On Tuesday, November 22nd, popular Gayborhood bar Woody’s will be hosting a public Q&A to address current concerns pertaining to its dress code policies and overall diversity initiatives. Unlike previous community-led town halls throughout the city that were centered around dialogue, this event is the first of its kind that will be specifically geared toward directly changing internal policies at a Gayborhood establishment.
“I feel like clear-cut explanations on our policies is an important step to dispel any misconceptions,” said Woody’s co-owner Billy Weiss. “Patrons will have a chance to express their feelings and to get answers about the issues that are important to them.”
Woody’s says the meeting will include all staff, management and ownership to help foster better understanding and insight from the community at large. Earlier this year, G Philly reported that Gayborhood entertainer Kemar Jewel complained that he was rejected entry from the bar due to what he believed was “covert racism” stemming from the management’s dress code.
As a result, Woody’s and several other Gayborhood bars were hit with public boycotts and protests from LGBTQ activists of color. This would later result in all Gayborhood bar owners being subpoenaed by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations for an October 25th public hearing on Gayborhood racism. Currently, there has been no official statement from PCHR about any potential recommendations based on the testimonies given. Traditionally, PCHR has up to 90 days to produce and release recommendations from a hearing to the general public.
The Woody’s event is intended to be solutions-orientated and accountability-based. Community members will have the opportunity to confront the issues they have experienced with management on site and offer suggestions and amendments to policies that may be perceived as discriminatory.
“This is about education on the issue of diversity, and how to embrace it,” Weiss added. “I truly believe diversity is what makes Philly a great place to live.”
This event is open to the general public and kicks off at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Woody’s (202 S. 13th St.). It will be moderated by G Philly editor Ernest Owens.