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Stamp out homophobia in Cambridge

The following letter, denouncing homophobic discrimination at the Balare club in Cambridge, has been sent to the club, Varsity, TCS and various student committees, whilst the incident has been reported to the police. The campaign has won support from the Cambridge University Student Union LBGT executive, and from the majority of students at Jesus College, gaining 150 signatures in one night alone.

To the Management

We attended your ‘Rumboogie’ night on Wednesday 2nd March, which we have previously enjoyed very much. Unfortunately on this occasion we were not able to enjoy our evening to the same extent. We noticed on at least two occasions your bouncers forcibly intervening to separate gay couples from dancing and kissing, which was not the case with respect to heterosexual couples. On the first occasion, some time between 11:15 and 11:30, a gay couple kissing were pointed at and broken up by bouncers previously standing at the second set of open doors. Several of our friends observed a second occasion taking place on the dance floor. A different gay couple were dancing and once again the bouncers intervened to prevent this.

We would like to draw your attention to Article 8 (The Right to Respect for Private and Family Life) of the European Convention on Human Rights enforced in the United Kingdom under the Human Rights Act 1998:

‘Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence’.

And in addition Article 14, the Prohibition of Discrimination, which provides that:

‘The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.’

Whilst we are aware that this only applies directly to public authorities the inferences are quite clear, in that these principles should be respected by all citizens.

Obviously these incidents constitute deplorable behaviour on the part of your bouncers, and as a result reflects badly on your establishment, as we are sure you will agree. Although we hope these were isolated incidents we expect suitable measures to be taken to ensure no repetition of this occurs. We are sure that a letter of apology to CUSU, LBGT (Cambridge University Student Union, LesBiGayTrans) and a review of your guidelines with regards to security would go a long way in restoring our confidence in Balare nightclub.

Please find attached a list of signatures in support. A copy of this letter will be forwarded to all the college student unions, CUSU LBGT, Varsity and TCS newspapers. Furthermore since this evening was supported by the Hawks club they will receive a copy. We look forward to receiving your acknowledgement of receipt of this letter.

Yours faithfully

Mark Fletcher (Welfare Officer)
Georgia McCollum
Gemma Woolley
Michael Flood
Michael Talbot
Martha Stickings
Louise Wallace
Charlie Williamson
Julian Santos



March 2005


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