Racism Rampant in Philly Gay Bars, Says Metro Columnist



Metro columnist Ernest Owens has penned a new piece entitled “Black Not Fetch Enough for Woody’s?,” in which he points out the racial divide that is still prevalent in Philadelphia’s gay clubs. He references experiences at several familiar spots, like Woody’s, Icandy, and Voyeur, where he has been made to feel like he doesn’t belong simply because of the color of his skin. A photo from Boxers PHL adorns the article, even though it isn’t mentioned in the piece. It shows three shirtless, white bartenders mixing up drinks behind the bar. More from the column:

But unlike the days of de jure separation and rejection, LGBT members of color continue to face a sense of de facto dismissal socially when trying to enjoy the night scene at one of Philly’s more accepting venues. …

Living in Philly for the past five years, I have had my own personal rifts with the racial exclusion of the Gayborhood as a gay man of color.

My first night at ICandy (254 S 12th St.), I remember being one of only five black men on the crowded dance floor. I was later told that this was “a mostly white/Asian Twink/techno gay bar.”

So when I heard that there was a “Beyoncé night” at Woody’s the next week, I tried again and noticed that even though there was more diversity in the room, such inclusion came with a price. I had to co-mingle within a 50/50 half-white, half-multicultural space on the dance floor. …

There is something to be said for the bouncer at the front who expects me to pay full price and let the borderline underage, blonde white guy enter for free after hours. It says a lot when ballroom drag music starts playing and I am expected to “vogue like RuPaul” just because I am one the few black gays on the dance floor. We all can’t possibly be assumed to act the same. …

XO Lounge (1437 South St.) on Saturday nights shouldn’t be the only club I feel comfortable in because it is predominantly multicultural. The Gayborhood and the City should foster more cross-cultural LGBT collaboration to help shake up the social division.

These are scary facts to face, but unfortunately all-too-true. Owens’s piece does a good job shining a light on topic that isn’t discussed enough. Read the rest of it here.