Article Title:NZer opens Belfast's first gay sauna
Category:New Zealand Daily News
Author or Credit:GayNZ.com News Staff
Published on:20th August 2003 - 12:00 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
Story ID:1989
Text:New Zealand-born Andre Graham has opened Belfast's first gay sauna, in a move welcomed by police who have since noticed a marked decline in local men cruising in parks and toilets. Graham, along with his partner Seamus also owns Belfast's only gay bar, The Kremlin, and was moved to open the sauna, named The Garage, because there are few safe places for gay men to meet in Belfast, which has a notorious reputation for violent homophobic attacks. "We get quite a lot of married men coming to it as well. Evidently they are not 'out' and they wouldn't go to somewhere like The Kremlin, which is quite public, because of the fear of being recognised, but they do feel able to use The Garage, happy their anonymity will be protected,” he says. A former executive for Columbia Tristar Entertainment in New Zealand, Graham moved to the UK 11 years ago where he met his partner Seamus. Both wanting a change of lifestyle, they moved to Belfast and opened The Kremlin, which operates a policy of positive discrimination against heterosexuals. "A lot of straight women like to come to The Kremlin because they know it's the sort of bar they won't get hassled in. But if they bring their boyfriends, then those guys don't seem to be as relaxed. Often they'll make a point of kissing their girlfriends to prove their heterosexuality. We'd interpret that as a homophobic gesture and we ask them to stop. If they don't, we ask them to leave," he says.    
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