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Thu 8 Feb 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News

The actions of the bouncer who threw two young women out of a central Christchurch bar has disgusted an LGBT youth group in the area and prompted debate over whether the incident was a human rights violation. Eighteen-year-olds Lydia Boyd and Steph Hansen were kissing on the dance floor of the Grumpy Mole Saloon on Saturday night when a bouncer aggressively told them to leave. Angela Wilson, facilitator for gay and lesbian youth support network Q-Topia, interviewed by a panel on National Radio yesterday, said the incident was “not something that happens a lot these days, but it does characterise the homophobia that we encounter a lot of the time. “This sort of stuff just undermines all the work we're doing with queer youth at the moment, which mainly focuses on self-esteem and visibility,” she continued. “It's hard enough for queer people to show their affection for each other in public, without getting booed by someone or other.” A National Radio panelist that afternoon, performer Penny Ashton, said the situation was “absolutely outrageous. Especially since the bouncer said ‘if you're going to do that, you have to get the **** out' He was obviously immediately aggressive.” Ashton was surprised at hearing of the incident, saying the area around the Grumpy Mole “is the biggest ‘pash fest' in town. Straight couples are practically having sex in these bars; people are like eating each other. And then this couple has an innocent little pash and gets kicked out? “I just think it's the biggest double standard, and that guy's a homophobic twit.” Human Rights Commissioner Warren Lindberg told the Christchurch Press the two women involved had grounds to complain if they felt aggrieved, since Section 42 of the Human Rights Act specifies that no-one could be refused access to a public place on the grounds of a discriminatory act – in this case their sexual orientation. But the Chief Executive of the Hospitality Association Bruce Robertson told Radio Live that since a bar is classed as private property, bar management has the absolute right to exclude patrons. He also notes however, “they still need to be careful… the Human Rights Act should be taken into account.” The Grumpy Mole's Duty Manager Crystal said this afternoon she could not comment on the story, except to reassure readers that the saloon “is a gay-friendly place” and that management are dealing with the situation. ‘Question Chick', a poster on's messageboards, said she'd been in a similar situation to the women in the story. “A couple of years back I got kicked out of another Chch bar for doing the same thing (actually I have been kicked out of bars for that now). ”Unfortunately bouncers are a law unto themselves during the busy times and get away with anything. Good on the girls for going public, they have more guts than I had.” Another poster, ‘Enzedder' found the situation ‘repulsive', but also noted “this would be a great opportunity to stage a ‘Kiss-In'. “This should be a wakeup call to all those in Wellington who welcomed the closure of Pound, which signaled a hiatus in the capital's scene until iMerst and Our Bar opened, and said that they could quite happily go to places like the Grumpy Mole,” ‘Enzedder' continued. 'Portmanteau' agreed, saying the story was “a wake-up call to those gay and lesbian people in general, all around the country, who flog the viewpoint that gay bars are an anachronism in our terribly-enlightened times, and that there is no point in patronising or supporting them. “Nothing could be further from the truth, but we are dangerously close to losing all or most of our own places.”     Ref: National Radio,, Radio Live, Christchurch Press (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Thursday, 8th February 2007 - 12:00pm

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