Two women have accused a hotel in Chennai of homophobic treatment as they were asked to leave the premises on Saturday night. The hotel has denied the charges claiming that the women were indulging in 'inappropriate behaviour', according to The Hindu.
Rasika Gopalakrishnan and her girlfriend Shivangi Singh were at The Slate Hotels on Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Chennai, when they were asked to leave.
According to the reports, the couple said that they were doing nothing 'inappropriate' and they were targeted perhaps because Rasika is 'visibly queer' i.e. her clothes and hairstyle do not adhere to the conventional gender norms.
They further added that they were being lecherously stared at, at the bar. When they moved to the dance floor, the stares did not stop.
Amid all this, Shivangi fell sick and the two of them went to the washroom. According to their account, within 5 seconds, 2 bouncers and one female staff started banging on their washroom door, demanding them to immediately step outside.
In less than five seconds, we heard frantic knocks at the door, accompanied by both male and female voices demanding that we immediately step out. It frightened me to hear this, and I felt safer inside the cubicle than outside it. We stepped out, scared, trembling. One woman and two male bouncers were standing right outside the stall, with two other male bouncers lining the way out of the washroom. One of the male bouncers shouted at us, and said, ‘What were you doing in there?’ I replied, ‘I was helping my friend out, she was feeling sick.’ He never stopped to listen to us, and his immediate response was, ‘Were you helping your friend or were you doing something else?
Rasika later posted about their traumatic experience on social media and tagged the hotel in the post. They claim the hotel's FB page responded with an apology and they later got a call from a working partner of the hotel, Varun Ganeshan. According to reports, he made covert threats that since they posted a public status, he could also publically post the CCTV footage of them 'making out'.
The couple has reportedly denied making out in public. They told The News Minute,
First of all, there is nothing inherently wrong about making out, but here’s the thing – we didn’t. We did not allow ourselves that kind of a straight-privilege; as a same-sex couple, our display of affection towards each other is socially outlawed.
Amid a series of accusations and counter-accusations, the hotel has further claimed that the women were not discriminated on the basis of their sexuality, but that they received complaints from customers regarding 'the girls’ conduct'. They also denied two bouncers entering the women's washroom.