It’s Friday night and 21-year-old Danielle Young has just left the nightclub Never Mind – a gay club in central Copenhagen known for its partying. She's straight, but says places like Never Mind appeal to her.
“Here I can be left alone without anyone feeling me up or trying to make a pass. It’s also easier to let your hair down, because there’s always someone who’s crazier than me,” she said.
Inside, the entire club is moving. Some nights the party continues until 10am, and attracts so many heterosexuals that the homosexuals find themselves outnumbered, which happened at one point on this particular night. Last weekend, the frustration culminated when a straight couple was thrown out of the bar for kissing and told that such behaviour was “frowned upon”.
“I know that we need equal rights, but this is a gay bar,” said the club’s owner, Christian Carlsen. “We obviously have a lot of guests who aren’t homosexuals and that’s fine as long as they understand that this is a gay bar. The gays can’t go to so many other places to meet each other. See, for instance, what would happen if two men walk into Pub & Sport and start making out. That’s why I really can’t see the big problem in this.”
The case of the straight kissing couple has caused a hefty debate about whether it is a double standard for gays to demand equal rights while gay bars retain the right to remain primarily for homosexuals. When Carlsen took over the Never Mind three years ago, only three out of ten guests was a homosexual. The same situation occurred at another well-attended gay bar in Copenhagen, Cosy Bar, until the owner changed the music style and started sorting people at the door. Today, Cosy Bar’s owner says half the guests are homosexuals, though he would like that number to be 65 percent.
“People think Denmark is so open towards homosexuals, but try walking down the street holding your boyfriend’s hand. People spit and yell at you. It’s happened to me,” said Jimmy, a guest at Never Mind.
On the website homotropolis.com, a user who identified himself as ‘Christian’ said: “I think it’s fantastic that you can bring your friends – which for many gay men means girlfriends – to the club, but f**k it’s annoying that every gay has to bring at least four girlfriends, who are all dedicated to showing how unprejudiced they are. Then it gets really boring when the girls’ dates show up because then it’s a complete straight-house, and all of the sudden we’re annoyed at our own place.”
“Let’s take back the gay bars and impose a quota of one fag-hag per gay,” he added, referring to the term often applied to straight women who are friends with homosexual men.