Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Inside the Isle Of Man bar where kissing is not allowed

LGBTQ consumers on the Isle of Man have been left confused and offended by a local venue’s ‘No Kissing’ rule.

Guys and Dolls is situated on the Isle of Man and, according to its owner Richard Wernham, is not a business. The venue, he says, offers a service to the LGBTQ+ community; its staff are not staff they are volunteers; however, they are paid, the venue also charges for the service and goods it offers. This is not the confusing part.

The venue has issued a statement that PDAs (public displays of affection) are not permitted. However, they are allowed sometimes. In a statement issued by the owner [Richard] it was stated:

“All staff are now aware of our PDA (public displays of affection) policy and why we apply it.  Also, the manner it’s being used to undermine our community-based function”. It goes on to say, “Any further attempts to deliberately provoke it will be regarded as antisocial behaviour aimed directly to disrupt our straight clientele, many of whom have family members who are from LGBT+ groups”. 

It has been confirmed by the police on the island that officers visited the premises to remind the licensee of their obligations under both licensing and equality laws, and this was published to their [the island’s constabulary] Facebook page. One commenter asked the police to confirm does kissing in a nightclub break any laws and the police confirmed simply “no”. 

In a further statement published on Guys and Dolls’ Facebook page it said:

“We’ve been asked to post an explanation about our PDA (Public Displays of Affection) policy and why it’s there”.

“Our venue is fully inclusive, we welcome all, LGBT+, straight or of any ethnicity. Our target clientele is the more mature audience who enjoy older music, but the door is open to all”.

“We have high standards of public behaviour in keeping with our type of license. This includes regulating behaviour that would be considered by other guests as socially unacceptable. In a mixed environment this sometimes gets confused as being unfair when it isn’t. Our rules apply to all regardless of sexuality etc”.

“A simple kiss between two people wouldn’t cause any issue, it happens frequently. However, when things get a little more heated it’s a different story and as in any public venue a request to cool it down will be made. This is usually all that happens. If after warning it continues further action may result. It doesn’t matter if it’s two males, two females or a male and a female, it’s something that applies to all”.

“On some occasions we have encountered deliberately staged acts in prominent places, these are treated in the same manner”.

“We will be very happy to explain the policy to any authority who approaches for review and will happily cooperate fully”.

“Much of the misunderstanding here comes from the name many remember from the previous administration, the “no kissing rule”, it isn’t what it seems, we are doing nothing out of the ordinary”.

Some residents of the island and visitors to the venue have expressed their disdain both for the rule and for the handling of the situation by the Licensee. 

Andrew Deighton said, “You shove a same-sex couple out for showing affection and yet you allow a bunch of middle-aged creeps there every weekend to stare and chase after every young woman who comes in. Where’s the morality there”?

Wynn Fairbairn shared their feelings, “This is not an adequate explanation for the painfully obvious bigotry that has been displayed. LGBTQ+ people showing affection is not “socially unacceptable”. What is socially unacceptable is to think that it is appropriate to alienate the community that keeps your business running. The frankly disgusting attitude does not reflect the “high standards of public behaviour” in which you’re preaching”.

In addition to the hundreds of comments under the statements from the club others have taken to leaving reviews:

“Outdated interior, terrible sound system, grim toilets oh and they kick out gay couples for kissing incase it “offends straight clientele” … “Literally any other bar is more LGBT friendly. You never know when its actually open, and when it is its usually dead. If you like over priced cocktails served in dirty beach buckets then this is the place for you, especially if you hate the gays”. Jenni Smith

“Get f*cked. Claim to be an inclusive venue and then every single thing you say determines otherwise. DO NOT SUPPORT THIS BUSINESS/VENUE”. Samuel Saint James

“The homophobic ambiance in here made me want to never go here ever” Ailish Williams


It would seem to me that there is some confusion as to what the venue is, was, and hopes to be.  Having visited the social media pages of the venue and the Licensee, it would appear to any potential customer that the venue is a LGBTQ+ welcoming business.  However, there are a number of statements and responses by the owner that would seem to contradict the image that has been presented.  

Visitors to the island (Located in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Northern Ireland) should be comfortable and safe in the other venues and businesses that are keen to welcome them to spend their hard-earned cash. For more information go here.

Anthony Miller

Anthony Miller a well known media commentator in the UK he often appears on BBC TV and radio. Having worked with Richard Jones as a Civil Partnership expert appearing on many tv channels around the world, he is excited to be writing as a columnist for Q40 and BWM. INSTA: @antmiller101 TWITTER: @antmiller101 WWW.ANTHONYMILLER.CO.UK

Anthony Miller has 29 posts and counting. See all posts by Anthony Miller

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