Photo: XXL/Mark Ames/Facebook
London gay club XXL is at war with its customers again after screenshots of the owner’s femme-phobic rant spread through the internet. This time, it’s even provoked a ‘queer’ counter-party protest organized by a drag queen.
The rant comes after the nightclub – which caters to bears – refused entry to a man wearing heels. Yet the online outrage didn’t sit well with the owner. In a now-deleted post, Mark Ames wrote:
‘Bollox to all this PC and not letting off steam for fear of upsetting someone
‘Fact is it dont make the world a better place it just allows others to fuck your life up and get away with it I’m going to full on cunt mode you wanna ware heels!?
‘Try shoving one up your arse the other in your mouth, that two less offensive things in my world and get this butch up in XXL or get out and any other sub groups or individuals eep the fuc out XXL IS FOR MEN WHO WANT MEN!
‘I couldn’t give a toss about the rest of the scene or todays so called community or society[sic.]’.
Now, many in the LGBTI community are speaking out against the femme-phobia – including past performers at the venue.
Perhaps the biggest reaction is from queen Mary Poppers. Real name Joao Caldas, she’s the one behind this fabulous protest.
They’ll be partying on Blackfriars Bridge on 22 September, near the entrance to XXL, as revelers begin to enter at midnight. The event page states the gather around is ‘open to any individuals of the LGBTQA+ community that feel like venues that exclude women, trans people, non-binary individuals or any expression of femininity are a threat to us and should be revised.’
Mary Poppers spoke to Gay Star News about the protest.
‘Hearing people like this club [owner] literally spreading hate touched a nerve in me. Drag for me is very inherently political and my work is inherently political.
‘This is very much close to my heart and is very much what I try to fight with my drag day-to-day. So I just found these words so blasphemous that I ended up thinking that if there was enough people, we could fight this hate with dialogue and information.’
Everyone will be bringing clothes belonging to XXL’s banned list, from wigs to high heels. Mary noted the hypocrisy of employing drag queens but banning customers who stray from the masculine.
‘As an entertainer I can get paid to go there and flip my ass around, but I can’t as a customer and that’s putting me in a position where I’m a freak.
‘I’m just a thing that entertains people but I’m not worthy of their service. That’s extremely problematic.’
Other performers speak out
Other performers spoke out too. Gerrard Woodward, a go-go dancer and model who has worked for the club several times, wrote on Instagram that he’s grateful to the club for giving him work, but ‘every single person out there DESERVES the right to be treated equally.’
View this post on Instagram
To all my amazing followers and all those gay men out there, I just want to say, XXL @xxllondon have been so good to me over the years. They gave me jobs when I had no money and feared how I would pay my rent, they supported great causes, community events, shows and have been a great part of the community supporting our local magazines and supporting former well known clubs not doing so well. While I can understand this men’s club is about being a place for bears, a place for bigger hairy gays who didn’t fit anywhere and could find each other, it has allowed me to perform alongside amazing Drag Queens and glorious men with glitter in their veins. In saying this, I DO NOT CONDONE these comments made above and I’m all for being inclusive. I guess I’m considered masculine (mostly) but I’m comfortable with my sexuality to have a laugh and enjoy exploring my feminine side too. Every single person out there DESERVES the right to be treated equally. There is no exception. Perhaps we caught Mark on a bad day, we all have them. I love all you unicorns! Be who you want to be and I hope someday there’s a place in London inclusive of everyone without this segregation of young or old, masc, fem, female, trans, muscle, beefy, thick or thin, or whatever you identity as… Long live our freedom to be who we are. Socialising shouldn’t just be about going out to find someone you want to bone but also to mix with all different types of people. That’s how we learn about ourselves. Be kind to each other. Big hugs, G 👠🦄
A post shared by ＧＷ’ｓＧｉｎｇｅ̤̈ｒｆａｃë̤ヽ(•‿•)ノ (@gwsgingerface) on
Drag queen Myra Dubois has withdrawn from a performance at the club too, writing on her Facebook page: ‘So for the record, phrases such as “Butch up in XXL or get out!” or “XXL is for men who want men” appal me.[sic.]’
Ultimately, Mary Poppers wants people to think about who they’re supporting: ‘I’m not telling anyone to not go XXL, I’m telling people that you’re supporting this person. Are you going to carry on supporting this person or not? I’m all about raising questions.
‘I think we should all raise questions about what we are doing with our daily lives and our time and our money, and what we represent for the community.
‘So, [that’s why] we’re going 200% against what this person has said: we are the community, we are united, we hear you – and it’s not okay.’
Gay Star News reached out to XXL and Mark Ames for comment.