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Open Letter to Menz Bar Management

by Community members

June 20th, 2014

To the Management of Menz and Mollyz Bar:

We are writing this open letter to express our surprise, disappointment, and outrage at the prison-themed event you have organized for June 27th (‘Bad Boyz - Jail & Bail Charity Fundraiser’). The Facebook event description reads: “It can get awfully lonely when doing time and people have needs. We'll be making a makeshift holding cell to hold our jailbirds and will have some sexy deputies around the bar accepting bribes to have your friends thrown in the slammer to do some HARD time.” Further, there was a comment (since removed) from the bar’s official Facebook profile on the event page that read “Just don’t drop the soap.” Further comments from community members expressing concern have also been removed, which we find troubling.

It is unacceptable to us that an event hosted by and for queer people is deliberately romanticizing and sexualizing prisons and policing without any acknowledgement of how alienating and unwelcoming such a theme can be. Queer and trans* people are disproportionately targeted by police and experience overwhelming levels of police brutality, violence, harassment, and imprisonment. Furthermore, the people most likely to experience police-related violence and imprisonment are trans* people, trans women, people of colour, and Indigenous peoples. The portrayal of prisons and policing as simply a fun party theme both trivializes the violence inherent in the prison system and reinforces the relative privilege and comfort that white, cisgender queer people have when it comes to these issues.

It is also unacceptable to trivialize and eroticize rape as a way of promoting this event, especially when queer and trans* people experience significantly higher rates of sexual assault and abuse than the general population (both in and out of prison). Rape jokes uphold rape culture and that is not something we are willing to accept in our community.

While prisons, police, jail, and consensual non-consent scenarios can be elements of fantasy, kink and / or sexuality for many people, we object to the standardization of these themes without context or discussion. The portrayal of prison and rape as simply a fun and sexy fundraiser theme erases the voice of survivors of sexual assault and police brutality and further demeans their experience, something that happens far too often in society and should not be replicated in our queer community.

We feel unwelcome at and alienated by this event, and we are saddened to see it happening.

We call on you to hold an alternative event and issue a statement of accountability addressing these issues. We expect better.



Sophia Godsoe

Jacqueline Vincent (member, Rad Pride Collective)

Jude Ashburn (member, Rad Pride Collective, Sad Rad Collective member, Queer Peers member, and Outreach Coordinator at the South House Sexual and Gender Resource Centre)

Jean Ketterling (Admin and Volunteer Coordinator at the South House Sexual and Gender Resource Centre)

Shayna George

Alexandra Killham

Ann Harvey

Katerina Stein

Elyssa Canning

Holly Lobsinger

Beck Gilmer-Osborne

Ben Douwsma

Trina Conrad

Ewa Carter

Rebecca Rose (Former NSRAP Board of Directors and former Dyke and Trans* March organizing committee member)

Jillian Stagg

Emily Davidson

Elizabeth O'Brien

Kaleigh Trace

Mynah Meagher

Lindsay Miller

Jordan Roberts

Ruth Vollick

Laura Shepherd

Megg Cooper

Robyn Letson

Hannah Milley, Rad Pride Collective, member of South House Sexual and Gender Resource Centre Board of Directors

Su Donovaro

Lindsay Dauphinee

Justin Lees

Alia Saied

Jean Catherine Steinberg

Margot Durling

Christine Ollier

Jess Geddes

Adrienne Richey

Michael Phillips
Madison Foster

Abbey Ferguson- President of Mount Pride

Emerson Roach

Shila LeBlanc

Madeline Mitchell

Dan Hayward

Hannah Davison

Krista Kirby

Eva Burrill

Kiersten Holden

Elise Boudreau Graham, DSU Equity and Accessibility Office

Jeanne Fay, Executive Coordinator of Second Story Women's Centre

Matty Ellis

Lee Staples, President-OUTLaw Society, Vice President External- Law Students’ Society Schulich School of Law

Stella Samuels

Devon Berquist

Mary Burnet

Harry Makohoniuk (Rad Pride Collective Member, South House Board of Directors Chair)

Rachel Fudge

Lisa Garrett

Joanne Ansell (Monthly guest DJ at your establishment)
Evan Coole

Megan Best

El Jones

Shay Enxuga

Nicholas Hughes

Julia Kemp

Brittany Long

Carmella Farahbakhsh

Anna Taylor

Raghed Charabaty

lavender menace

Vixie Brown


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