by NATH VALVO
There are so many things about that make me proud to be part of Melbourne’s gay community; this is not one of them.
It involves The Peel in Collingwood. It’s a gay club. It plays hilarious, amazing pop music and I have had many a good time there.
The Peel has a certain door policy you need to know about.
Years ago, The Peel nightclub made international headlines when it won a legal right to refuse heterosexuals and lesbians entry. VCAT then changed the ruling slightly but legally The Peel can still refuse people entry based on someone’s “character”. You can read more about it here.
The Peel owner has said in a number of interviews the door policy is in place to protect us – its gay clientele. I will always support the idea of creating a safe and comfortable space for us but what happened on Saturday night has nothing to do that.
Please let me remind you that the year is currently 2012.
On Saturday night, after a few over priced espresso martini cocktails, some friends and I decided to gyrate to The Peel. The boys were already inside when I arrived with my gay friend Blake and my straight friend Stacey.
On arrival we noticed there were 2 lines of people to enter the club – we were told by a random that one line “was for gays” and the other “gays with girls”.
Gay groups without girls got priority entry.
Already feeling a bit weird about the 2-line situation, we decided to swallow it and we lined up in the “with girls” line.
After a little wait we approached the security lady at the door. She was pleasant, smiled and asked to check out our I.Ds. Let’s call the female security guard … Meryl Streep. If anyone could play the role of a security guard it would be Meryl Streep.
What Meryl did next has melted my little brain.
Meryl turned to my friend Stacey and said, “are you aware that The Peel is a night club for gay men?” The three of us laughed at the question (Meryl did not). Stacey then politely answered, “Yes I am.”
Meryl, calmly, said to Stacey, “In order for you to enter the peel tonight you must agree to following conditions… Firstly, there is to be no heterosexual behaviour.”
Stunned, Stacey replied: “… Sorry?”
Meryl then repeated, “Do you agree to no heterosexual behaviour inside the club?”
Stacey reluctantly agreed, “Yeah, I suppose so.”
Meryl then continued, “Do not interfere with the boys in this club, the boys in this club are our priority. Also be aware of heterosexual predators”.
The word predator made all our eyes prick up. Stacey asked Meryl to define predator and the answer given was: “A heterosexual male who will try and make contact with you in the hope of kissing you or dancing with you. If you see one report him to a security guard and he will be kicked out”.
Stacey nodded in disbelief. Meryl stated her last condition of entry “if you are seen kissing a male you will be escorted out immediately. Do you agree to these terms?”
Stacey “Yes I do.”
Meryl then clipped the rope off the wall and waved the three of us in to the club.
Shut. The. Front. Door. I’m getting a head spin. How is this crap flying at a Melbourne nightclub?