HOMOPHOBE CLAIM SPARKS STAG ROW

An in­ci­dent on V-Day got po­si­tioned on so­cial me­dia as bias against same-sex love. The hospi­tal­ity in­dus­try hits back, say­ing this is nec­es­sary for busi­ness

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Nikita Sax­ena nikita.sax­ena@hin­dus­tan­times.com In­puts by Ruchika Garg

While Valen­tine’s Day was all about a good time for cou­ples, it wasn’t as pleas­ant for stags. The males of the species, un­less they’re ac­com­pa­nied by at least one woman, aren’t looked upon favourably by night­club man­agers in Delhi — sev­eral es­tab­lish­ments in other cities also fol­low this pol­icy.

This Valen­tine’s Day, at a pop­u­lar nightspot in cen­tral Delhi’s Con­naught Place, two sin­gle men claimed that they were a gay cou­ple. This claim was dis­missed as a ruse and the two had to leave. Thus be­gan a so­cial me­dia bat­tle, trig­ger­ing a de­bate on the big­ger pic­ture: why do clubs in In­dia bar stag en­try?

An an­gry Face­book post by Apra­tim De, one of the two men in­volved, was fol­lowed by a blog — he po­si­tioned the episode as ho­mo­pho­bia, a claim re­futed by the es­tab­lish­ment’s owner, Priyank Sukhija. The lat­ter shot back on so­cial me­dia that the men weren’t gay, as the blog it­self ad­mit­ted, and why couldn’t they just re­spect es­tab­lish­ment rules?

Speak­ing to HT City, Sukhija says, “Our theme was Valen­tine’s [Day], we had cou­ple songs play­ing, and I strictly told my staff that no stags were to be let in. When these guys told the guards that they were gay, the guards thought they were mak­ing an ex­cuse just to gain en­try and hence they stopped them. Why did it have to be­come an ego is­sue and be blown out of pro­por­tion? They weren’t the only stags we stopped.”

Res­tau­ra­teurs say that they have be­come more cau­tious after past cases of mis­be­haviour by sin­gle men or groups of men. “It does hap­pen of­ten that a bunch of stags mis­be­have with sin­gle girls,” says in­dus­try mem­ber Akshay Anand. “Even if they don’t, girls get un­com­fort­able if there are too many stags. Ten stags will make two girls un­com­fort­able, whereas two sin­gle girls won’t make ten guys un­com­fort­able.”

Male club-go­ers con­test the rule. Viren Ag­gar­wal, an en­trepreneur, asks, “How can you guar­an­tee that a com­mit­ted man won’t make sin­gle girls un­com­fort­able?”

Amit Ya­dav, a cor­po­rate em­ployee, ques­tions, “What about those of us who be­long to de­cent fam­i­lies and know how to re­spect girls? Should we not get to party?”

The women would still pre­fer it if stags were kept out. Mahima Sharma (name changed) re­calls a re­cent in­ci­dent in which a group of stags passed leer­ing com­ments on the clothes of her girl group as they went out club­bing.

Rep­re­sent­ing the LGBTQ com­mu­nity, An­shul Sharma says, “We were once stopped out­side a club in Con­naught Place for be­ing stags. When we told them we were gay cou­ples, they let us in with­out any is­sues.”

Why did it have to be­come an ego is­sue and be blown out of pro­por­tion? They weren’t the only stags we stopped PRIYANK SUKHIJA, RESTAU­RA­TEUR Ten stags will make two girls un­com­fort­able, whereas two sin­gle girls won’t make ten guys un­com­fort­able AKSHAY ANAND, RESTAU­RA­TEUR

PHOTO:SHIVAM SAX­ENA/HT

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