Stag entry: Do we need a relook at the club rules? Here’s the debate
Two men recently claimed that were a gay couple when denied entry into a Delhi club on Valentine’s Day. The incident has triggered a debate on whether prohibiting stags from clubs is a fair deal or not.Updated: May 01, 2017 17:49 IST
While Valentine’s Day was all about romance, fun and having a good time for couples, it wasn’t as pleasant for the stags, as single men or groups of men are known in the party circles. 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 in Delhi, singles and small bands of boys had a tough time finding any club that would let them in. Trying to work around this rejection 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 were asked to leave. And so 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 in the V-Day incident, read: “I told them that my friend and I were a couple (which we are not) and asked why, at all, wouldn’t they let us in. I specified that I was gay and so was my friend.” De wrote a blog as well, positioning the whole episode as homophobia, a claim that was immediately refuted by the concerned establishment’s owner, Priyank Sukhija. The latter shot back on social media: “I have many gay friends and support the LGBT community… The author of this blog has mentioned it in his article that they are not [a gay couple] and they did it for the convenience to enter. It’s shameful and disgusting. And now they have the audacity to write that we are homophobes... One should just respect the entry policies of the day and find another place that allows you. Why can’t life be so simple and non-complicated?”
Speaking to HT City, Sukhija says that the guards refused entry to the stags only because there was a thematic event going on. “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,” he clarifies. “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 from entering and it wasn’t personal.”
Ten stags will make two girls uncomfortable, whereas two single girls won’t make ten guys uncomfortable. That’s how things work here. - Akshay Anand
Restaurateurs say that they have become more cautious after past cases of misbehaviour by single men or groups of men on their properties. “It does happen often that a bunch of stags misbehave with single girls,” says hospitality industry member Akshay Anand, adding, “Even if they don’t [do anything], girls get uncomfortable if there are too many stags in the club. Ten stags will make two girls uncomfortable, whereas two single girls won’t make ten guys uncomfortable. That’s how things work here.”
In the end, it is the management’s right to reserve admission. - Akshay Anand
Anand further explains that on special occasions, most restaurants have special offers, due to which they have to keep their entry exclusive. “On Valentine’s Day, people have packages for couples. So we give strict instructions to the staff to only allow couples — what’s wrong with that? In the end, it is the management’s right to reserve admission.”
What is the logic behind not allowing stags inside? How can you guarantee that a committed man won’t make single girls uncomfortable? - Viren Aggarwal
Male club-goers, however, do not share this view. Viren Aggarwal, an entrepreneur, laments that he is never allowed inside a club if his girlfriend is not with him. “What is the logic behind not allowing stags inside? How can you guarantee that a committed man won’t make single girls uncomfortable?” he asks.
Amit Yadav, a corporate employee, questions, “Why should we have to suffer just because some guys misbehave? 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) says, “A sudden plan with my friends landed us in trouble a few days ago. At a club in CP, a group of boys started passing comments on our dresses. We got into an argument with them, but they just laughed shamelessly. If clubs didn’t allow stags, this probably wouldn’t have happened to us.”
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. - Anshul Sharma
The LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) community tells us that they’ve had mixed experiences in the matter of gaining entry to clubs and lounges. “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,” says Anshul Sharma, a member of the community. Viraj Shokeen, another LGBTQ community member, says that he steers clear of parties that don’t let in stags. “If stag entry is not allowed, we try to avoid the party and arrange special parties for ourselves, so that we don’t have to face humiliation in public,” he explains.