Blacks charge bias at baths

Original Format



Feb. 3-17,1977 NewsWest 7
Blacks Charge
Bias at Baths
Rights Commission in this
cily is currently investigating a
complaint concerning racial discrimination
at a gay male bath
house, after initial checks appeared
to boar out the complaint,
according to HRC's Larry Groth. .
The Club Barracks on Sansome
Street here is involved,
with allegations of complaints
from some members that the
clientele was becoming "too
d a r k . " HRC reports indicate that
as a result' the management
introduced a policy of requiring
blacks to fill out an application
Cashiers reportedly size up
applicants before accepting them
• for membership and "probably
exceptionally good-looking black
men a r c still given membership,"
according to Philnde/phin Gay
But most black applicants
have reportedly been told that
their applications may take "up
to a month to process," according
to Groth.
Dennis Howling, general field
manager of the Club Barracks,
denied any discrimination, but
slated that membership policies
have been tightened up recently
in the wake of petty thefts. In
September the discovery of an
allegedly stolen wallet led to the
barring of a black man from the
As a "security measure" Dowling
savs the Barracks is now
s t r i d o r in requiring that all prospective
members have a member
sponsor them or requiring
that they present membership
cards from" other baths.
As a private club, the Barracks
is theoretically entitled to
discriminate on any basis it
wishes to and Dowling states
that the Barracks does reject
prospective members whom it
believes would not be "an asset
to the club."
The application form, however,
which Dowling prepared
himself, states that "This club
does not discriminate on the
basis of race, creed, nationality
or sexual preference."
IIRC's Groth believes that the
Barracks' claim to bo a private
club might not stand up in court,
since their membership foe is low
compared with the charge for a
single visit. The annual Barracks
fee is $10. and the charge for a
room on most nights is $8. By
contrast the YMCA charges 15
cents per visit after an annual
$I(K) lee.
HRC reports also contend that
(he Barracks cashiers have been
instructed to screen out tin; "old
and the ugly." The HRC has not
yet investigated this charge,
which could be a further violation
of state law.



“Blacks charge bias at baths,” Rainbow History Project Digital Collections, accessed May 29, 2024,

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