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There Were No Bachelorette Parties at The Abbey in WeHo Last Night

Jim Burroway

May 26th, 2012

The Elizabeth Taylor shrine at The Abbey in West Hollywood

Two thoughts: 1) I couldn’t be happier, and 2) what on earth took them so long? This is from their press release:

Every Friday and Saturday night, we’re flooded with requests from straight girls in penis hats who want to ogle our go-gos, dance with the gays and celebrate their pending nuptials. They are completely unaware that the people around them are legally prohibited from getting married,” said David Cooley, Founder of The Abbey.  “Over the past 22 years, The Abbey has been a place that accepts everyone, gay, straight, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and everything in between. We love our straight girlfriends and they are welcome here, just not for bachelorette parties.”

It has long been a policy at The Abbey to deny admission to groups in costume, including Bachelorette regalia. Bachelorette parties had previously been allowed inside if they removed their costumes. The Abbey’s ‘bachelorette ban’ comes on the heels of a ban on gay marriage in North Carolina and a number of other states across the South.   The Abbey encourages other gay-owned and operated establishments to institute their own bans as a sign of solidarity until marriage is legal everywhere for everyone.

To be honest, I’m surprised that The Abbey is just now getting around to this. I was in Washington, D.C. in 2008 for a conference, and decided to take in an evening at Town, a large two-story dance club. This was the year that marriage bans were on the ballot in California, Florida, and my home state of Arizona, and more than a year before marriage equality arrived in D.C. On the lower level of the club was one of the most impressive drag shows I’ve ever scene, polluted, I might say, by a obnoxious bachelorette party flaunting their privilege. They were partying in a gay club while the rest of us had to stand there and be reminded that even in our own spaces we were second class citizens. I found it unspeakably rude. I’m glad to see these bans in place, but more importantly I will be thrilled to see them thrown out when we can all celebrate marriages equally.

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Andrew
May 27th, 2012 | LINK

I can beat that — my new sister-in-law, on the day after her wedding, stuffed “booty” (err… sorry, gifts and cash) into suitcases in my parent’s house (my brother and his new wife were staying in the bedroom I had during high school and college)… while initiating a debate about gay marriage with me (she brought it up, I didn’t). She was truly completely unaware of the callousness of her behavior, and to do this in the home of her new in-laws (and in the room that used to be “mine”) was the height of bad manners, and a remarkable demonstration of low class given that (one hopes) the beginning of a marriage is the time to make a favorable impression on your new spouse’s family.

I have to say, at the time, I was so good. I maintained a calm demeanor, which for those who have seen me post here, is an indicator of tremendous (atypical?) restraint.

The kicker was when I reminded her that the Constitution has typically been amended to become more inclusive, not changed to exclude one group or another… and her response to me was to demand that I explain the “amendment where they raised the drinking age to 21″.

Which wouldn’t be so bad if she weren’t mid-way through a law degree.

Baffled, I finally asked if she was perhaps confusing Prohibition with the 26th Amendment (voting age changed to 18). Not bad for a guy with a pair of science degrees who never attended an American university.

Frankly, that was the worst part – the casualness with which she held bigoted opinions in total ignorance (despite actually being in a law program), and that she felt so comfortable expressing them in someone else’s home, without the slightest hint of irony or self-consciousness.

And, she wasted my time: if you’re going to challenge someone to a knife fight, you’d better not show up with a spoon. (for some reason, I’m suddenly thinking of Rick Perry).

I’m really done with the failure of straight folks to at least realize that good manners dictate that you not rub your privilege in other people’s noses in their own space.

Snowman
May 27th, 2012 | LINK

Not to mention, it doesn’t bode very well for her career as a lawyer if she’s that ignorant about the law. I not only know how the drinking age got raised to 21 but know it didn’t require a constitutional…anything. (The Federal governmnet tied federal highway funds to the issue of drinking ages back in the 90′s.)

Not bad for a guy with an IT degree who can’t find a “real” job, eh? The closest thing I’ve ever been to a lawyer was Air Force security forces years & years ago. I work in a kitchen these days.

You have to want to be that ignorant about something, I think. That’s the mentality of America though. I don’t know, and I don’t *want* to know.

Regan DuCasse
May 27th, 2012 | LINK

I know all too well, what can happen when any of us lets our guard down. People who smile in our faces, call us friends in public, can and do manage to betray OUR trust and the true colors of their prejudice comes out.
It only takes a little nudge, the tiniest trigger for them to take offense, usually at a perceived slight.

My mind goes back to Marj Christoffersen’s behavior. Her display of hurt and anger at the response from her considerable gay patrons to her support of Prop. 8.
She dared to say ‘but I like you people’ to our faces, but her political bent betrayed a whole other Marj. The one that accepts gay people who have helped make her business prosper (despite how unforgivably bad her restaurant’s Mexican food is), but aren’t good enough to marry or share in the same rights and privileges SHE has.

Even the well meaning, or those who think they are ‘down with’, gays and lesbians, will display the very insensitivity and rudeness they think is okay as long as they publicly say they ‘have nothing against’, gay people.

A lack of consciousness about the gravity of things that affect gay lives, is just as bad as overt anti gay sentiment. The package is neater. That’s all.
But when the package looks nice on the outside, the terrible surprise that leaps out isn’t so much.

I have been very, VERY grateful and work hard at maintaining the trust and confidence of my gay, and transgendered family.
I know what a privilege it is, and what it means to be a part of the inner circle, to be a part of their families, to hold their children.
Especially to be party to some very precious and intimate personal experiences and feelings my friends have.
I wasn’t kidding when I’ve said that I’d rather die than lose all of that. It means so much.
And it’s painful to watch how indifferently, some het people breach such a thing.

Regan DuCasse
May 27th, 2012 | LINK

Oh, I’ve got a good one for ya Andrew!

My friend M, who is gay, served as best man at a friend’s wedding. The friend, S was marrying a young woman, V that we love very much.
Their’s was a mixed wedding. S is Jewish, and this was his second marriage. V is a Latina, and Catholic. Their ceremony had BOTH elements that represented their respective cultures AND faiths.

Lo and behold, S voted in support of Prop. 8, citing that he didn’t appreciate gays engaging children in the mix, especially at gay weddings. Apparently he believed all those fear mongering ads leading up to the vote.

V was so horrified and embarrassed and my friend M was so hurt by S’s betrayal.
I mean, REALLY hurt.
S’s own marital AND religious background, once upon a time, was banned. Both legally and religiously.
M was good enough to stand up for him at his wedding, but not good enough to have a wedding of his own.
S has since been contrite, but it sure changed things profoundly between them.

I guess to some het folks, they think they can afford to treat gay people that way.

Donny D.
May 27th, 2012 | LINK

What is wrong with straight people like these that come out with anti-same sex marriage poison right at the time of their own weddings?

Andrew
May 29th, 2012 | LINK

Ironically, my sister-in-law is the product of a mixed marriage. I hadn’t even thought about that, but that does kind of magnify her insensitivity.

In defense of S, sometimes people have long-held views formed at a time when they were incomplete, especially if the ideas were “inherited” from parents or other authority figures, or if they are the result of only casual interaction.

Maybe she’ll come around. Of course, by then, the question is whether there’s a friendship left. The problem is that she probably has no clue about the sour taste she’s left. The only way she fixes that nonsense, unfortunately, is by both being cognisant of the damage done and taking proactive steps to address it… like attending a gay marriage rally without making a big deal of it and casually posting that on her facebook page. There are a million ways of saying “sorry, I screwed up, and hopefully I’m better now”.

AJD
May 29th, 2012 | LINK

Bachelorette parties at gay bars have always reminded me of Victorian-era slumming, where rich people would tour poor neighborhoods to gawk at all the less fortunate people.

DN
May 29th, 2012 | LINK

When DC had at least two strip bars in the Southwest, I went to Secret’s because Wet *always* had a bachelorette party. Reminded me of the end of the first Queer As Folk when Vince gives Nathan the speech about how Canal Street will never change – the straights are still going to come and laugh at the freaks.

I wasn’t in DC before the old Cobalt burned down, but they used to have drag queen bingo every week. Straight people would come and it was fine but I guess the drag queens were getting irritated.

One week, a guy proposed to his girlfriend and the drag queens immediately shut the event down. It restarted later a couple blocks down the street.

Andrew
May 30th, 2012 | LINK

AJD, I think I completely agree. And there’s something emasculating about it (the ladies are “safe” in a way they wouldn’t be in a straight bar… riiiight)

DN – It’s a tough call. On the one hand, integration has been a huge component of how we have won increasing acceptance. On the other, I hate to lose spaces that are “ours”, especially when there’s so much that we are still being denied. Maybe when I can propose to my guy in any bar of my choice (and have it be legally meaningful), I’ll be cool with straights coming to the gay bars to propose.

I have a female friend who used to bring guys to gay bars on a first date. It was explicitly a test — if he freaked, that was the first and last date. If he was game for it, and cool about it, boyo was gettin’ lucky :) I think I’m okay with using ease among gays as a litmus test for het women.

Last thing – I did a strip club crawl when a close het male friend had his bachelor party. One of the most hilarious evenings of my life was the baffled strippers who couldn’t get a “rise” out of me no matter what they tried. I ended up being the designated “guardian of dinner” (aka “don’t let those bitches touch my salad”), half the time in the dressing room. Before long, my buds were claiming they were gay, hoping to get the treatment I was getting. So… sometimes the shoe’s on the other foot just a little !!

Timothy Kincaid
May 30th, 2012 | LINK

Andrew,

I also know a girl who had the “you gotta be cool with the gays” test.

She and her husband (he passed the test) sometimes like to go to gay bars because it’s easier. She’s very beautiful and in straight bars “I’m married” isn’t always enough for a drunk straight ahole. And he enjoys being flirted with a little so in a gay bar he can get a little attention without her having to worry. A pleasant evening for all with no confrontations.

Andrew
June 1st, 2012 | LINK

Or as one of my straight Dave’s in college put it when we were at a gay bar “if I had known the music was this cool, I’d have been coming here for years”. He was far more at home than his eventual wife was (although she talked a good game).

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