3/16/09

Union Bar Reaches Agreement With GLBT Community

The Houston GLBT Political Caucus and Union Bar released the following joint statement Monday evening. Because of the resolution of this matter, the Facebook group "United Against Union Bar" will be shut down on Wednesday.

Representatives from Union Bar and Lounge met with leaders from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community Monday and reached a resolution that actions that led to the perception of discrimination were unintended.

“Due to a miscommunication between management of Union Bar and Lounge and the door staff, we acknowledge that actions by the door staff caused an unintended perception of discriminatory actions towards the gay and lesbian community. We wholeheartedly did not want or intend for this to happen. We also acknowledge that this unintended action caused hurt and bad feeling within the gay and lesbian community towards Union Bar and it staff. We also extend this apology to all of our regular gay and lesbian customers who may have been hurt by this misunderstanding.”

“We deeply appreciate Union Bar and Lounge coming to us to clear up this incident,” said Kris Banks, president of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus. “We accept Union Bar’s explanation that miscommunication was at the heart of the problem. We understand that there was no discriminatory intent, but circumstances led to a strong perception that we were excluded because of our sexual orientation.’

“Our community is sensitive to discrimination, an understandable sentiment given the unfinished nature of our civil rights movement. Discrimination still exists, and should be addressed with legislation like House Bill 2215. We were happy to hear that the owners of Union Bar and Lounge are supporters of this legislation 100%."

“We are happy for resolution and call for the GLBT community to move on and continue working for equality. We urge the community to cease negative bombardment, especially highly inappropriate harassment and threats.”

The Union Bar and Lounge will continue to work with the GLBT community and intends to hold a fundraiser in the near future

Reaceived March 16, 2009 via facebook from "United Against Union Bar"

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Houston Texas Bar Refuses Gay People


MIDTOWN BAR REFUSES GAY PEOPLE
Gays not feeling the love after being made to wait in rain as others admitted.

Nearly 100 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people were refused entry to Union Bar and Lounge in Midtown Friday while others were welcomed.
Patrons started lining up at about 9:40 p.m. and were told to wait in line and not allowed inside, even as straight-appearing people were waved through. As the line grew and patrons waited in the rain, employees at the door told those who were that they were maintaining a “ratio.” Later, the bar employees simply indicated they had the right to refuse anyone.
“I was shocked to be a victim of that kind of discrimination in a city like Houston in 2009,” said Neal Falgoust, a Houston law student. “I have never experienced anything like that before in my life.”
A patron who arrived at the bar early reported that the bar was nearly empty at about 9:40 p.m., when gay people started arriving and were stopped at the door.
Gay people continued to line up to the street and around the corner as people who appeared to be straight went to the front and were ushered in. Kris Banks, who stood at the front of the line, said the bar employees were asking the women who were entering with men if the men were accompanying them. If the men were with the women, they were allowed in.
“I arrived and heard that they were not allowing gay men in, so when I got to the door with three women I asked if we would be allowed in, and the door employee said ‘I was told to keep you out,’ ” said Lindsey Dionne. “This was supposed to be a social event, but now it’s political.”
That this kind of discrimination is still legal in Houston makes it more outrageous. A coalition of GLBT rights groups, including the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, the Houston Stonewall Young Democrats, the Harris County Impact Houston and Amicus at South Texas College of Law said Saturday that the incident is proof of the necessity of legal protections for sexual orientation and gender identity for public accommodations.
“Houston is the only major city in Texas without a law that prevents this kind of discrimination,” said Jerry Simoneaux, GLBT civil rights lawyer. “This incident is exactly the reason Houston should implement such an ordinance.”
The event was organized as Houston’s first “Guerilla Gay Bar,” a tongue-in-cheek event that has been popular in other cities in which GLBT individuals come to traditionally straight bars to interact with other communities. Though Guerilla Gay Bars are usually a surprise event in other cities, Houston organizers informed the bar owner in advance out of courtesy and were told they would be welcomed.

Contacts: Kris Banks,
President of Houston GLBT Political Caucus,
281-797-1507

Jerry Simoneaux,
GLBT civil rights attorney,
713-577-9587

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