Straight or gay, the girls have it good again, and the boys, well, bad luck! Even as it’s been over a year since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in India, nightclubs in the city are refusing to allow entry to gay couples on New Year’s Eve, citing the ‘no stags’ rule. They, however, have no problems entertaining lesbian couples, since they come across as ‘harmless girl friends’.
“Club rules apply to everybody. We don’t categorise people on the basis of their sexual preferences. If two men want to enter, they won’t be allowed because they are stags and can create problems. There is no way to distinguish a gay couple from straight men. We don’t mind giving couple entry to two girls,” says Mohit Jain of nightclubs Freeze and Jynxxx. Deepali Narula of F Bar and Lounge concurs, “Our policy clearly states that only male-female couples can enter. Stags are not allowed, with the exception of men who may accompany a group of couples.” A call to the newly opened Quantum in Noida also gets us the same answer. “Couple entry only means male and female.”
Though activists agree that it’s high time two gay men were recognised as a couple, they don’t really blame the nightclubs. “It is a problem that they don’t allow gay couples, but then, club owners really can’t make out if gay couples are authentic, or if they’re faking it for entry. Being a woman, I know safety of female guests is important for the clubs,” says Anjali Gopalan, a gay rights activist.
In the face of unfairness, the homosexual community plans on doing their own thing. “Even if I’m allowed to go with my partner, we will both have to pay stag charges, which are much more than that for a couple. The only right we have so far is that we can say same-sex love isn’t illegal. After that, nothing,” says Rahul Mishra (name changed).
“Frankly, we really don’t care. Who wants to go to straight parties when we have our own? The scene in Delhi has changed now as many clubs are calling us to have special gay parties,” says gay rights activist Mohnish Kabir Malhotra.