The Beresford Hotel has dismissed claims it rejected patrons on the grounds of sexuality as a new management team looks for ways to further engage the gay and lesbian community.

While it is unlikely the Beresford will return to being a gay venue, venue spokesman David Wasserman has spoken of the pub’s desire to create a more inclusive environment and overcome suggestions it has a -˜no gays’ policy.

Wasserman denied claims made via the Same Same website and through letters to Sydney Star Observer that patrons had been turned away by bouncers for -˜looking gay’.

We would be crazy to turn people away because they are gay. Maybe the door policy was a bit tough in the first couple of weeks but we have changed it to be more inclusive rather than exclusive, he told SSO.

A lot of it had to do initially with numbers and there were times when I was there that guys turned up who were very shabbily dressed and they played the homophobic card.

They didn’t get let in because of the way they were dressed. I don’t believe anyone who was dressed appropriately and there to have a good time would have been turned away. Having said that, I wasn’t there every second of the day.

Wasserman said the claims had prompted him to speak with regular gay and lesbian clientele about ways to further engage the community.

The pub has since fired the security company that originally manned their doors and has implemented communication training for all staff. Wasserman also said the pub would be interested in holding HIV fundraising nights.

We changed our security team because we realised they weren’t doing the right thing by us. The security weren’t very welcoming to a lot of people, and it wasn’t because they were gay.

They were a bit short with everyone and with the current situation you can’t be like that with people. We are a big venue with massive overheads.

Our policy is to try and encourage people to come to the hotel, to encourage people to be included. But if there is any behaviour that is not acceptable, doesn’t matter who you are, we have to be very, very careful -” blame it on the state Government.

It doesn’t matter if you’re gay, straight, bi, whatever -” if you’re doing drugs in the toilets or you’re being openly promiscuous, it doesn’t matter what your sexual preference is, we were always going to be hard on you.

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