Have you ever felt short-changed by the Gay Business Association’s endless perpetuation of the so called “Pink Pound”?
It’s a seductive concept: the idea of a mass of issue-conscious, gay, lesbian and bisexual consumers, capable of (and willing to) exercise their purchasing power to the detriment of businesses that hurt queers … it’s certainly something we’d all like to believe in.
But just look, the ambivalent pattern of consumer spending behaviour within our community — it’s not exactly inspiring, is it?
For example, the apparent lack of anything more than passive queer concern over Time Out’s exposure of staff sexual abuse allegations against Compton’s of Soho manager, George Winchcole, makes a mockery out of the notion of a conscientious “pink pound”; it also casts doubt upon the existence of a genuine, gay, lesbian and bisexual “community”.
If these two things really existed, surely queers would have diverted their custom and expenditure away from a bar that has acquired such an unpleasant reputation.
Sure they would – but they haven’t. Compton’s has consistently been as packed as ever since the allegations first emerged, and the free queer press has (at best) treated the issue as a wholly peripheral news story — a sorry spectacle that illustrates the shameful extent to which they are tucked inside the bar owner’s pockets. The queer press only responded once the story became impossible to ignore. Without Time Out the story would have probably never seen the light of day.
It’s fucking disgraceful, and radical queers must not be afraid to look critically at things that emanate from the (ultimately self interested) GBA, instead of from queer subculture in its far broader sense.
The truth is the “pink pound” protagonists will sell us short every time in the name of a big, fat pink profit; and the wall of silence that initially surrounded the Compton’s fiasco illustrates this far better than words ever could.
OutRage! calls on the GBA to draw up a code of conduct opposing sexual harassment in the workplace (including an independent complaints procedure) and require all its member businesses to sign it.
We also call for the formation of a union for employees working in Gay Businesses to protect their interests against greedy, exploitative employers. We suggest BUGGER – the British Union for Good Gay Employees’ Rights.