With all the controversy surrounding The Guardian’s piece yesterday on Jeremy Joseph’s “majority lesbian and gay” door policy at G-A-Y / Heaven, I’ve been receiving tons of emails from pop music fans expressing their anger at not being allowed to watch live music from their favorite performers at G-A-Y / Heaven. While I am very much interested in reading your emails and hearing your stories, I highly encourage people to send your emails to Jeremy Joseph himself as he needs to hear how YOU feel about his door policy.
One such fan, who wishes to remain anonymous, sent in her account of the horrific experience she encountered while trying to see Adam Lambert at G-A-Y / Heaven last year. What’s interesting here, is that Adam Lamberthimself is an openly gay musician with a huge straight female fanbase. What this says to me is that music these days, music doesn’t have “coloured lines” and we shouldn’t be treating pop music fans with such disdain when we promote shows that have a mainstream appeal. In the end, people just want to see their favorite performers play live. It’s the backbone of the music industry these days.
Taking preference for one group of fans about the music act you’re promoting, does absolutely nothing to further diversity or to make equality a reality. G-A-Y is a teen pop music night with a gay clientele – most Londoners would agree. If straight females aren’t preferred or non-gays turned away, what does this say about us as gays? If we expect change, we have to change our opinions about the straight community as well – it works both ways.
As pop music fans, we should have the right to go to any venue, gay or straight, to enjoy live music. Last December I went to the O2 Arena to see JLS. Amidst of sea of thousands of young girls, not once was I treated with an ounce of disrespect as a gay male there. No one questioned me about my sexuality at the door, no one gawked at me when I was admiring the JLS boys stripping off and performing “Beat Again”, and no one made me feel uncomfortable at all in the slightest – well one girl got a little emotional when I was sitting in her seat, which I was by mistake, but you can’t really call that inequality can you? In fact, what I learned that evening is that thousands upon thousands of straight girls really pose no threat at all to gay men at a live concert – or at least, that’s how I feel from my own personal experience. Having straight girls at a one-off One Direction or Adam Lambert concert really isn’t going to turn G-A-Y into S-T-R-A-I-G-H-T now isn’t it?
If you ask me, Jeremy Joseph is really missing a beat here. Why not have two shows? One for everyone and one for club members only. It’s not like the demand isn’t there. If you’re really that concerned about protecting your brand identity, then it’s time to start getting creative and entrepreneurial, without resorting to upsetting a specific group of people whose money and freedoms are just as valuable as ours.
Here is the story of one Adam Lambert fan…
I became an ardent fan of Adam Lambert during American Idol in early 2009. Adam toured the USA in 2009 as part of the Idol tour but I was unable to get to see him live as I live in Singapore.
The very first opportunity I had to see Adam Lambert perform was to be at GAY / HEAVEN on Saturday April 24th 2010. I had heard that it was very difficult to gain entry to the club unless you were a member or were with a member. Consequently, when I was in the UK in March 2010 visiting my daughter I attempted to join the club by going to the bar detailed on their website. I was laughed away from the premises. I then persuaded my daughter to try. She had the same experience and said the staff were exceptionally rude to her.
Our research showed that it was possible to gain access to the club provided you went to the G-A-Y Bar on Old Compton Street on the day, bought a drink and obtained a wristband. So my friends and I decided that we would try to do this.
However, I first had to get from Singapore to London. I booked a flight departing on Tuesday, April 20th. Unfortunately, a volcano in Iceland began to erupt and my flight was cancelled along with all others coming into London. I spent days trying to get onto a flight to the UK and in the end eventually managed to get on a flight to Rome and then traveled to the UK from there. Bear in mind I was doing all this simply so that I could get to see Adam perform at GAY / HEAVEN on the Saturday night. Well somehow I made it and, with my friends, went to G-A-Y Bar to collect my wristband. These were easily obtained on the day.
That night (the night of Adam’s concert) we went to GAY / HEAVEN at about 9pm and lined up to go in. A brutally rude woman turned us all away. We were flabbergasted. We decided to try again later. Again we were refused, very rudely! Next we decided to split up and try to persuade members to take us in with them. A few were successful with this ploy but not me. The woman and her staff clearly had it in for me. Eventually working in pairs my friends all managed to persuade security staff to get them past the Gestapo on the door. I ended up as the only one left outside. I could hear Adam performing inside and I left at 2am in tears. Adam would have been mortified had he known what was going on outside. What he stands for is “all inclusion”.
For the record, I am older than all the others who were trying to get in but I don’t think I would have been too much of an embarrassment had they let me in. I hope that Jeremy Joseph reads this to know that as a fan of Adam Lambert, I am still hurting over it. Thanks for listening.