Friday, April 17, 2009

Elbo Room Bar In Peoria, IL NOT Gay Friendly

Peoria Gays React To Unwelcome Sign. I should hope so. What is wrong with people? Is our money not good enough? Isn't it 2009? Isn't the economy in the toilet and shouldn't you be happy to have any paying customers? So what if a girl put her hand on another girl's knee? I've seen much more provocative groping in straight bars for cryin' out loud!

The city says the sign violates state law because "You can't give notice to the effect that certain protected groups are not welcome". Well, kudos to the city to make the right call on the sign.

I'm not close to Peoria, but if I were, I'd be participating in the protests. I think the bar owner needs to do a major mea culpa and do some positive things for the gay community in Peoria. He needs to embrace the gay following of his establishment or ultimately face reduced patronage and possible closure.
©2008-2009 Firecrotch Rocket


john said...

the protest should be that everyone doesnt go. That would hurt em where it counts.

Lola said...

I personally would boycott the place, but the article didn't seem too clear on what the goal of the protests were.

Shauni said...

I think these people are idiots... I could go on ad nauseum but I think that about sums it up.

And for the record, I don't care what the protest requests I would not enter such a place.. I refuse to accept just blatant intolerance..

Lin said...

I've got a couple thoughts and please bear with me. As far as I understood, the bar was once frequented by gays only and it has changed hands and venue--they are a karoke bar as well as a drinking establishment. How would an owner (and I completely agree that this was highly offensive) relate to the general public that the venue has changed and is not viewed only as a "gay" bar as it once was known, but now welcomes everyone to come there? I don't think it was the owner's intention, but just suppose. I understand there was some comments about and to couples and their interactions in the bar that were totally inappropriate, and I too, would be for the banning of this business--don't get me wrong.

I'm just asking how would a business owner encourage everyone to come to their business once it had (in the past) be known as a "gay" bar? What would you deem appropriate? Can you say everyone (gays and straight) are ALL welcome here now? Or is that just as offensive? I don't know.

I think in some places, people still have a stigma with this issue and places of business that gays are known to frequent are taboo to the rest of their "society". I hope this changes and soon. But you know, some minds are very very small.

I hope you aren't offended by my question, it was not my intention.

Lola said...

I'm not offended, it's just that to me reading that sign, there are no shades of gray. The sign at the Elbo Room Bar says "WE ARE NOT (DOUBLE UNDERSCORE NOT) A GAY BAR !! WE ARE A KARAOKE BAR !!! 7 Nights A Week. Diesel is down the street". Clearly the double underscore of "NOT" means that they are not a gay bar. The sign also refers gay people to Diesel down the street, which apparently IS a gay bar. I would clearly take that to mean that gay patrons are not welcome at Elbo Room Bar. All caps, double underscore not, double and triple exclamation points. Clearly the person who wrote the sign, or the person who instructed someone to write the sign does not like that the Elbo Room Bar has a gay clientele.

I don't think anyone would think a hand on the knee is inappropriate in public and I think that is where the problem lies. The bar employee who complained about this, possibly has different standards of what is appropriate based on sexuality. I don't think the bar employee would bother a straight couple for a hand on a knee.

That the bar previously was a gay bar is not relevant. Apparently gay patrons have been enjoying the atmosphere at the new karaoke bar. They should be allowed (if they still want to) to patronize the karaoke bar and not be told to go to the gay bar down the street or be made uncomfortable, or told that they cannot show public appropriate PDA.

There is a bar in Chicago, Spin that both gay and straight patrons frequent. Depending on the night, it could be more gay patrons or more straight patrons. (At least that was the way it was when I lived in Chicago, could be different now.) In any case all were welcome any night of the week.

A lot of people I talk to have the impression that ALL the bars on Clark Street are gay bars. That just isn't true. Spin is an example of a bar where both gay and straight patrons feel comfortable. There are also bars that have mostly straight clientele on Clark Street.

I think the statement that gay bars make it taboo for some straight patrons isn't true. Straight patrons flock to places like the Kit Kat Club (and another clubs whose name escapes me at the moment) to see female impersonators. Straight patrons actually have bachelor and bachelorette parties there and you need to book reservations in advance even to get in.

How about a sign that says "Everyone! Welcome!" (Two exclamation points, and it doesn't offend anyone. Lol!)

Lin said...

Yeah, I like your sign at the end--Everyone Welcome.

I think the days of "gay" bars are coming to an end, but you know, there are still some places (too many, I think) that think everyone should be separated--places like Peoria, IL. Hell, they're still hating on blacks in places in the south! Ugh.

I completely agree with your take on this sign--it is VERY wrong and I don't think it can be mistaken for anything but the hatred it stands for. I didn't know about the Diesel reference--which makes it worse. And the hand-on-the-knee thing is ridiculous--I've been with straight couples that made me feel totally uncomfortable with their public groping while I was sitting there. The whole thing is just plain awful and I would hope everyone would just boycott the place and let it die a slow painful death.

Isn't it funny how straight people can go to "gay" bars, but gays aren't accepted at straight bars (in some instances--not the majority)? We've got a long way to go in this country on so many levels.

Thanks for the open discussion and your willingness to let me ask questions without thinking I'm hating on you. :)

Erik said...

What if everyone showed up en masse AND did not buy anything? It will be a gay bar soon enough.

Kelly said...

I have to say that it is kind of funny to me. The sign says we are not a gay bar, we're a karaoke, only karaoke's are allowed...?


maybe I just didn't get enough sleep, but it gave me a chuckle!

Anywho. It's not entirely surprising considering it's Peoria. I have family that are from there and some who still live there....while some are as open as I am, others are stuck in that small-minded zone.

It's so silly. There might be a few gay people who announce it to the world and make a display to make others uncomfortable. I know some who do this because they like to see the reaction.

But the majority of people, would never know if someone else was gay or straight.

You mentioned a girl putting her hand on another girl's knee.

My straight friends do this all the time. We hang on each other and hug, especially if we've been drinking. It's the "I love you, man!" effect of alcohol.

People are just so stupid sometimes.


Lola said...

@ Lin - Did you happen to see ABC's episode of "What Would You Do?" that showed a gay male couple in a sports bar? Here is a link for the youtube video:

Lin said...

Thanks for the link--I found it interesting how many people stood up for the guys. I find it incredibly brave to stand up for another person, especially in that situation, and in these very dangerous times. I'm not sure I would have been the first person to stand up, but I would have supported them. That woman was GREAT!

Love Kelly's comments--and I have to say that my college roommate and her boyfriend were so offensive to be with I finally quit going out with the two of them. They would grope under the table and he would always have his hand in between her legs when we went out. THAT is a problem for me as I was really feeling uncomfortable. That said, I had/have gay friends who never make me feel that way. Never.

And yes, straight girlfriends do that "smoochy" stuff too! So how would you know???! Kelly was right on about that one.

I am Harriet said...

They'd be surprised how many of their 'patrons', distributors, staff etc. have dabbled......

atorturedsoul said...

If the guy just bought the bar, he needs to make money. (Most businesses fail within the first year.) He really should be happy to have an established customer base. He can't be selective. If he is biased against certain groups then he really should rethink being a business owner. Most businesses that discriminate don't stay in business long.