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Bouncer at London venue refused entry to man in heels because they ‘don’t accept femininity’

Pavel Vacek was wearing high heels to practice for the Gay Men's Dance Company

By Steve Brown

A bouncer allegedly refused to allow a man wearing heels into a gay club because they “don’t accept femininity”.

Pavel Vacek and his friends take classes with the Gay Men’s Dance Company (GMDC) and one class involved dancing in high heels, so he thought he would wear the shoes for a night out and attempted to get into the London venue XXL.

However, the muscled ex-model was turned away from the venue – which caters for the bear community in the UK capital – because he was too feminine despite there being no dress code on the website.

He told Gay Star News: “It’s not something you do every day. I bought them a year ago, and I’ve only worn them once.

“When you have heels on, people look at you. It’s something special, and something different from trainers. I think they’re hot.

“It wasn’t aggressive. He said it was club policy that you can’t wear make-up, wigs, high heels or anyone feminine. He said: ‘We don’t allow femininity’.

“I think he was just doing his job. I was upset of course but I wasn’t blaming the bouncer. It’s just the general attitude of the club.

“If you wear heels, it doesn’t mean you’re feminine. Who says heels are just for women? You can be masculine and super buff and wear heels. I think it’s sexier. It’s not a written rule.”

Following on from his experience, he has vowed never to return to the venue because of the strict rules.

“I’m quite open-minded and I like open-minded environments. If there’s strict rules for something, I don’t like it.”

Alex Scurr, the founder of the GMDC, defended Vacek and said he has seen a variety of people in the venue which is normally “inclusive and friendly”.

He said: “XXL and any similar places should, one, consider making any rules more visible on their website, and two, be very careful about any reasons given for denying entry.

“Saying somebody is or looks “too feminine” is a slippery slope. Why does one item of clothing instantly make someone feminine?

“XXL is a large and well-known business. It has a responsibility within the LGBTI+ community.

“They should know better than to judge or comment on ridiculous and toxic stereotypes of masculinity.

“They run of the risk of ostracizing and excluding a lot of people. In my opinion, it goes against what the club is about.

“We are never going to get full equality or acceptance from those outside our community if we don’t first accept the people inside our community.”