuss womens issues away from men and their desire to control or but into the conversation is absolutely necessary. How we include and encourage participation on this part of the forum needs some thought. 

So anyway, thank you Justinok for raising this and reminding me of Adelaide.