Why I Only Go to Gay Clubs

I never go to straight nightclubs. I hate the way men react to me in a club where it is "understood" that most people there are looking to hook up or at least would be complimented by lewd groping and suggestions.

The last straight club I went to was called Liquid. My friend T and I got all dressed up; I was wearing a short skirt and a low top with a vest over it. We were both showing some skin. We both looked good. We froze outside in the line to get in, paying for our desire to look pretty. We paid in full for that desire, though, once we got inside.

Within seconds of walking in, three different men had slid their hands over my ass. Two had "bumped" into me and quietly said some kind of "Hey, baby" in my ear while their shoulders and arms rubbed against my back. T and I went off to a corner to dance, and even the bouncer there kept shining his flashlight onto us because T's skirt was riding up when she forgot to hold it.

A couple of guys came up to dance with me, which was fine at first. But of course, since I'd given them permission to dance with me, they thought it would be okay to grab me, to control my body. I was pulled against their cocks. I could feel them hard and rubbing against me. I had to constantly move their hands back to my waist, or my hips. There was no possibility of simply dancing together; it had to be a free lap dance on the floor, a tool for their arousal.

I got separated from T at one point. She went to the bathroom without telling me where she'd gone, leaving me surrounded by staring guys. I was walking quickly through the crowd trying to find her when a twenty-something man grabbed my arm as I passed and pulled me hard into him. "Want to dance?" I moved away and continued on, but for the five minutes we were separated I felt more strange hands on my body than I'd felt for the past year. It was disgusting.

When I was younger, I was flattered by this kind of attention. I didn't really think of myself as attractive, and it seemed important and wonderful when any guy would think I was. It was your typical high school self-consciousness, a girl desperate for attention and sexual expression, no matter what form they took. But now I feel so differently.

Men should not assume they have the privilege to touch me whenever they want. It should not matter what I'm wearing, or where I'm hanging out. I understand, in this context, what entitlement means. They really do seem to feel that they have the right to put their hands on me, that it shouldn't be a big deal. I become a bitch if I try to stop them.

I'm even more sensitive to this since I've become a stripper. I am trained at my job to keep men from touching me at all, if I can help it. I notice each and every touch because when I'm working, one touch will inevitably lead to an attempt at another.

I find that even in gay clubs, I feel uncomfortable sometimes. A while ago I got angry when I wore a backless shirt and a straight man ran his hands down my bare back as he walked by. I felt uncomfortable last week when a male flight attendant put his hand firmly on my shoulder every time he wanted my attention. I guess that's what I get for sitting aisle in the back.

I try and stand up for myself in these situations, but the feedback I get from that is even more negative than the touches themselves. So I avoid situations and places where I know it's likely to happen. I am trapped, as it were, in the queer clubs. Much as I love them, it doesn't seem fair that I should have to avoid straight people just so I have control over who touches my body. It's just another sign that sexism is very, very much alive.


On living, loving, learning, and fucking with the materials I've got at hand.

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