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Strange Fruit: Some Places Are Not For Straight People

Jon Dean Photo

If you're straight, you're probably not used to being denied access to things based solely on your sexual orientation — unlike LGBTQ people, who have been historically excluded from housing, jobs, and clubs because of their identities.But a recent opinion piece in The Advocate says there are spaces that straight people just don't belong. Specifically, in the back rooms or "play spaces" of gay bars — which are often places where typical social rules about sex are relaxed, if not absent.Columnist Alex Chevez describes the need for such segregated spaces, calling them, "[C]ultural zones for certain demographics that are intentionally exclusionary — not out of hate, fear, or prejudice, but because everyone deserves space, and you must respect it."In his Advocate piece, he tells the story of one such space in a bar he frequents. A few months ago, a straight woman wandered into the space. Someone touched her, she complained, and now that dark back room has been converted into a well-lit smoking lounge.Chevez joins us this week to talk about the importance of spaces that cater just to men who are seeking sexual contact with other men, and why women and straight men should honor that distinction."This isn’t because misogyny is not a huge problem in the gay community — it is," he says. But he says straight people can find bars to welcome them "literally anywhere else in the world. Wherever you go, you can be assured that there will be straight people there."

Laura is LPM's Director of Podcasts & Special Projects. Email Laura at lellis@lpm.org.

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