01 Feb 2018

Racist door policy in Vienna's oldest gay club

Four gay men from Bangladesh were prevented from entering the hip-hop club Why Not, often called Vienna's oldest gay club, because of their foreign appearance.

Christine Tragler
Christine Tragler Der Standard, Austria
Source: Der Standard
Racist door policy in Vienna's oldest gay club - NewsMavens
Bangladeshi men. Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

The incident is noteworthy because it highlights a series of difficult questions: How foreigner-friendly is the gay scene in Vienna? Is their fear of Muslims a legitimate reaction against homophobic attacks?

And how homophobic are Muslims living in Austria? And where should LGBT Muslims turn if they need shelter from the homophobic attitude of their fellow countrymen?

Details from the story:

  • The 4 Bangladeshis, who were between the age of 21 and 29, had to flee their country because of their sexual orientation.
  • They were turned away twice by bouncers at the door of the Why Not club.
  • Why Not manager Ricky Zanella, says it is "very, very uncomfortable" that the four refugees from Bangladesh were turned away, but adds: "I see no alternative to a strict admission policy at Why Not."
  • Zanella says violent incidents with "groups of young foreigners [happen] at least once a week".
  • The Austrian Office for Equal Treatment emphasizes that the general exclusion of people on the grounds of their foreign or asylum seeker status constitutes ethnic discrimination. Accordingly, a restrictive admission policy has to be based on "neutral criteria".
  • Christian Högl, chairman of Vienna's Homosexual Initiative (Hosi), states that xenophobia and "fear of Muslims" is also present in the Austrian gay community.
  • This isn't the first time the queer community has issues with certain door policies. Marty Huber, of the association Queer Base, which looks after refugees, says: "There are definitely places where you cannot get in if your ID card is an asylum-seeker card."
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