Management at Perth pub The Court Hotel have responded to a petition by members of the local LGBTIQ community who say the longstanding gay venue is no longer safe for its queer patrons.
The Change.org petition, which has close to 2000 signatures, have called on the venue to crack down on homophobic behaviour or remove its rainbow flag branding from its exterior.
Locals who signed the petition shared their experiences of being abused and mistreated over their sexuality at the venue after recent renovations, Out in Perth reported.
“The Court has been overrun with homophobic idiots,” one of wrote.
Another wrote, “You took a beloved gay club (one of the only we have) and turned it into a ‘gay friendly’ straight club, even if it’s unintentional.
“You need to fundamentally change the culture of your new crowd or you’ll lose the LGBT community which used to feel so at home with you.”
On the petition page, locals complained of homophobic slurs, physical assaults on queer patrons and harassment of transgender people while going to the bathroom.
“Every single time I’ve been there in the last couple of years I’ve seen obnoxious cis het men making fun of drag queens or trans people, and calling people homophobic slurs,” one person commented.
Another claimed, “I’ve heard of a trans man being kicked out of a male bathroom because ‘Girls shouldn’t be in there’ and the security kicked him out instead of the one being transphobic.
“I have no problem with straight people being at the club, but the security and staff should have the safety of its LGBTQIA+ patrons as top priority.”
In a statement, The Court Hotel’s General Manager Neil O’Connor said the venue’s team was committed to the safety of queer patrons and said they would address the concerns.
“We are sorry to everyone who has felt uncomfortable or unsafe at the venue and we want to reassure you all that we will work hard to stamp out this behaviour immediately,” he said.
“We’ve noticed a few of you have expressed frustration recently at how some new patrons have come in to our amazing venue but not respected the values that we stand for including celebration, respect and a love for diversity.
“We’ve listened to you. The entire team here is committed to your safety and enjoyment while in this venue regardless of gender or sexuality.
“We know the renovations have attracted a larger crowd but we can’t as some have suggested (and won’t) discriminate at the door due to anyone’s sexuality (plus we’re not that arrogant to suggest we’d get it right all the time!)”
He said the venue would said they were working on including highly visible RSA officers who could help patrons report antisocial behaviour, a prominent new code of conduct posted at the venue’s entry, and increased security to ensure complaints were handled correctly.
“Please go to one of these officers if you experience any anti-social behaviour and they will immediately assist you,” he said.
“If someone does make an inappropriate comment to you please do not retaliate.
“Our RSA Officers and Crowd Controllers are the best people to manage the situation and remove the person in question (we are very good at giving etiquette lessons outside!)
“This venue means the world to us and many of the community but we can only do so much alone. What makes the venue amazing are all of you beautiful people reveling in the freedom to be your true selves.
“If anyone doesn’t respect this freedom, tell us and they will not be welcome back in our venue.”