• A real drag at G Bar

    LOCK OUT: Drag performers Amber Dextrous, left to right, Miss Behaviour and June Richards. Picture: Simone De PeakTHE iconic status of Newcastle watering hole The Gateway Hotel is under threat following claims the venue should be struck off a list of safe venues for the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual andtransgender communities.

    Tensions have been brewing at the Islington venue for the past 12 months. In one incident,a transgender staff member of16 years, alleged that she was physically and verbally assaulted by a male patron outside the hotel.

    ​Paul Curtis, manager of Kinfair, the company which owns the hotel, said the incident resulted in the dismissal of several staff members.

    In addition, the venue’s Facebook page said procedures had been put in place to ensure the incident would not be repeated. It also reaffirmed its commitment to the community.

    Local identity Amber Dexterous worked at the Maitland Road venue for 15 years until New Year’s Eve 2016. Ms Dexteroussaid she learnedshehad been sacked and banned after her photograph appeared on a “barred’” list posted on the establishment’s door.

    Ms Dexterous, who worked in drag shows and hosted weekly trivia,said she understood she had been barred for making a joke about “soggy carpet in the front bar”.

    Mr Curtis said a number of drag performers were “let go” due to repeatedly slandering the venue online.

    “It has been continuous harassment …we have asked them to come in for meetings but they don’t,” he said.

    “It just can’t be tolerated … they have all signed social media policies.”

    Mr Curtis said several drag shows had been cut due to the “poor quality” of the performances. “We wanted better quality shows,” he said.

    Ms Dexterous conceded there had been quality issues with the performances but much effort had been put into improving the shows.

    She deniedmaking disparaging comments about the venue online or signing a social media policy.

    Apetition calling for ACON to remove the venue from its list of safe places has been launched.

    ACON chief executive officer Nicolas Parkhill said the organisation wouldmeet this week with concerned community members and hotel management to discuss the issues and to potentially provide a process of mediation.

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