Homophobia within the queer community

Purple Roofs is a worldwide directory of queer-friendly lodging. I use it to find my accommodations pretty much every time I travel.

Each listing contains the basic overview of price range and amenities, along with whether the place is either "gay owned," "lesbian owned," or "gay friendly. The "gay friendly" designation appears to mean "gay" in the broad sense, and every property that isn't gay or lesbian owned is listed as "gay friendly." I've not yet come across one that's bi-owned or trans-owned.

The listings also specify who is welcomed there. Most listings say this:

Clientele Welcomed: Gay Men Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Straight

Some of them list only gay men or lesbians. This seems reasonable, because there are some resorts and B&Bs that are hangouts pretty much exclusively for one group or the other, and while the ones I know of wouldn't be unwelcoming toward an outsider, most people who don't belong to that group would probably feel a bit out of place. I'm perfectly down with there being gay male hangouts, and I just view them as somewhere that I'm glad exists, but where I'd be out of place, thus appreciate the forewarning. I'd feel the same way if there were listings of places with a largely trans clientèle, though I haven't come across any of these.

There are a few places, however, which list everyone but bisexual, or everyone but trans, or everyone but straight. I'm not comfortable with this. Again, I'm fine with the idea of safe space, where a specific marginalized group with a lot of shared experience comes together to feel comfortable and feel like they fit in. When gay males or transpeople are looking for somewhere to spend a few days with a group that's homogeneous in respect to this part of their identity, that makes sense to me. (Get it? Homo?) I don't at all feel like they hate females or straight people or cisgendered people.

But what doesn't make sense is when somewhere is welcoming to a broad group of queers, except for one specific type of queers. Why would somewhere just exclude bisexual folks? Or transpeople? If you have a group of queer people, male and female, single and partnered, why on earth wouldn't bisexual or trans folks fit nicely right into this group? Oh, right, because some queer people are biphobic and transphobic. Which, sure, all of us have prejudices, but this goes beyond that. It's just alarming to me that there are so many business owners who would consciously check off a box on a form stating that an entire category of queer people are not welcome in their mixed queer setting. It's just bad business, too, because I don't stay anywhere on Purple Roofs that isn't welcoming to my bisexual or trans brothers and sisters.

And why would someone exclude straight people? I understand that some straight people might not want to be in a heavily queer setting, but why would the place turn them away outright if they otherwise have a diverse groups of folks spending time there? If a place welcomes gay men, lesbians, bisexual folks, and trans folks, they're going to have all sorts of family configurations hanging out there. Straight people aren't going to be intruding on safe space when the crowd is this diverse to begin with. Homophobic straight people might, but they haven't eliminated that possibility, since I'm sure they end up with biphobic and transphobic queer folks staying there anyway. A few of these anti-straight places even mention that they're child-friendly. That one really confused me. So, queer parents can't bring their straight children? Did they think before coming up with this policy? Even at the places that don't mention children, why would a resort want to object to, say, my family vacationing there along with a straight friend or two?


1 comment:

karen said...

I guess this doesn't surprise me too much - unfortunately. Being bisexual puts me on the outskirts of any real click (so to speak) gay or straight. Most people just assume I'm a lesbian (because I have a gf) and I let them. It's easier that way. If you say you're bi people think you are either ashamed, experimenting, or whatever else - but no one is ever cool with it.