Can a dress code be homophobic?

Well, I suppose if it reads “Don’t dress like a big flaming poof or one of them bean flicking, dungaree wearing lezzies” then yes, without going into the rights or wrongs of having such a dress code I’d say that could fairly be construed as homophobic. But I’m not sure that a simple prohibition on brightly coloured suits is anything more than what it says on the proverbial tin, so I can’t see that Jason Bradley, who is both gay and cross that he was asked to leave the members’ pavilion at Melbourne’s Flemington racecourse last Thursday, is onto a winner here.

A man thrown out of the members pavilion at Flemington on Thursday for wearing a red jacket has lodged a complaint against the Victorian Racing Club for discrimination on the grounds of his homosexuality.

Jason Bradley yesterday lodged a complaint with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission on behalf of himself and his friend Jesse Price, who was wearing a pink jacket on Oaks Day. The pair, who had passes to the members area, had been in a bar on the ground floor for about an hour on Thursday and were on their second drink of the day when they were approached at about 2pm by a female VRC security officer.

”She complimented us on our outfits, and said we were very on-trend and then said we’d probably be more comfortable in the general area,” Mr Bradley told The Saturday Age yesterday.

[…]

He asked if he and his friend were being asked to leave, she said yes, and he said they would go as soon as they had finished their drinks, which they did.

Mr Bradley insisted they were in no way being rowdy.

So far, so discriminatory, some would say. But hang on there, Jason, you weren’t being asked to leave because anyone thought you were being rowdy and there’s no suggestion that anyone had said you were. Sounds to me like they just felt that your choice of clothing breached the dress code, that’s all. Doesn’t mean that they were judging your cloths as too loud or too gay or that there’s necessarily anything wrong with either. It’s just about whether or not they met the established dress code for the Flemington members’ pavilion, which Jason himself appears to realise.

In his submission to the commission Mr Bradley wrote that ”having checked the rules and feeling that we did comply, we felt pretty confident that the complaint was made because we were clearly identifiable as gay”.

So Jason checked the rules, and what did the rules say?

… the VRC has responded to the charge with reference to its dress code, which states that ”brightly coloured suits” are not acceptable attire for men in the members area. However, ”tailored slacks, sports coat or blazer, plus tie and dress shoes” are acceptable.

Their place, their rules, and no matter my support for adults to be free to insert whatever parts of themselves into whatever other adults consent for them to do so, my support for property rights is greater. If we don’t have that we’ve got nothing, so I’ll leave it to the judgement of readers as to whether or not Jason Bradley’s and Jesse Price’s suits complied with the dress code and so whether or not their being asked to leave really was about them being gay.

 

38 comments for “Can a dress code be homophobic?

  1. November 7, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Surely this policy constitutes discrimination against the colour-blind. Something must be done!

    • November 7, 2011 at 9:34 am

      That’s not discriminating against the colourblind. This is discriminating against the colourblind.

      I’m going to hell for that.

      • November 8, 2011 at 5:47 am

        😆

  2. November 7, 2011 at 8:53 am

    It seems to me that the dress code is pretty dumb, but it is clear enough and applies to everybody, and as you say, their gaff, their rules.

    • November 7, 2011 at 9:25 am

      Absolutely. I’ve never understood no trainers rules in clubs either but it’s no different.

      • November 7, 2011 at 12:27 pm

        They scuff up the dance floor…

        • November 7, 2011 at 12:33 pm

          I had no idea. Never let it be said that nobody ever learns anything at the Orphanage. 😀 Not sure I’ll have a practical use for knowing it but it’s one less unanswered question in my life.

          • Paul Harrison
            November 7, 2011 at 6:07 pm

            When i worked in clubs i was always told it was just a simple thing to keep the lower class male clientèle out. I worked in a few clubs that happily allowed trainers during the week but would have a strict no trainer policy on Friday and Saturday night.

            • November 8, 2011 at 5:48 am

              Probably no use these days though, since EVERYONE seems to dress like a moody teenager, chav or not!

  3. November 7, 2011 at 9:18 am

    I don’t believe they are gay at all unless they were doing their The Only Gays in Flemington act.

    http://youtu.be/E27v-jmRmx0

    • November 7, 2011 at 9:24 am

      I thought they looked a bit more 80s theme party than gay, WoaR, but we have to remember that this is Australia and that mullets are still cutting edge in places. So’s colour TV come to that. 😆

      (I have to be careful what I say as anything too outrageous may see me kicked out of the country, or worse, made to sleep on the sofa.)

  4. Paul Harrison
    November 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Just read the article and you’ve completely changed the context of it. At no point in the article does Mr Bradley claim that the dress code is discriminatory – infact he does state the issue that he had (which for some reason you left out of your article)”having checked the rules and feeling that we did comply, we felt pretty confident that the complaint was made because we were clearly identifiable as gay”.
    So the question is not whether a dress code can be discriminatory but whether a dress code can be used to discriminate.

    As for what they wore – the website states “Gentleman and boys over 12 are required to wear a suit, of tailored slacks (check), sports coat or blazer(check), plus tie(check) and dress shoes (check)” So far so good – the bone of contention is this – Not acceptable “Safari suits, bright coloured suits, tracksuits” – i’d argue that they were wearing brightly coloured jackets, not brightly coloured suits – these are brightly coloured suits http://online.wsj.com/media/1028melbournecup02_D_20101028094218.jpg (who were also at the race day, although i assume not in the members area!).
    I’d also be willing to bet that being in the members area they would have had to have had their tickets checked and gone past security before this incidence – who apparently had no issue with what they were wearing. Maybe the racetrack should either a) be clearer in its dress code or b) refrain from homophobia?

    • Lord T
      November 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm

      Bit of a catch 22. If what he wears identifies him as a homo by being loud and garish, which it is, then I would guess that even if a normal person was wearing it they would still have been ejected.

    • November 7, 2011 at 3:43 pm

      I’ve changed the tone of the article, though I don’t agree that the context is altered. I’ve presented the same facts as The Age, just with a different take on the significance. From the headline and opening para I felt The Age assumed that a gay couple being asked to leave a private area had to be discriminatory and because they’re gay, not because they’d failed to comply in some way, and I’ve argued that it need not be so. I’d go further still and say that the owner of private property should be free to exclude anyone he likes – them because they’re gay, me because I’m English, whatever – and not be expected to justify it. It can’t be restated enough that we are talking about private property here, and who property owners let in and on what terms should be entirely up to them. Personally if somewhere did exclude people on the grounds of homosexuality I would go out of my way to avoid spending a cent there and wouldn’t give them a pot of piss if the place was burning down, but I wouldn’t want the law to force them to use their property in a way they don’t want either. If that can be done for a good reason it can be done for a bad reason, and then every property owner in the land is in trouble (actually they already are but that’s by the by).

      … infact he does state the issue that he had (which for some reason you left out of your article)…

      No, I did not leave that out since it was pretty central to the point I was making. You’ll find it verbatim in the second block of quoted text.

      Note that Mr Bradley doesn’t say whether he checked before he and his partner went to the races or when they got home having been asked to leave the members’ pavilion, but if it was before he would have seen the bit that said no brightly coloured suits and decided to chance a brightly coloured suit jacket anyway. From what he’s said it sounds more likely to me that they checked the rules when they got back, though why Mr Bradley can’t accept that the VRC gets to invent stupid rules on its property and put it down to experience I don’t know.

      So the question is not whether a dress code can be discriminatory but whether a dress code can be used to discriminate.

      If it’s discriminatory then surely it can be used to discriminate. On this specific issue of the VRC all we need to ask is whether or not Mrs Exile and I, hetero and married, could expect to be asked to leave if we’d turned up in exactly the same outfits. I’d bet we’d be shown the door faster than Mr Bradley and Mr Price, and I’d give you odds. If so then it’s the clothes and sexuality is irrelevant.

      I can’t read anything into your photo link. It seems to be from the Melbourne Cup, which is a different event run two days earlier and is a bit, well, special. Put it this way, it’s an official public holiday in the Melbourne area and much of the rest of the state and even the rest of the country stops at 3pm AEDT. It may have different rules, and since they’re dressed identically the two groups in the pic may all belong to a club(s), and as you yourself pointed out they mightn’t have been anywhere near the members’ pavilion anyway. Find me a pic of two other guys, straight or otherwise, in the pavilion wearing bright colours who were not also asked to leave and I’ll write you a thousand words bagging the VRC as a bunch of crusty dinosaurs who haven’t even caught up to the last century yet.

      … i’d argue that they were wearing brightly coloured jackets, not brightly coloured suits…

      Tomayto, tomahto. If I knew the dress code said no brightly coloured suits I’d have expected them to treat a brightly coloured jacket the same way and rung up beforehand to check. That there’s no suggestion they did again makes me think that they probably did not check the dress code before going.

      For what it’s worth I wouldn’t turf either of them out of my place if I was having a party and they arrived dressed like that. But I don’t have a dress code and wouldn’t care how anyone, whether straight, gay, bi or celibate dresses providing they don’t rock up naked and tumescent.

      Maybe the racetrack should either a) be clearer in its dress code or b) refrain from homophobia?

      Maybe it should do whatever it likes and those of us that disapprove can keep our money and not spend it with the VRC or any other business whose attitudes we don’t like. That’s how liberty works – if people and businesses are to be free then they must be free to be arseholes and think, say and do things we might not like. And if we don’t like it, and personally I’ve no love for homophobic businesses or institutions, then we must take our custom elsewhere and encourage others to do the same. If we can stamp our feet and get the law, the biggest and most discriminatory bully going, to override someone else’s property rights I’d say we’re no better than they are.

      • Lord T
        November 7, 2011 at 4:32 pm

        Maybe he did check the rules but as he had been helped into the local B&B by legislation overiding the owners rules and wishes not to have homos in their homes he probably assumes that they same help will be given here if he shouts loud enough and girly men can’t half squeal loudly.

      • Paul Harrison
        November 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm

        “I’ve changed the tone of the article, though I don’t agree that the context is altered. I’ve presented the same facts as The Age, just with a different take on the significance. From the headline and opening para I felt The Age assumed that a gay couple being asked to leave a private area had to be discriminatory and because they’re gay, not because they’d failed to comply in some way, and I’ve argued that it need not be so”

        So are you saying that you changed the tone of an article that you found somewhat misleading and assumptive into an article that is equally somewhat misleading.

        “I’d go further still and say that the owner of private property should be free to exclude anyone he likes ”
        Absolutely – but they weren’t excluded were they. They had already been allowed in, if a restaurant was to not allow me from eating there because I’m white and English so be it as you said, but if they welcomed me in with my wife, sat me down, took my order, served me my starter took payment for it and then turfed me out I’d feel rather disgruntled, to say the least.

        “On this specific issue of the VRC all we need to ask is whether or not Mrs Exile and I, hetero and married, could expect to be asked to leave if we’d turned up in exactly the same outfits. I’d bet we’d be shown the door faster than Mr Bradley and Mr Price, and I’d give you odds. If so then it’s the clothes and sexuality is irrelevant.”

        That’s hypothetical so irrelevant, although interestingly you claim that sexuality is irrelevant but believe that you would be treated different because of your sexuality. If they’d been stopped at the door, if they’d been refused their wrist bands which all members have to be issued with on the day or any one of these things it would have been a non story. But that’s not the case is it.

        My photo was merely used as a way to show the difference between a bright suit and a bright jacket.

        “Tomayto, tomahto. If I knew the dress code said no brightly coloured suits I’d have expected them to treat a brightly coloured jacket the same way and rung up beforehand to check. That there’s no suggestion they did again makes me think that they probably did not check the dress code before going.”
        http://m.news.com.au/VIC/pg/0/fi908164.htm
        This article mentions that they did check the dress code before hand. As for Tomahto/Tomayto fair point but if you don’t make your dress code clear beforehand at least make it clear to your staff – I mean if it was the shoes/trainers things that clubs have such an issue with i could understand it, as it could easily be missed – but a bright pink and bright red jacket – really?

        “Find me a pic of two other guys, straight or otherwise, in the pavilion wearing bright colours who were not also asked to leave and I’ll write you a thousand words bagging the VRC as a bunch of crusty dinosaurs who haven’t even caught up to the last century yet”

        Is the Birdcage considered part of the pavillion?

        http://www.novafm.com.au/photo_buck-palmer-and-josh-gibson-at-flemington-birdcage-on-melbourne-cup-day_309293

        “That’s how liberty works – if people and businesses are to be free then they must be free to be arseholes and think, say and do things we might not like”

        Good point, but equally they should be expected to show some consistency around this – I don’t have an issue with dress codes or discrimination on private property but I do have an issue when they dress the discrimination up as something else (no pun intended) or if they lay down antiquated rules which they can’t seem to follow.

        • November 7, 2011 at 7:25 pm

          So are you saying that you changed the tone of an article that you found somewhat misleading and assumptive into an article that is equally somewhat misleading.

          No, but I find it odd that you are. Did I say The Age’s article was misleading? I’m sure I did not, and I disagree that I have mislead either. Speculated from time to time, but it should be perfectly clear where I have speculated, where I have taken direct from The Age, and where I have inferred and reached conclusions. If anything in that is misleading then all opinion will mislead somebody somewhere. And my opinion, to be absolutely clear, was that they may have been taking the piss. That’s changed slightly, thanks to you.

          Absolutely – but they weren’t excluded were they.

          True, but so what? Entrydrone may not have had the responsibility of passing judgement on dress (unlikely but not impossible). Entrydrone may have been some temp agency kid who wasn’t confident in turning anyone away. Entrydrone may have thought it okay but was then overruled by more senior drone. Entrydrone may simply have screwed up and forgot. Changes nothing. If you came to my house and someone at the front door said you could smoke I’m not going to change my house rules and let you smoke just because you got bad info – I’m still going to tell you to take it outside.

          … interestingly you claim that sexuality is irrelevant but believe that you would be treated different because of your sexuality.

          Eh? No, that’s not what I said at all. I said almost the exact opposite, that I’d expect to be treated the same as Bradley and Price despite not being gay.

          My photo was merely used as a way to show the difference between a bright suit and a bright jacket.

          Thanks, but I did know the difference already.

          This article mentions that they did check the dress code before hand.

          Good find, and this is the reason why I have altered my earlier opinion that they may be taking the piss. If they really checked out the dress code in advance I no longer think there’s any ‘may’ about it. Come on, they couldn’t seriously think those jackets were going to be okay on their own and only cause waves if they had matching pants? Well, yes, they could, but forgive me for suggesting that it’d be pretty naive. To use another smoking analogy that’s like lighting up a cigar the size of a milk bottle, and when told to put it out complaining that the no smoking signs clearly show a cigarette with a line though. You could sink a whole fleet of liners with the amount of ice that wouldn’t cut.

          Is the Birdcage considered part of the pavillion?

          No idea. Haven’t been. However, the caption on that picture says “Buck Palmer (DJ and boyfriend of model Ashley Hart) and Hawthorn footballer Josh Gibson about to head into the Lavazza Marquee at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day 2011” so I’d say almost certainly not. The Lavazza Marquee sounds like a corporate promo affair, and you’d expect Lavazza’s marketing mob to have had it sited somewhere where anyone could rock up. From something on the VRC website about a pass giving access to the pavilion and the Birdcage I’d say it seems they’re either separate or the pavilion is part of the Birdcage but not the other way round.

          … but equally they should be expected to show some consistency around this…

          Firstly, if it was a simple stuff up then they were trying to be consistent and, well, there was a stuff up. It’s life, it happens, and nobody died. Yes, a couple of lads (who it seems read the rules and should have foreseen and avoided any aggro, but chose to gamble on their interpretation being accepted by the VRC) were offended but not a day goes by when something doesn’t offend me, and nobody dies then either. I don’t feel the need for someone to apologise over it, and I’d be even more offended if I was ever offered the normal stock bullshit apology that’s so often trotted out when someone takes offence. Secondly, no, in fact they don’t have to be consistent. It’s good business sense but it should not be compulsory anymore than it should be compulsory for you to always get out of bed in a good mood. Nor is inconsistency necessarily a bad thing. To go for a record third smoking analogy, having made you stand in the garden to smoke I might well relent and let you have one in the kitchen if it started smashing down with rain.

          • Paul Harrison
            November 7, 2011 at 9:42 pm

            “No, but I find it odd that you are. Did I say The Age’s article was misleading? I’m sure I did not, and I disagree that I have mislead either”

            My first paragraph should have ended with a question mark as it was genuinely a question. From this statement – From the headline and opening para I felt The Age assumed that a gay couple being asked to leave a private area had to be discriminatory and because they’re gay, not because they’d failed to comply in some way, and I’ve argued that it need not be so – i got the impression that you felt that the headline of the article and first paragraph were misleading.

            “Entrydrone may simply have screwed up and forgot”
            Then maybe entrydrone should have been better trained, or maybe they should not employ a temp agency kid in order to police people going in to an exclusive (and paid for) area. Your right it does not change anything – the race track is still at fault. What’s the point of having a dress code if your staff don’t understand it. If this is the case its not the punters fault that they either a) employ muppets or b) don’t train their staff properly.

            “If you came to my house and someone at the front door said you could smoke I’m not going to change my house rules and let you smoke just because you got bad info – I’m still going to tell you to take it outside.”
            You’re comparing apples and oranges there – the person at your house is not paid by you. If they were paid by you, and clearly one of their job roles was to police where people can smoke, and equally part of your responsibility would be to ensure that they know when and where people can smoke then that would be a fair comparison.

            “that I’d expect to be treated the same as Bradley and Price despite not being gay.”

            “I’d bet we’d be shown the door faster than Mr Bradley and Mr Price, and I’d give you odds”
            I’m curious as to how betting me that you would be kicked out of somewhere quicker for being heterosexual rather then homosexual can in anyway be construed as being treated exactly the same. Unless you are suggesting that there is some other reason why you would be ejected at a faster rate then Messrs Bradley and Price?

            “You could sink a whole fleet of liners with the amount of ice that wouldn’t cut.”
            I understand that you think i’m being picky but also taken from the dress code for women “A shoe is considered a thong if it has two straps which connect in between the first and second toes” they define what a thong is to that detail, but don’t define that a suit is considered an entire suit or trousers singularly or a jacket on its own, what a bright colour is, would salmon pink be considered OK for example, and that bright colours are allowed but only on shirts ties and socks – where do waist coats fall in this – are they allowed to be brightly coloured? If you are going to be that pedantic about your dress code is it really to much to ask to be equally pedantic about how they lay those rules out and how you train your staff to interpret them?

            “but not a day goes by when something doesn’t offend me, and nobody dies then either”
            Again going back to the example i used before – if you went to a restaurant for a with your wife on your wedding anniversary, and they welcomed you in, sat you down, took your order, served your starter, which they charged you for (as well as charging you entrance to get in the place) and then booted you out because at this stage they felt that you did not achieve their dress code – you’d shrug and say fair enough?

            “It’s good business sense but it should not be compulsory anymore than it should be compulsory for you to always get out of bed in a good mood”
            Not the same at all – It is compulsory for me to turn up to work on time every day consistently- because they pay me to do so – in the same way that their customers paid to go into the members pavilion.

            “To go for a record third smoking analogy, having made you stand in the garden to smoke I might well relent and let you have one in the kitchen if it started smashing down with rain.”
            I appreciate where you are coming from with this but again (and going for my own record)that is not the same – you can’t really compare a situation where someone is being reasonable and it works in another’s favour with a situation that can be seen almost as the polar opposite.

            Its a very difficult situation and i do feel for the racecourse – on the one hand, the race course screwed up by letting them in, by serving them and linked to this by having a dress code that is either poorly phrased or simply misunderstood (by both customers and staff)so part of me says they have to live with that error as it was there mistake – the other side of me clearly recognises that they cannot be seen to relax the rules as this causes issues further down the line.
            The Racetrack is a business and as such receives money from customers who do have a right to a level of service based upon this which is why i stick to my original statement that the racetrack should either a) be clearer in its dress code (especially to staff) or b) refrain from homophobia (i’d like to think that its the former that is required rather then the latter.)

            • November 8, 2011 at 5:51 am

              “The Racetrack is a business and as such receives money from customers who do have a right to a level of service …”

              So long as they comply with the conditions of entry, yes. They didn’t. End-ex.

              • Paul Harrison
                November 8, 2011 at 7:46 am

                They had complied with the conditions of entry when they were given entry – they complied with them when they were served drinks – clearly the “conditions of entry” are very open to interpretation.

                Would this meet the conditions of entry?
                http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/131011176
                Or how about this
                http://au.sports.yahoo.com/racing/galleries/g/11220273/celebs-attend-the-2011-melbourne-cup/11222526/
                Both taken at Flemington.

              • November 8, 2011 at 10:56 am

                Again, Cup Day rather than Oaks Day and there may (emphasis may) be different conditions, and more importantly there’s nothing to suggest those pics came from the members’ pavilion. Since it’s celeb shots it seems more likely that it’s an entirely different area set aside for the slebs to pose and the papsnappers to click away at them.

            • November 8, 2011 at 10:52 am

              i got the impression that you felt that the headline of the article and first paragraph were misleading.

              Nope. As far as the article goes I just felt the obvious alternative to it being a gay discrimination thing was inadequately explored. The VRC don’t get to put their side of the story until the penultimate para and even then Mr Bradley has the final word.

              Your right it does not change anything – the race track is still at fault.

              Oh, someone employed by them probably made an error, though without knowing the setup it’s speculation to say whether it’s the entrydrone or someone else. But do Bradley and Price bear absolutely no responsibility? Having now heard that they checked the rules beforehand I’d say they bear almost all of it. I’m ascribing no motives here – I’m not saying they were dressing gay (I don’t accept any inherent gayness to their outfits – when you’ve been surrounded by drunken and presumably mostly hetero stockmen wearing these you tend not to read all that much into a pink jacket) and I’m not saying they were deliberately looking for a loophole to exploit. I’m just saying that having seen a prohibition on brightly coloured suits it was unrealistic to expect that their clothes wouldn’t be an issue. As I said, that’s like expecting to be able to smoke a cigar because the no smoking signs all show cigarettes. That some min-wage idiot fails to immediately tell you to put the cigar out doesn’t suddenly make the rule go away.

              I’m curious as to how betting me that you would be kicked out of somewhere quicker for being heterosexual rather then homosexual can in anyway be construed as being treated exactly the same.

              I’m not betting we’d be kicked out for being heteros, I’m betting we’d be kicked out about as fast or faster simply for wearing those clothes, which would be equal treatment discriminating only on the clothes and not the sexuality of the wearer. The faster bit was a little hyperbole but not massive – Bradley and Price would probably look better in those than a couple on the lower bounds of middle age. :mrgreen:

              … if you went to a restaurant for a with your wife on your wedding anniversary, and they welcomed you in … and then booted you out because at this stage they felt that you did not achieve their dress code – you’d shrug and say fair enough?

              Depends very much on whether I knew I was skirting around the edges of their dress code. If they changed it mid-meal I’d bitch and whine and never go there again, though I’d also accept that on their property they have the right to do so. But if it said conservative dress and I’d turned up in a Maggie Thatcher mask I’d have to take it on the chin. 🙂

              It is compulsory for me to turn up to work on time every day consistently- because they pay me to do so…

              Unless you’re in indentured servitude, no it’s not. You entered into a contract voluntarily and subject to terms in it (and certain laws) you can withhold your labour or leave altogether. Likewise it’s not compulsory for your employer to give you a job for life or to pay for not being there and so on, and again subject to the contract they can eliminate the position or simply wind the company up. It’s not compulsion since both parties had previously voluntarily agreed, and usually there isn’t real compulsion until the state gets involved. Then among other things you get laws that make it compulsory to admit customers businesses might not want to admit and of course compulsory payment of taxes to, er, make up for the loss of free association.

              … you can’t really compare a situation where someone is being reasonable and it works in another’s favour with a situation that can be seen almost as the polar opposite.

              You’re assuming there that you’re the only one who benefits. Motives are very rarely entirely selfless, and it doesn’t have to be a material reward. Why do you give to charity? Makes you feel good to do so, doesn’t it? If it made you feel wretched you wouldn’t, or more likely you’d give it to a charity whose aims you support and then it pleases you that they’re now better off than they were. So if I’ve told you you can come in and smoke in the kitchen it’s probably because it makes me feel better about myself or my wife’s told me not to be such an arsehole or something. If I got absolutely nothing from it at all you’d still be smoking in the rain, and of course it’s not hard to flip it round and come up with a situation where the change is to your disadvantage only. Doesn’t matter whether you gain or lose from it, the point is only that the owners get to make the rules and the exceptions according to whether they benefit.

              … the race course screwed up by letting them in, by serving them and linked to this by having a dress code that is either poorly phrased or simply misunderstood (by both customers and staff)so part of me says they have to live with that error as it was there mistake…

              Sorry, no, I don’t see this at all. Imagine if the VRC’s staff had accidentally let in someone who had no right to be there at all. When it’s realised that actually they’re not a member should they be allowed to stay? If you go to the movies and some new guy shows you to Gold Class seats by mistake do you have a right to stay there when someone else comes along and asks you to go to the regular seats because that’s actually what you’d paid for? Basically, does any initial failure of a business or one of its employees to fully enforce any rule or condition mean that rule just gets invalidated and ripped up? I’d say no it doesn’t, at least not unless it’s been a rule that’s been ignored over a long period of time (months or years).

              … which is why i stick to my original statement that the racetrack should either a) be clearer in its dress code (especially to staff) or b) refrain from homophobia (i’d like to think that its the former that is required rather then the latter.)

              Sticking to the dress code is a two way street and I still feel that having looked at it in advance Bradley and Price were taking a chance that their dress would be accepted. They gambled, appropriately for a horse meet, and unfortunately for them they lost. I’m not unsympathetic because I don’t care much how people dress and don’t care at all who they find sexy, but I struggle with their assertion that gay discrimination was behind it. Had they complained that it was a stupid and outdated rule I’d have agreed, but to argue that it was homophobic is an even bigger gamble than turning up in a bright jacket to somewhere that says no bright suits. If this was in a court, everyone being innocent ’til proven guilty they’d need to prove it, and since there isn’t any real evidence to support it they’d almost certainly lose. While for the VRC all it takes to completely destroy the argument is one gay in a dark suit who stayed there all day or one straight person who also turned up in a bright jacket and was asked to leave. Realistically the second is unlikely but it seems pretty unlikely that every single last one of the thousands of other blokes there who weren’t kicked out were straight. This is Melbourne, and it can do gay as well as or better than bloody Sydney – even among homophobes it’s probably more important to beat Sydney. 😆

              And if by chance the VRC turned round and said that actually, yes, they just don’t want gays there (which won’t happen of course) I’d support their right to chose their clientele, though I’d also be open about hoping the whole place burned down and that Father Christmas would shit in their socks.

              • Paul Harrison
                November 8, 2011 at 7:10 pm

                “Again, Cup Day rather than Oaks Day and there may ” Dress code for the members areas doesn’t change, but i wasn’t posting them up to suggest that they were in the members area – more to show how ambiguous the dress code is – as those outfits could very easily be argued either way.

                “I’d say they bear almost all of it.” – i’d disagree, quite the opposite infact – flipped around i’d imagine one of the reasons the members pay to be members is that the course employs security or entrydrones to keep out the hoy polloy. I’ve seen steroid pumped gorillas working tacky nightclub doors that can handle a dress code, so i think its fair to require that an exclusive members area at one of Australia’s premier racetracks can do the same.

                “If you go to the movies and some new guy shows you to Gold Class seats by mistake do you have a right to stay there when someone else comes along and asks you to go to the regular seats because that’s actually what you’d paid for?”

                Not the same, infact the opposite as they were getting something that had been paid for removed. I’m not suggesting that they should have been allowed to stay – but the way in which they were ejected should have been much better handled (i appreciate we are only getting one side of the story here though), certainly an apology for the mistake made at the door, an opportunity to comply to the dress code (which obviously would be unlikely) and a couple of complementary drinks, rather then a “I think you may be more comfortable in the general area.” And i’d certainly hope that “the four male VRC officials stood behind the woman” is merely hyperbole on the part of the paper (which i’d assume it is).

                “but to argue that it was homophobic is an even bigger gamble ” Agreed, but i’m with Lord T on this that you play the cards you have. Not arguing the right or wrong of that, but feel that this (unfortunately) was their chosen way of “sticking it to the man”.

                “And if by chance the VRC turned round and said that actually, yes, they just don’t want gays there (which won’t happen of course) I’d support their right to chose their clientele, though I’d also be open about hoping the whole place burned down and that Father Christmas would shit in their socks.” 😆 Also agreed, and this is the point that does annoy me slightly – that if they did kick them out for being homosexuals then don’t hide behind a dress code.

              • November 9, 2011 at 2:29 am

                Dress code for the members areas doesn’t change…

                It may not but I haven’t seen anything definitive to that effect, and as I keep saying Cup Day is a bit special and it doesn’t seem impossible to me that there may be greater leniency. Or greater strictness for that matter. The point is we’re still not seeing any evidence that anyone straight did what they did and got away with it.

                i wasn’t posting them up to suggest that they were in the members area – more to show how ambiguous the dress code is – as those outfits could very easily be argued either way.

                If they’re not in the members’ pavilion there’s is no ambiguity or argument at all since the dress code for the pavilion doesn’t apply. We all know what bright coloured clothing looks like but it’s only relevant if any of these people were also allowed in and, unlike Bradley and Price, were not ejected.

                Not the same, infact the opposite as they were getting something that had been paid for removed.

                This is about terms and an initial error made by someone thinking you comply when in fact you don’t. That the compliance in this example involves money is not a substantive difference. It could be anything you like: a black tie event when you are not actually wearing a black tie, thinking you were part of a group that you’re not and letting you into someone else’s wedding reception (seen this one), all kinds of things. Does such a mistake entitle the person who’d gained entry to stay? Answer: no. They may be allowed but there’s no entitlement. Not even if they’d paid to be there but failed to comply in some other way.

                …the way in which they were ejected should have been much better handled…

                There’s no good way to handle these things. As reported it didn’t seem all that bad, though as you suggest four blokes to handle a couple of lads who look about 8 stone wringing wet and had shown no signs of aggression seems excessive… always assuming they were there for Bradley and Price only – too many unknowns there too. However, it’s not clear that Bradley is complaining about that rather than the fact of their ejection, and we don’t know that there was no apology or opportunity offered to comply with the code. What Bradley says was said to him doesn’t sound all that terse either: “She complimented us on our outfits, and said we were very on-trend…” Sounds like she was trying to be friendly about it. Could have been said bitchily but then surely that would have been mentioned.

                … i’m with Lord T on this that you play the cards you have. Not arguing the right or wrong of that, but feel that this (unfortunately) was their chosen way of “sticking it to the man”.

                If so, and I agree it may very well be so, then I think it was poorly played. Yelling “Oh, poor us, victimised for being gay” having been told to leave because you’re wearing bright jackets when the dress code says no bright suits is bluffing on a pair of fours IMO. Laughing and pointing and saying “Can you believe how fuddie-duddie these old farts are about clothing? Bless ’em, they’re nearly in the twentieth century now…” would resonate with more people because the VRC and the racing world generally is bloody old fashioned.

                … this is the point that does annoy me slightly – that if they did kick them out for being homosexuals then don’t hide behind a dress code.

                Agreed, but an unfortunate side effect of do-gooder thought crime legislation is that it doesn’t make prejudice go away, it just creates a motive to disguise it as something else. I very much doubt the VRC are prejudiced, with the possible exception of prejudice against the world not being Edwardian any more, but someone somewhere will be doing something that’s along the lines of hiding behind a dress code. I’d prefer them not to hide their prejudices, partly because if you’re not free to think and hold opinions you’re not fucking free full stop, but also because it’s easier to avoid what you can see clearly. Perversely, anti-discrimination laws work against that ideal.

        • November 8, 2011 at 11:56 am

          Paul:

          And how do you know that the three ladies in James Highams story were “militant gay rights activists” – I would have thought that a website that condones liberty would have argued that they were free to dress how the hell they wanted to.

          It was not the dress people were commenting on, it was the ostentatiousness and accompanying behaviour, as Julia referred to.

          • Paul Harrison
            November 8, 2011 at 5:02 pm

            In fairness though you original response makes absolutely no claim to the way in which they were behaving – simply on the way they were dressed. Infact even ostentatious refers to the way in which you perceive their dress – and again i’d imagine that ostentatious is a phrase that can most definitely apply to a fully kitted out punk.
            So what was it about their behaviour that caused resentment from everyone in the shop?

      • Thornavis.
        November 7, 2011 at 7:10 pm

        “That’s how liberty works – if people and businesses are to be free then they must be free to be arseholes and think, say and do things we might not like.”

        Individuals or private clubs are one thing but I’m really not so sure about businesses. How far do we want that to go, would it be OK for instance for a bus company to exclude people with a certain skin colour or make them sit in a specific part of the bus ? Yes businesses are free to trade with whoever they wish but if they discriminate against groups rather then individuals isn’t that a restraint of trade ? From a libertarian point of view if a person or group of people are denied a service or access to trade simply on the basis of who they are then isn’t this violating the harm principle ? I don’t think it’s enough to say that we are free to choose not to patronise that business, that’s a decision that only those not being discriminated against will be able contemplate objectively, what does the person thrown of the bus for having too much melanin do about getting to work ?

        • November 7, 2011 at 8:25 pm

          Let me turn the problem on its head. I’m in business and unless I’m going to starve I won’t do work for people who I know are, to put it crudely, cunts. In the interests of a fluffy, nice, equality loving society should I be forced by law to work for people who I find despicable? Should I kiss goodbye to my freedom to associate with whoever I want and likewise to avoid others? Personally I rate freedom of association right up there with free speech and free thought. So should I be forced to do a job for, let’s say, a homophobic, racist, Jew hating, Collingwood supporting Islamaloon who’ll spit on the ground I’ve walked on, or in the interests of balance Fred Phelps? Because if the law can force homophobe-Joe to do business with someone gay when he’d rather not then surely there’s no reason I can’t be forced to do business with someone that a far larger proportion of people would find despicable.

          Would it be okay for the bus company to exclude black people (let’s not pussyfoot around, we both know we’re in Rosa Parks territory here)? Morally no, but when it comes right down to it it’s their bus. We can’t legislate niceness without creating thought crime, and of course we have created thought crime. You asked how far do we go, and I’ll ask you the same – do we go so far as to pass law that prevents a bigoted company owner from winding his company up and selling the buses for scrap just to avoid those passengers he dislikes? Of course this applies only to private bus companies – completely different if it’s a tax funded public service, and I don’t know which applied to the bus Rosa Parks was on.

          Is a business discriminating against groups restraint of trade? I’m not sure if that’s a legal term but in a literal sense I don’t think so. Personally I don’t see groups and I refuse to recognise identity politics. People are okay or they are not, and I don’t want to work for the ones who are not. Now I suppose that really I am putting people into one of two groups and discriminating against one of them, but I can’t see it as restraint of trade. In fact wouldn’t making me work for them against my will be restraint rather than recognising my freedom to pick and choose?

          From a libertarian point of view if a person or group of people are denied a service or access to trade simply on the basis of who they are then isn’t this violating the harm principle ?

          If they were wholly denied access to a service then possibly, though it depends a lot on what it is. If you couldn’t find anyone to paint your portrait you haven’t had anything taken from you or been harmed in any way, you just wouldn’t have a portrait to hang on your wall. There is no right to portraiture, and you could replace portraiture with practically anything else. Probably there is some service that would qualify but I can’t think of one off the top of my head. In any case, it’s very unlikely that anyone would even be able to deny a group any access like that – how would they stop their competitors from taking advantage? You’d need a monopoly on force to deny access completely in the way you describe, and no individual or business has because the only monopoly on force lies with the state.

          …that’s a decision that only those not being discriminated against will be able contemplate objectively…

          I’m sorry but I can’t agree with that. For one thing I’m not on the receiving end of any discrimination (unless being called a pom every couple of months or so counts), but I’m perfectly able to decide not to do business with certain people or companies who discriminate against someone else. And that’s nothing special. How many people boycotted Unilever and other firms who were linked to apartheid South Africa? Bloody heaps. How many of them do you think were actual black South Africans on the receiving end of discriminatory policies? For another thing it sounds like you yourself have contemplated it objectively, though for all I know you’ve been on the receiving end of proper discrimination yourself (i.e. something more than being called a pom).

          Maybe it’s because we all experience rejection and discrimination in tiny ways at some point in our lives, but for whatever reason we’re capable of recognising when it’s happening to others. Having recognised it then it just comes down to deciding to say openly that it’s unfair and do something about it, like give the guy whose been chucked off the bus a lift and refuse to use the service yourself. If the VRC chose to be openly discriminatory towards gays – which of course they won’t because that’s already thought crime – then I’d be among those yelling that it was unfair, boycotting them and avoiding giving them money even indirectly if I can see far enough ahead, and encouraging others to do the same. What I would not do is campaign for the kind of anti-discrimination law that we actually ended up with because such legislation is a double edged sword. If someone else can be forced to act against their wishes for a noble reason then you or I can likewise be forced for a bad reason.

  5. james Higham
    November 7, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    The woman did have the grounds but I think that was fortuitous for her, in her eyes. I really do feel there was a bit of the anti-gay in there, to the extent that they themselves were being “ostentatiously” gay.

    An analogy to explain myself. I stepped out with a young lady last year who was gay. That meant I had no compunction about intimate situations, as nothing was ever going to happen. There was no way you’d know she was gay, especially as girls do have a habit of getting much closer to girls, even when quite hetero.

    Into our shop [where she helped] came three butch girls and they were all dressed and made-up to leave absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind about what they were. After they’d left, this young lady burst out laughing and said they were gross, those three. There’d been absolutely no need to shove it down the throats of everyone else in the shop and cause resentment.

    Those three would have immediately claimed the whole shop was homophobic. Actually nobody probably cared about the gayness per se but they cared very much about having this hypersensitivity distract them from what they were doing, i.e. shopping. It’s this whole self-entitlement and victimhood thing which gets me and turns me right against them. How many heteros do you see walking about wanting everyone to know they’re heteros? Sure new lovers carry on with each other but they’re scarcely caring about what anyone else is doing.

    That sort of thing with gays or any other minorities trying the victimhood bit and also that enticing majority I shan’t mention which has a rabid element which also does that – my reaction is Arkell v Pressdram. Noticed they were at it in droves outside the Miss World pageant.

    • November 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm

      Thing is I really don’t see their dress as being definitively gay. Bit flamboyant and peacock-ish, perhaps, but as Woman on a Raft pointed out it falls way short of The Only Gay In The Village territory, and you’d see much gayer outfits on Melbourne’s Pride March. In fact I’ve worn stuff not that much less loud than the bloke on the right, and in female company with which I was very well acquainted (nudge nudge, wink wink). I don’t think it was indicative of any inner gay side so much as bloody awful dress sense, which thankfully is something I don’t need to worry about anymore.

      But I agree about both the victimhood aspect and the almost aggressive ‘We’re gay, whatcha gonna do about it’ stance that some take. Again, the media have some blame in this. How often do you read something like so-and-so, who is openly gay, said yesterday…? I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen Senator Bob Brown referred to as being openly gay, and I’m quite certain I’ve never heard any other politician anywhere described as being openly straight. It’s being openly Green and possibly mad which worries me more about Bob Brown and his sexual preferences are a matter of supreme indifference to me. But typically he dresses smartly (standard [pollie) and I bet his normal dark suits would have been just fine with the VRC despite his oft-repeated to the point of being boring openly gayness.

    • Paul Harrison
      November 7, 2011 at 4:32 pm

      James Higham – I’ve got to ask, is your post actually serious?

      “There’d been absolutely no need to shove it down the throats of everyone else in the shop and cause resentment.”

      Cause resentment? If they’d dressed as punks thereby declaring their love for punk music would you have felt resentment. If they had dressed as goths, new romantics, orthodox jews or girl guides would you have felt resentment? Why would the way they dress cause resentment – unless of course the feelings towards them had nothing to do with the way they were dressed and more to do with their sexuality. And how are they shoving it down your throat – should I bemoan every man I see in a football shirt for ramming their beliefs down my throat?

      “Those three would have immediately claimed the whole shop was homophobic” – hang on, what on earth do you base this on. You have no idea how they would have reacted because the event never occurred. Would they have reacted badly – probably, but then if you’d burst out laughing at a bunch of punks they probably wouldn’t react great either.

      “It’s this whole self-entitlement and victimhood thing which gets me and turns me right against them”

      Errr what “victimhood and self entitlement” are you talking about here. They dressed like lesbains, thereby identifying themselves with a group – much in the same way as punks, goths, girl guides etc! There was no “victimhood and self entitlement” here except for them walking into a shop and you jumping to a huge conclusion as to how they would react should everyone in the shop laugh at them.

      “How many heteros do you see walking about wanting everyone to know they’re hetero’s?” Yeah, I never ever see any heterosexual couples holding hands in the street or showing public affection of any kind like hugging – and lets not forget all those damn hetero’s showing off their wedding rings – and some even have the liberty to push prams down the road containing the results of their wanton heterosexuality – the liberty of it!!!!

      • November 8, 2011 at 5:54 am

        “Why would the way they dress cause resentment …”

        Perhaps because that’s the aim of some of the more militant gay rights advocates…?

        It’s why civil partnerships don’t suit them, they insist on marriage.

        ‘Frighting the heteros’ is the very point, for a small but far, far too vociferous minority.

        • Paul Harrison
          November 8, 2011 at 7:59 am

          “Perhaps because that’s the aim of some of the more militant gay rights advocates…?”

          And the same can be said of punks, goths etc etc.
          And how do you know that the three ladies in James Highams story were “militant gay rights activists” – I would have thought that a website that condones liberty would have argued that they were free to dress how the hell they wanted to.

          “It’s why civil partnerships don’t suit them, they insist on marriage.”
          I don’t get what you are saying here – are you saying that homosexuals fight for the right for marriage in order to cause resentment? That the sole aim of their campaign is not to achieve equal rights to heterosexuals but to create animosity with them?

          “‘Frighting the heteros’ is the very point, for a small but far, far too vociferous minority”

          Which would be a small and a vociferous minority of a minority group – as opposed to the small and vociferous number of homophobics of a majority group, every group has its extremists, and lumping gays or lesbians with this extreme because of how they dress is as ridiculous as grouping me with skinheads if i had a crew cut or my wife with the hardcore catholics simply because she goes to church.

      • November 8, 2011 at 11:57 am

        Paul, I just answered this above on your other comment.

  6. Chuckles
    November 7, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Bit like the Woolamaloo Faculty Rules then?

  7. November 8, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    My view is that in general, I don’t like dress codes with few exceptions. One being customer facing staff. In general, their gaff, their rules apply and I will eschew places that try to tell me how I should dress.

    In this case, there seems to be differences in interpretations – which is one of the problems with the damned things. The doorman clearly thought that a red jacket did not contravene the code, whereas someone else did. This means that the code is poorly drafted and the employees not properly briefed about what applies.

    It’s just a shame the complainant had to play the gay card. Not necessary at all.

    • Lord T
      November 8, 2011 at 1:06 pm

      You play the cards you thin are going to win. That is true in everything.

      The homo card is a powerful one.

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