Homestate Shame

Bigotry lives on: Gay couple barred from dancing in Texas country bar

Bigotry lives on: Gay couple barred from dancing in Texas country bar

Justin Meyer and James Douglas
Justin Meyer and James Douglas were told to leave the Cactus Canyon nightclub in Victoria, Texas, after they danced together to a country song. Photo courtesy of KAVU
Cactus
A Cactus Canyon spokesperson claims the couple was kicked out for being disruptive. Courtesy photo
Justin Meyer and James Douglas
Cactus

After being ejected from a nightclub in Victoria, Texas, last weekend, a young gay couple is trying to fight back against bigotry. Twenty-one-year-old Justin Meyer and his boyfriend, 30-year-old James Douglas, were simply dancing to a country song at the Cactus Canyon Club when the couple was told by management that it was against club policy for two men to dance together to country music.

"He told me they have a policy that states that they don't allow males to dance with males to country songs," Douglas told KAVU-TV. "I said, 'Just country?' and he said, 'Yes.'" 

 "It's not acceptable for men to dance together in the type of business that we run," said club spokesperson Roger Gearhart.

The pair proceeded to close their bar tab and asked management for proof of the bar's policy, a request that was denied. The bar manager insisted this is when a confrontation took place — although Meyer vehemently denied it — and that confrontation was the reason the couple was asked to leave and issued a "no trespassing" warning.

Roger Gearhart, a corporate spokesperson for Cactus Canyon, said there is a policy prohibiting men from dancing together, but the couple was asked to leave for being confrontational and disruptive and not because of their orientation.

"For many decades, it's acceptable for women to dance together in all kinds of clubs, but it's not acceptable for men to dance together in the type of business that we run," Gearhart told KAVU.

The openly gay couple said they were discriminated against for their sexual orientation. "Why should we feel like we are afraid to go out in public just because of the way we were born?" Douglas asked.

This incident is just the latest high-profile incident of its kind.

A Chicago taxi driver told a kissing gay couple to get out of his vehicle in October, as detailed by the Chicago Tribune.

A janitor at an Oklahoma Walmart asked a gay couple to leave while they were buying cookies, according to a report by the Express-Star in Chickasha. The janitor was soon fired.

A country bar in San Antonio kicked out a gay couple for dancing and cited the same "safety reasons" provided by Cactus Canyon, according to QSanAntonio.

Meyer said he had been visiting Cactus Canyon since he was 18. "I'm just kind of shocked," he said. "They know my face, I've been here hundreds of times and it was just really hurtful that we couldn't dance together."