Sunday, April 02, 2006


Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside


It has come to my attention that the gay male owners of local steambath chain F212 are opening up an exclusive gay hotel for gay men only. This is advertised on their website

My concern is as follows. Gay and Lesbians can travel to any hotel anywhere in the world and not be discriminated against. In fact, travel agencies and much of the corporate sector target the gay community for its financial clout.

So why would two gay men want to convert a hotel, which may quite possibly be an SRO hotel for poor people and change it for the exclusive domain of gay male tourists?

Have we not moved beyond segregation in our society? I sure hope we have. And I think it inappropriate for a city licensed venue to advertise 'for whites only' or 'no indians or yellows allowed'. In fact once upon a time black people were not allowed in white hotels. The F212 is advertising a hotel for "gay men only" and to me this ranks right up there with the historical WRONGS OF THE PAST.

I am CONCERNED because we have fought for justice so nobody in society is rejected or harmed because of bigotry or intolerance. Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms is built on the values of respect, diversity, tolerance and equality.

So is a segment of the gay community going to far in wanting a public hotel to be changed for their exclusive use? Obviously, this is a business decision in time to capitalize on Vancouver/Whistler hosting the 2010 Olympics and this disturbs me.

My hope is that Vancouver has moved far beyond exclusionist and regressive social policies. We recently elected a Mayor who is confined to a wheelchair and this promotes to the rest of the world what a progressive city we are. At the recent Turin Olympics, our Mayor, Sam Sullivan, shone. He did so because, he is disabled and this did not matter to our Vancouver citizenry, who elected him. Everyone is talking about our Mayor and this has showcased Vancouver in a very positive light.

I think it problematic if people are kicked out of their SRO homes for a conversion to a tourist hotel and this will mark Vancouver with a black eye. And to have gay men leading this is terribly sad.

Disclaimer--while I do not have proof that the Hotel being opened by the owners of F212 is an SRO, this avenue must be explored since one of their gay male bathhouses is located in the basement of an SRO on Granville street. There is an anti-conversion bylaw in place but owners can opt out after paying a $5,000 per room fee. This will happen frequently as we move closer to 2010.

I will continue to follow this story since the gay press (XtraWest is doing nothing on it). It should be noted that F212 is one of XtraWest biggest advertisers.

Jamie Lee Hamilton


At 2:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You'll find that one of the owners (Bill) spends half the year in Mexico now and Michael is still around being nasty as ever taking care of that habit of his (sniff sniff).
My feeling from the gay community here is that they don't really give a shit about them opening up a 'gay' hotel, its actually quite a joke. As in why bother? Not such exciting news.
From what I understand too, attendance is down at their bathhouses as people are so bored with what they are offering in terms of their prices and membership hassles and M2M especially is being tauted as Meth Central and Bareback Central.
Now that they are the only game in town, guess they don't care what people think.

At 4:09 PM, Anonymous Thomas said...

I work in advertising, I can tell you that the images they use are not those that they own.
Also, I don't think they are that big of a contributor to XtraWest, they seem to have only started advertising again in the month of March, just like last year.
Their ad space purchased would only be about $700 every two weeks.
I think the hotel should be used for better purposes also, I would like to suggest starting an online petition and submitting it to the city.

At 3:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lesbian community frequently excludes gay men from their events under the claim of 'created a women-only' space.

What's wrong with having a male-only space? Why the double standard?

At 3:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is being overlooked is the simple fact that there is an apparent need for such an establishment. The activities that will be or are hopes will be performed at this (supposedly)all male hotel are those which others (being not in the same cultural cirle) may disaprove of and condemn. Becuase there are men that wish to engage in these activities and because there needs to be a venue for the said activities, such a conversion is logical.
As to the supposed discrimination or segregation propagated by this action. A simple solution is suggested. GET A LIFE. Not every event is nor should it be open to all memebers of a aggregate of people (lets call said aggregate Society). There are events to which i ahve no access because i am not part of a social/political/religious or other circle. There are things that i am excluded from becaue i donot wish to participate or want to exlude others because I do not wish to see others participate (for whatever personal reasons).
If the owners of F212 have the money and the clientel to put together such a business on private property, then who are you to critisise their chosen use of their property. The problem of spaces for the poor is not solved by imposing it upon private business, but should be addressed on teh government lever by those elected to serve the good of society (all of it) not only those with money who support campaigns. Low income housing is a provincial/municipal responsiblity, not the business owners.
Perhaps you would like to think your comments through a little better next time.

At 4:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with the writer above...
We have won rights in our community as all communities have but with these rights there are still spaces that are exclusive for perticular reasons, either cultural, religion and personal. It is when you mix people who should not be mixed is when you get homophobia, bashing and overall troubles. Besides we live in a free market economy, if guys don't want the space, then it will not be successful....

At 4:21 PM, Blogger Jamie Lee Hamilton said...

Well all this is redundant now as the market forces ensured the clusure of this hotel. The gay community has spoken.

At 5:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although the marriage of gay young boyshas been legalized in Canada,
we need only remember that Aaron Webster murdered only six
years ago in Stanley Park.What's more, homophobia takes on
a number of different forms, some not so obvious, some internalized, some very subtle.


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