Calls for The Court Hotel to remove rainbow signage

Members of the local LGBTIQ+ community have voiced their frustration about safety at The Court Hotel with an online petition calling on the venue to take action gaining hundreds of signatories within a few hours of it being launched.

The petition at Change.org calls on the long standing queer venue to take action over concerns that the pub is no longer a safe space for LGBTIQ+ people. The founder of the petition suggests an alternative course of action would be to remove the rainbow branding from the pub’s frontage.

Those signing the petition share their experiences of being abused and mocked about their sexuality inside the venue.

“The court has been over run with homophobic idiots” one commenter posted, “It is not ok to be alienated in place that was supposed to be a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community. They don’t deserve to have that rainbow flag anymore.” said another.

Among the long list of concerns patrons raised was other patrons policing transgender people going to the bathroom, patrons videoing same-sex couples on their phones, and people being physically assaulted by other patrons.

Patrons complain that since the venue underwent its multi-million dollar renovations it has become the most popular venue in town and has attracted a new crowd who come to the venue to peer at the club’s queer clientele. Several patrons comment that when attending the venue they feel like they are part of an exhibition.

Neil O’Connor, the General Manager of The Court, said the venue was aware of patrons concerns and were implementing a number of strategies.

“We’ve noticed a few of you have expressed frustration recently at how some new patrons have come in to our amazing venue but not respected the values that we stand for including celebration, respect and a love for diversity.” O’Connor said in a statement.

“We’ve listened to you. The entire team here is committed to your safety and enjoyment while in this venue regardless of gender or sexuality. We know the renovations have attracted a larger crowd but we can’t as some have suggested (and won’t) discriminate at the door due to anyone’s sexuality (plus we’re not that arrogant to suggest we’d get it right all the time!).

O’Connor listed a number of initiatives the venue would be implementing.

At the top of the list is the introduction of RSA officers, O’Connor explained RSA stood for Rainbows, Safety and Attitude, saying dedicated team members, who will be highly visible at the venue, will be deployed.

“Please go to one of these officers if you experience any anti-social behaviour and they will immediately assist you.” O’Connor said.

The venue also offered a new, highly visible code of conduct to be posted at their doors for people to read as they walk in, and added that they have increased the number of security employed at the venue and given them all bright pink vests to make them easily seen.

“If someone does make an inappropriate comment to you please do not retaliate. Our RSA Officers and Crowd Controllers are the best people to manage the situation and remove the person in question (we are very good at giving etiquette lessons outside)!” O’Connor said.

“This venue means the world to us and many of the community but we can only do so much alone. What makes the venue amazing are all of you beautiful people reveling in the freedom to be your true selves. If anyone doesn’t respect this freedom, tell us and they will not be welcome back in our venue.”

Complaints about safety issues at the venue have been made over many months and the venue has removed the ability for people to rate the venue from its Facebook page, or post comments to the venue’s page.

The venue however continues to attract ratings on Google Reviews with a string of recent comments scoring the long running pub just one star, on a five star rating system.

Graeme Watson


 

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