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This year’s Dyke Night took place in Dublin club, Sin, as part of the Pride Festival 2008. This year’s festival is the 25th anniversary of Pride in Dublin. That’s 25 years of struggle for equality and fairness under Irish law.
It was, therefore, a wonder that five lesbians and three gay men were refused from Dyke Night on the 20th June 2008. We eight approached the venue after at least 8 to 10 years on the scene together. We had decided to spend our evening there following an in-depth conversation the night previous between one of our number and the organiser of Dyke Night. The organiser re-asssured our friend’s concerns over whether the gay men in our group would be admitted to the night in question. She was assured they would be admitted, provided that the majority in the group on the night were women, and that they accept the conditions of the night, including a women-only space on the upper floor. After years of uncertainty, we were finally satisfied with this clarifcation, and we were more than happy to meet these requirements.
On the night in question, however, events transpired very differently. Our group was initially refused entry due, according to the bouncer at the door, to the fact that admission was only based upon tickets only. This we accepted without problem. While milling around wondering where next to go, however, we noticed that admission was being granted to those who were clearly paying at the desk inside the door. Noticing this, one of our party questioned what was happening in terms of our admission to the venue. The bouncer’s curt response was, “Not tonight”. When an explanation fot this was sought from the bouncer, he turned his back on our group and refused to answer.
Fortunately, we were able to attract the attention of a friend of ours who was volunteering on the night and we explained the situation. She referred us to the organiser of the event, who eventually allowed us in, after which we paid our ten euro admission fee.
Two of the three men in our group, having not encountered such treatment before, left our company for the Q+A event, not wanting to give their money to the Dyke Night event.
Can anyone please explain this to me? I have heard the odd story about the Sin venue, all complaining about the attitude of the bouncers. Was our experience simply due to the whim of a door-man with a little Hitler complex? Or was the door-staff fully informed of the alleged policy of allowing men to enter in the company of a majority of women? Or was our companion mis-informed on the night prior to Dyke Night?
If either instance explains our treatment, it is appalling: the venue was hired for a once-yearly private function, presumably at great cost to the organisers. The patrons should not, therefore, I believe be subjected to such levels of rudeness. On the other hand, if the failure was on the part of the organisers, despite clear verbal explanation, this, too is unacceptable. I understand the need for ‘safe spaces’ for women to socialise. I believe, however, that the purported compromise that we were led to expect was reasonable, and that our group had a legitimate expectation to be allowed admission to the venue, without difficulty.