Guerrilla Gay Bar incident resolved in Houston

Posted on 16 Mar 2009 at 8:32pm

A miscommunication between management and door staff led to allegations that gays were discriminated against at a Houston bar on Friday, according to a joint statement released Monday night by the bar and the Houston GLBT Political Caucus.

The caucus, Houston’s largest gay-rights group, had accused Union Bar and Lounge of discrimination after about 100 people were denied entry and forced to wait outside in the rain during the city’s first Guerrilla Gay Bar event.

However, the manager of Union Bar and Lounge told Dallas Voice earlier today that Guerrilla Gay Bar participants were turned away because the establishment was at capacity and because the event had already exceeded its reservation for 50 people.

“Due to a miscommunication between management of Union Bar and Lounge and the door staff, we acknowledge that actions by the door staff caused an unintended perception of discriminatory actions towards the gay and lesbian community,” Union Bar and Lounge said in the joint statement, which was posted on the Facebook page of a group established to protest the alleged discrimination.

“We wholeheartedly did not want or intend for this to happen. We also acknowledge that this unintended action caused hurt and bad feeling within the gay and lesbian community towards Union Bar and it staff. We also extend this apology to all of our regular gay and lesbian customers who may have been hurt by this misunderstanding.”

The statement doesn’t specify the nature of the miscommunication. The caucus had alleged that door staff admitted people who appeared to be straight during the incident and told Guerrilla Gay Bar participants that the bar was trying to maintain a “ratio.”

“We deeply appreciate Union Bar and Lounge coming to us to clear up this incident,” Houston GLBT Political Caucus President Kris Banks said in the statement. “We accept Union Bar’s explanation that miscommunication was at the heart of the problem.

“We understand that there was no discriminatory intent, but circumstances led to a strong perception that we were excluded because of our sexual orientation.”

Banks noted that the LGBT community is sensitive to discrimination because it hasn’t achieved equality. He also called on people to support House Bill 2215, which would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression in public accommodations, including bars. Houston reportedly is the only major city in Texas that doesn’t have a local ordinance prohibiting anti-gay discrimination.

“We are happy for resolution and call for the GLBT community to move on and continue working for equality,” Banks said in the statement. “We urge the community to cease negative bombardment, especially highly inappropriate harassment and threats.”

The Union bar manager, who asked not to be identified, told Dallas Voice he had received death threats as a result of the incident.

The statement said Union Bar will continue to work with the LGBT community and intends to hold a fundraiser in the near future.

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