A Straight Man’s Reasons for Loving Gay Bars

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About Mark Greene

GMP Senior Editor Mark Greene is an Emmy Award winning animator and designer. He blogs and speaks on Men's Issues at the intersection of society, politics, relationships and parenting for the Good Men Project, HLN, Talking Cranes, The Shriver Report, The Huffington Post, Mamamia and Role Reboot. You can follow him on Twitter @megaSAHD and Google.
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  1. I just had an uncomfortable argument with another white friend last week, because I hold the unpopular view that n-only spaces, where n could equal anything, are not good or necessary for moving beyond our prejudices or advancing society. I’ve been a regular attendee of groups for GLBT uni students, for trans men, and of synagogue services. They’re not exclusive spaces, but if you’re not one of them, there are still unstated rules—Noachide laws, a joke you’ll only get if you’re familiar with kashruth—for the ostlanders. Don’t use us to feel better about yourself. Don’t stereotype us. Observe respectfully if you’re not committed to full participation, whether it’s gay country western line dancing or dancing with the Torah. And for the mishpocheh: how else are the goyim going to learn about us and love us, if we don’t welcome the stranger into our bars? Teach them gently what we expect from them in our spaces, but don’t exclude. Remember that we were once excluded. There are those who stand up for the right to be exclusive based on identity. I judge others by their behavior. (And yes, a little bit by the way they dress. ;) )

  2. I’m sorry but as a gay man let me point out that a gay bar is one of the very few places that I should be able to feel safe in just being myself. For all the straight folks there are usually hundreds of bars available while my choices are much more limited. I don’t care how wonderfully tolerant and liberal you are: GET OUT OF MY SAFE PLACES! I can not count the number of times I have been approached by straights in MY BAR who then get pissed off because I am not interested in them, and then there is the risk that they will be offended sometimes to the point of violence should I express an interest follishly thinking that they are gay!

  3. For gods’ sake watch your pronouns. Even if David is happy to be identified as a man or woman allmost all trans women prefer to be called by female pronouns. GMP is supposed to be keyed in to this kind of stuff.

  4. Part of me wants to say, “Welcome all!” However, I was once at a gay bar and a drag show happened to be going on. A friendly couple (two men standing side-by-side looking ever so happy and relaxed) began speaking with me and talking about the mood of the bar. The good flow of conversation led to me asking them if they were a couple and how long they had been together, if they were indeed a couple (especially since it looked that they were holding hands). All of a sudden, I was punched in the chest. The guys were straight and not going to let anyone think otherwise. As I tried to regain composure, one of the straight guys brought me a beer in his lousy attempt to apologize. Too late. Yes, not every straight man will behave this way. BUT IF YOU ARE STRAIGHT and reading this … don’t go to a gay bar unless you don’t mind gay men speaking to you and assuming that you are gay. If someone hits on you, you can always say I’m taken and walk away. And if you have the inert desire to punch someone, just walk away and out of the bar. IF you have any kind of issue with gay folks, just STAY AWAY. No need for violence. Ever.

  5. Hi, I´m straight and very interested in womans when sex is the name of the game ;-) I do agree with the five points and after reading your comments I have to say that every single time I have been in a gay bar at some point of the night I have been approached by someone with the clear intention of having more than a chat with me. It´s normal as most of the guys and girls there are gays or lebians even some of my friends are so they assume I´m one. I have no problems in saying I´m not gay even though my behavior is clearly straight (looking at the girls, smiling them..) , the problem is when people do not understand that NO is NO.. then is when (only sometimes) I find myself having to ask to that person to leave me alone and the other person starts shouting that I should leave that safe space for gays only. Usually I smile and ask a beer for that poor soul that wants to live in a guetto instead of breaking the walls so everybody can enjoy in a bar without having people trying to make others feel bad about their sexuality. Most of the times the beer is accepted :-)


    P.D. English is not my first lenguage but I think (and hope) I made my point clear, if there is any doubt about something just let me know and I will try to reply.

    • When I was a young blade in the bars (many years ago) it was not unheard of for my friends or me to deal with persistent (usually drunk) men that refused to take no for an answer, sometimes even physically pushing them away. I’m told women have to deal with this kind of crap all of the time. So it’s not about you being a straight guy in gay bar, its about being a hot guy in a gay bar and remembering that some men are assholes.

  6. When I invited a much younger straight coworker to join some friends and me for a pub crawl on Seattle’s Capital Hill, I promised to protect him from unwanted advances in a certain bear bar where I was certain he’d be swarmed. His response was: “The only thing worse than getting hit on in a gay bar is not getting hit in in a gay bar.” He is, of course, from the generation that created Gay Chicken and sees their comfort with gay men as a sign of their certain masculinity. I really love his (and my daughter’s) generation of forward thinking young people.

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