Straights and lesbians banned from Collingwood’s Peel Hotel

Well, you’re not reading it here first — read The Age here, that magnificent font of investigative journalism the Sunday Herald Sun here — but at least you can actually read VCAT’s full judgment here: Peel Hotel Pty Ltd [2007] VCAT 916, and this little rag beats The Peel’s “What’s New” page to what’s new at The Peel. Deputy President McKenzie’s reasons run to only 1,600 words, kind of odd for a landmark ruling which has prompted interest from the BBC and in South Africa. It is apparent that a specific problem led to the application resulting in the right to exclude everyone except those men who identify themselves as gay to the bouncer in those cases “where to allow entry or unrestricted entry would, in the [bouncer’s] opinion adversely affect the safety or comfort of the venue for its homosexual male patrons, or the nature of that venue as a venue primarily for homosexual male patrons.” That problem is described in this way:

14. … Sometimes, groups seek to use the venue for parties and it is clear from Mr McFeely’s affidavit that these groups wish to look at the behaviour of the gay male patrons as a kind of spectacle or entertainment for the group’s enjoyment. Entry of these groups would undermine or destroy the unique atmosphere which aims to foster and not frighten or discomfit its gay male patrons.

20 The exemption … seeks to prevent discrimination against gay men, for whom this venue is designed. The anti-social behaviour which would be at the heart of a decision to refuse or restrict entry to groups of heterosexuals or lesbians is sexuality-based behaviour and includes sexuality-based insults and derision. It would be most unfortunate if at this venue, gay men were subjected to the very behaviour that the venue seeks to protect them from. I would add that I take a similar view of the restriction or refusal of entry to those groups who wish to use the venue for “hens’ nights” and the like, where they wish to use the gay male patrons as a form of entertainment. To regard the gay male patrons of the venue as providing an entertainment or spectacle to be stared at as one would at an animal at a zoo, devalues and dehumanises them. It is, although subtle, another form of sexuality-based humiliation or discrimination.’

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One Reply to “Straights and lesbians banned from Collingwood’s Peel Hotel”

  1. Hello. I have recently just returned home from a night out that ended at The Peel in Collingwood. After suggesting to a girlfriend that we head there to enjoy some great music and friendly company I was grotesquely disappointed and outraged when we were kicked back by the bouncers and told that we weren't allowed to enter the establishment because we weren't Gay Men. I have been here several times before with some gay friends of mine and never had a problem getting in. Clearly, because I didn't have a gay man escorting me into the establishment during this scenario I was discriminated against and not allowed in. The numerous times that I have been into The Peel I have been confronted with many heterosexual males and many heterosexual females. I think The Peel in Collingwood is hypocritical, a discriminatory institution, blatantly sexist and frighteningly reminiscent of a water fountain that existed during the days of Rosa Parks. Only this time it is segregation between homosexuals and heterosexuals.

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