Woman bounced from Montreal gay bar

University student complains to Quebec human rights tribunal

May 31, 2007 04:30 AM


MONTREAL–University student Audrey Vachon sat down at a city patio for a late afternoon drink with her dad last week. What happened next prompted a complaint to Quebec's human rights tribunal.

The patio belongs to Le Stud, a self-styled "hard, manly and virile" leather bar on the fringes of Montreal's Gay Village.

Audrey's father, Gilles Vachon, said a server sidled over and said "This establishment is for men only. Please leave."

Audrey Vachon, 20, said she has never felt singled out the way she was on that day."I've frequented other places in the Village ... and it's the first time I've ever come up against this kind of closed-mindedness. In fact, it's the first time I've ever felt discriminated against."

Her expulsion has provoked a storm of criticism of Le Stud's owner, who said it is house policy to admit only men – other than on Ladies Night on Wednesdays.

Gaycities.com gives Le Stud five stars and describes it as "bears and queens, leather and jeans."

MontrealPlus.ca explains its narrow dance floor "encourages friskiness. Also, the many televisions continuously display porn flicks."

Gadoury owns several other establishments in the Gay Village, which admit women, he said.

Montreal's Gay Chamber of Commerce and Société de développement commercial du Village called on Le Stud to "respect the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms," which bans discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation.

Société executive director Bernard Plante said heterosexuals should understand why gays might prefer to be with each other: "I dream of the day where I will be able to walk into a restaurant with my partner holding his hand and maybe giving him a kiss. That's still not always possible in this day and age."

That's not an appeal that holds much weight for Gilles Vachon.

"Here we are in a liberal country confronted by people who have used the charter of rights to assert their rights against discrimination, and who are now discriminating against others.

"I would never presume to discriminate against a gay person. Why should this be allowed to happen to my daughter?" asked Vachon. "I was angry when this happened. We should probably have stayed and forced them to call the police to remove us."