Knickers in a twist, or outright homophobia?

By Kathryn Powley

Emma Connell is boycotting Calendar Girls. Photo / Janna Dixon
Emma Connell is boycotting Calendar Girls. Photo / Janna Dixon

Lesbians are boycotting an Auckland strip club, alleging discrimination.

Emma Connell said she and her friends were regulars at Calendar Girls, where they easily spent $1000 a night on drinks for themselves and the women who worked there. But Connell and her friends wouldn't be setting foot in the Karangahape Rd establishment again, because of comments the club had made about gay patrons.

Connell, 32, an events manager, said she and about a dozen friends were outraged after someone wrote on the club's Facebook page that a Valentine's Day free-entry offer ought to be limited to heterosexual couples, otherwise he'd "imagine you'll have 100 gay couples coming in for free".

Calendar Girls replied: "They won't be up to dress code."

A flurry of comments followed, including from Connell. Others questioned whether such a club should be located in what has traditionally been a popular gay night spot.

All of the comments were removed soon after.

Calendar Girls opened in June in the old Family and Naval pub, previously a gay venue in the red light district.

"Everyone likes to look at girls dancing and it's a place where we just go because we like the music. You get the added benefit of a pretty girl taking her clothes off in front of you, but it's not like we go there every weekend," Connell said. "It's not like we hang out at strip clubs."

She said she understood the dress code message loud and clear: "Anybody who lives in reality knows what they're trying to say: If there's someone you don't want to let in you can't actually say to them 'we don't want to let you in', you say 'you don't meet the dress code'."

She and her friends were now boycotting the club.

"My partner and I have been there many times and enjoyed ourselves, but obviously we won't be going back because we're not going to support a business that is happy to post bigoted comments.

"They're about to learn what the pink dollar really means - they're about to lose it."

The club's manager, Jacqui Le Prou, said the internet statement was made as a joke with a regular patron and it was "ridiculous" that people had been so offended by it.

"I think what's happened is a couple of people have got their knickers in a twist over nothing and now it's just blown out of proportion," she said.

"I'm the last person to discriminate against lesbians. Heaps of my girls are bi or lesbians. Do you think that we would have chosen to come to K Rd if we felt that way? It's the gay capital of the country."

- Herald on Sunday

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