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Ga. Gay Bar Dress Code Sparks Talk Of LGBT Community Racism

Atlanta gay bar, Blake's on the Park, was accused of racism after a flyer with a new dress code was posted in the bar's entryway last week. Blake's has apologized and said the list was a mistake.
Atlanta gay bar, Blake's on the Park, was accused of racism after a flyer with a new dress code was posted in the bar's entryway last week. Blake's has apologized and said the list was a mistake.
Credit Alison Guillory / WABE

An Atlanta gay bar is at the center of a controversy over a dress code flyer.

The flyer, which appeared briefly in the entranceway at Blake’s on the Park last week, listed about 15 different items of dress that would not be allowed in the club – including baggy pants, hoodies, sunglasses, big chains and big medallions and more.

The sign quickly sparked intense and inflammatory comments on social media. Some people applauded the management’s dress code decision. Others charged that the items on the list profiled and targeted African Americans in the LGBT community.

The immediate reaction was “outrage,” said Patrick Saunders, the interim editor of the publication “Georgia Voice” during an interview on “A Closer Look.”

Saunders said at first very few people spoke out in favor of the sign, but soon he began to see support for the dress code. He said about half the responses accused the bar of racism, while the other half supported a business’ ability to establish a dress code.

LGBT community activist Greg Smith said, also on “A Closer Look,” he was “bewildered” by the sign.

“It was something that was not thought out,” he said.

Smith acknowledged there are race issues within the LGBT community, but he said it’s not a topic that’s often discussed in a public forum.

“We try not to air our dirty laundry out in the streets,” he said, adding that there was a complexity to it. 

The dress code was taken down by the following day and Blake’s issued an apology on Facebook. The bar’s management said creating a dress code was an effort at improving safety at the club and to “curb the presence of unidentifiable individuals within the establishment.”

The Facebook post also said the list was “prematurely posted,” without the editing that the management had planned. “We apologize to anyone who was offended by the error,” the post said.

WABE’s Rose Scott and Denis O’Hayer contributed to this report.