ShirtlessnessDebate

DanielMacKay writes: I don't have time to write a complete OR NeutralPointOfView story so here's the reader's digest version as I understand it:

    1. The shirtless men's camp said, "Too bad, women, but we'll keep doing the shirtless thing."
    2. An enthusiastic and militant camp said "Women, continue to go shirtless, we will fight the evil Liquor Licensing Board." (despite this being impossible, see repeated message above)
    3. Cooler heads pointed out that if the bar was not allowed to sell liquor there would be no money to fight anything even if it could (which it couldn't) and very shortly, no bar either; the mortgage on 2112 Gottingen St was paid hand to mouth, so to speak, by liquor sales.
    4. Yet other people said, "If the women can't go shirtless, the men shouldn't be able to either."

These groups tore at each other mercilessly, sapping the limited energy of GaeGala, until the organization, and the bar, wound down in late 1994.


Lynn Murphy writes : Cap'n Dan and I don't always agree, but I think his masterly breakdown of the four (or five!) camps really captures the spirit of the time. I was in camp 2, 3, or 4 at different times during the development of this crisis, and sometimes more than one camp at a time. I have found myself writing and deleting more on this issue for the past hour : even now I think it underlies rifts between gay men and lesbian/feminists in this community.

This page is part of the HistoryProject.


In 2002 someone writes: "The whole thing seems pretty pointless now, since recently, there was a bar full of many dozen shirtless guys, shirted guys, and gals, all getting sprayed with water, while simulated acts of (heterosexual) copulation were being performed on stage... My, how times change." DanielMacKay comments: "You are probably referring to an event at Reflections. In Nova Scotia, patrons (of either sex) of liquor establishments may not show their nipples. How these things happen regularly at Reflections should be the subject of another page."


In May 2004 someone writes: I'm not convinced that you can't fight the NSLLB. Wouldn't the bureacrats love us all if we sat down and never questioned or fought their sometimes silly rules. If you really wanted to push issues with regards to the NSLLB then the Palace is one place to point out - they aren't a nude bar but get away with hosting underwear contest for guys and bikini contest for the ladies. Of course most of the people wear white clothing and "somehow" manage to get sprayed with liquids... and we all know what happens to white material when wet.

If no one ever questioned the action of politicians we'd still have slavery, being gay would still be a mental illness, women would be stuck in kitchens (barefoot and pregnant) and not allowed to work or vote, etc etc. If you want to sit back and be politically correct by letting the politicians run over you on issues then fine. But you can't complain when you don't contest the rules to bring NS into the year 2004.

CapnDan responds: read the transaction above. Put yourself in the bar owner's position. You have a bar that puts bread on your table and that of your ten or twenty staff and their families. Are you likely to want to break the rules and be shut down, take it to court, and change the world? If you have enough money to pay your rent, your staff and yourself while you're shut down, and your loyal customers will come back months or years later when you've won the fight - absolutely!

You know the bar owner could certainly get his/her customers to push for the changes to the Act. I'm not saying the bar owner should be breaking the rules but he/she and his/her customers could certainly make a stand to the NSLLB. Let them try to shut down a gay establishment for legally questioning the rules while the straight joints down the road get to break the rules (read the ads in the Coast and DAL paper and see that they advertise these gimics) without even a slap on the hand from the NSLLB.

A petition at the bar for people to sign, a letter writing campaign, pressure at election time on candidates or even getting on the Board when they advertise for members can all have an effect and show that the rules should be changed as we (society in general) progress. This isn't the 1800's and its about time the NSLLB members actually loosen their ties and allow blood to circulate to the brain so they can understand how progressive laws can add to enjoyment of the bars while still allowing the NSLLB to regulate to a certain extent.

CapnDan responds: all great ideas! Let's do it!