LGBT+ couple harassed in Wetherspoons while staff allegedly ‘couldn’t do anything’
‘I just don’t want my £5 pitchers to be ruined by gross guys’
An LGBT+ couple were harassed by a group of men at The Parkstone and Heatherlands Wetherspoons on Friday night, while staff allegedly stood by helpless.
Former BU Womens' Officer and President of the feminist society, Devon Biddle, was encouraged by the men to be affectionate with her girlfriend Beth, who is Trans and Non-Binary officer at BU.
The group of men spent the evening staring at Devon and her group of friends and making sexist and homophobic comments towards them.
The Tab Bournemouth spoke to Devon, who said:
"Three old guys were sat on the table right next to us staring all evening, Beth [her girlfriend] and I would show each other affection and they’d get all 'Ooooooo!!!' It was really annoying."
One of Devon's friends then left briefly, to which the men asked "Where's the blonde one gone?" Devon says that comment made them all feel extremely uncomfortable, and when her friend returned the men were getting visibly excited.
Devon's girlfriend Beth then asked them to stop staring at their friend, to which they laughed and refused.
They then told a member of staff, who allegedly said they couldn't do anything and there was no point anyway as it was nearly closing time.
Devon said: "However it felt extremely unresolved and we ended up getting in trouble for confronting them ourselves before we left."
Devon is also a community outreach officer and said that one of the reasons she takes on roles like that is to make students feel safer and have better relationships with the community.
This incident made her feel like students aren't being looked after by pubs and clubs.
She added: "When we were there it made us uncomfortable and frustrated. I work hard towards stopping sexual assault and cat-calling – then this happens and it feels pointless.
"This experience made me feel so uncomfortable to show affection to my girlfriend in public."
Devon believes more can be done in the future to stop things like this happening – and BU are trying to kick start this.
She added: "I think there needs to be more awareness of what the uni does, it’s so sad because there are so many options and communities but no one knows about them.
"It's not the fault of pubs in the area – I myself know it can be uncomfortable to confront fully grown men. I just don't want my £5 pitchers to be ruined by gross guys."
When approached for comment, The Parkstone and Heatherlands told The Tab:
"We don't have any comment to make at this time."