Armistead Maupin is a widely known American author, perhaps best known for his Tales of the City series. He and his husband, Chris Turner, were recently in Alice Springs, Australia for a book tour.
While in town, the couple who legally wed in California after same-sex marriage was legalized (but before Prop 8 kicked in), visited Bojangles Saloon for lunch. When Turner asked to use the restroom, he was told to use the public facility across the street because the men’s room in the bar was for “real men” only.
Mr Maupin, who had used the toilet in Bojangles the day before, said he pointed in the direction of the toilet and said ‘what’s that over there?’
“[The barman] gave me a very pointed look and said that’s reserved for ‘real men’,” said Mr Maupin.
“Neither one of us could quite believe he’d said it, and he actually repeated it, [he said] ‘see the sign on the door, it says gents, it’s for real men.'” Mr Maupin and Mr Turner immediately left the establishment and made an official complaint at the Visitor Information Centre.
“I think it was less than 24 hours later that we got an email from Peter Griggs in the tourism office saying he’d spoken to the proprieter of the business who was just as shocked as we were and that the man had extended his apologies.”
Tourism officials assured Maupin and Turner their experience was hardly typical, and the two were so impressed with the outpouring of support they received from Australians on Maupin’s Facebook wall that they aren’t ruling out future visits to the town.
Still, this is absolutely ridiculous. It seems we read a new horror story like this one each and every single day. Heck, we actually do. We kind of built our business around this nonsense. The good news is that every single time we share these stories with the world, and you share your disbelief and disappointment with your peers and pals, it decreases the likelihood of it happening again.
The world is becoming an intolerant place for those who wish us harm, and a more accepting place for LGBT people every day. Keep on keepin’ on, y’all.