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Editor’s Note: Earlier this week, NewNowNext posted a story that got many members of our community up in arms. The story asked drag queens whether or not straight women should be “allowed” in queer bars. Here is what one woman had to say. 

This “no straight women allowed in gay bars” argument started as not allowing women (queer or not) into gay bars, and once cis, gay men were called out for their misogyny and erasure of queer women, the focus changed to heterosexual women and bachelorette parties, etc. But truly, this conversation still erases so many within our community.

I’m a trans girl, and I’m a heterosexual. And what’s most silly is that I either don’t talk about my sexuality, or I feel the need to make a joke about having to ‘come to terms with my heterosexuality.’ I am literally scared to tell those in our community because of conversations and articles about how straight women shouldn’t be allowed into queer spaces, as if I’m no longer queer because I now identify as straight. 

What’s silly is, the more femme-presenting, binary-presenting I become, the less I go to “gay bars” because of how obvious it is to me that I am not wanted. That I’ve gone to these bars and been pointed at, laughed at, unable to order a drink, shoved into walls by the very cis gay men telling women to be respectful, all while asking myself, “is this transphobia, or just misogyny?”— when the real tea is that it’s both, otherwise known as transmisogyny.

But, to be quite honest, I remember participating in *SO* many conversations about how straight people/couples shouldn’t exist and take up space in LGBTQ bars, because I didn’t think that they belonged, but the fact of the matter is, we don’t always know the identities and sexualities of those walking into the bars we feel most at home in, and no one owes us that information. 

The fact of the matter is, straight couples you see could be trans, bisexual, or intersex and simply searching for a safe space like the rest of those in our community. The straight people you see could be questioning in a place they feel comfortable. The bachelorette parties could easily include queer women or trans women or trans femmes, but either way, it simply isn’t your business. 

The issue should not lie in whether or not you are queer enough, but rather if you’re willing to respect the space and the people in it, no matter how you identify. As queer folks, it’s mandatory that we understand that gender and sexual oppression affect all of us—yes, even those who are cisgender and heterosexual. And honestly, I could be wrong, but I don’t think the spaces that have been created for us as queer people were created with anything but inclusivity in mind.

Photo by Mike Bomburger