Originally published on Advocate.com February 06 2004 1:00 AM ET
A man who said he was denied access to a gay lounge because the bouncer thought he wasn't gay has reported the club for discrimination based on sexual orientation. "This is the first case we have like this," George Svede, a spokesman for HomO, a Swedish acronym for the Ombudsman Against Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation, said Thursday. The 27-year-old man, who asked not to be identified, visited the nightclub with a friend in January but said they were refused entry to a special lounge called the Gay-Vip Wonderbar. In a complaint filed with HomO, the man said a bouncer stopped them, saying, "You have to be gay and on the guest list" to enter the lounge. "How do we prove that we are gay? It feels like reverse discrimination," the man said in the complaint. Lounge spokesman David Amberton said the men "obviously weren't gay" but added that was not why they were rejected. "They were not allowed in because they weren't on the guest list and we didn't recognize them," Amberton said.
People who feel they've been discriminated against because of religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability can sue for damages under a new discrimination law that took effect last July. Svede said the Ombudsman's office would try to sort the issue out with the club before considering suing for damages. "If the club can't prove that the refusal wasn't based on names on the guest list, then this is a case of discrimination," he said.