Two male Oxford students were allegedly told to stop kissing by a bouncer in Lava & Ignite Nightclub on Wednesday 4th March.
According to one of the students involved, who wishes to remain anonymous, the bouncer then proceeded to watch the two for the rest of their time on the EDM floor, which the student presumed was an effort “to make sure we wouldn’t carry on” and left both feeling “very uncomfortable”.
The student told Cherwell, “Around an hour or so into the night, I began to kiss another male near the bar stools at the side of the EDM floor upstairs, near the entrance to the toilets. A bouncer came over, pulled me away from the guy by my shoulder, shook his head and quite bluntly just said “no”, indicating we should stop what we were doing. This was in spite of the fact that there was a heterosexual couple doing exactly the same thing almost directly next to us.
“As he walked away, we were astonished at what had just happened and it was quickly condemned by witnesses nearby who said how inappropriate and out of order it was. Nobody seemed to have a problem with it but him.”
Following the incident, the student emailed Lava & Ignite Oxford to report the bouncer’s behaviour, stating, “As a nightclub who regularly serves Oxford University students – a university which prides itself on accepting and celebrating people from of all sexual orientations, I feel your establishment should be ensuring at all times that your staff are behaving appropriately and respectfully to everyone who provides you custom.”
In response to the allegations, Lava & Ignite Oxford Nightclub told Cherwell, “We would like to apologise for any offence that may have been caused. Lava & Ignite is a well-run, professional venue and our main priority is to ensure that all of our guests have a great night out.
“We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind and would like to stress that this is an isolated complaint. We are currently conducting a thorough investigation into this allegation with the company that provides our door teams and will, if necessary, take appropriate action.”
When describing the impact of the incident, the student commented, “This incident is upsetting for me for many reasons, one of which is the fact that I have only been openly bisexual for two months so this is the first act of discrimination I’ve experienced based on my sexuality.
“This incident is also only representative of the wider problem of homophobia from bouncers in Oxford and elsewhere. It is shocking that this sort of discrimination is still occurring at all, let alone in places like nightclubs which should be openly accepting of people of all sexual orientations.”
These allegations follow an incident in The Cellar Nightclub on 26th February, where two gay Oxford students were the victims of homophobic abuse.
Undergraduate Ally Pugh, who witnessed the event, commented, “I feel it was probably the bigotry of a single bouncer rather than the policy of Park End, but shouldn’t they have some kind of training or policy for their staff to make sure they don’t discriminate like this? It’s so unfair.
“It’s also shocking that the bouncers feel they can abuse their power like this – none of us were really in a state to do anything about it at the time, because had we said anything, I’m sure we would have been asked to leave.”
Rowan Davis, the Trans Rep for the LGBTQ Society and a member of its committee, said, “The repeated actions of clubs in Oxford towards LGBTQIA members of our community is representative of a wider queerphobia in this city and I strongly encourage people to get involved with the work that the LGBTQ Campaign and the LGBTQ Society is doing to stamp this out.
“We deserve to be able to go out and have a good time just as much as any of our cisgender, heterosexual friends and I hope that people continue to speak out about this important issue. As a side note if this happens to you and you feel up to it, please get in contact with the LGBTQ Society so that we can continue to fight this.”
Anyone involved in similar incidents can contact Oxford Friend LGBT Support on 01865 726893 and Nightline on 01865 270270.