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The invasion of the bachelorette party

Cassidy Araiza/NYT

The Aug. 8 op-ed “Bachelorette parties in P-town often destroy safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people,” by Vincent Jones II and Laurie Essig, generated much debate online, with more than 570 comments on BostonGlobe.com. The following is a curated, edited sample of readers’ reactions to the piece:

My wife is a tax attorney in Boston who works with many LGBTQ-owned businesses in P-town. Do the authors of the op-ed know how hard it is to make a business work in a four-month season on the Cape? P-town business owners welcome all people from all walks of life who are willing to patronize their businesses. Maybe Vincent Jones II and Laurie Essig should check out what average rents are on Commercial Street. (Posted by Waterfall08)


Thank you to Jones and Essig for this thoughtful piece. I (a cis-het woman) have always been uncomfortable with the idea of groups of my peers going off to attend drag performances. Not because I disapprove of drag but because I felt like it’s not meant for us. I hadn’t managed to put that feeling into a cohesive thought, but now I see why it bothered me. Many of the responses from online readers simply illustrate the authors’ point. (Justthefaxplease)

A reply to Justthefaxplease: How did you come to the conclusion that the performance was not meant for you? Did they make you feel unwelcome? I used to go to gay clubs as a straight male and was never made to feel unwelcome. LGBTQ folks are some of the most welcoming folks around. This would-be segregation, based on sexual orientation, of spaces that are open to the public is really pathetic. (Memnoch)

Trust me when I say it’s annoying for everyone in a gay space out having a good time to have to listen to and watch the absurdity of a bachelorette party. (myytwocents)


“Hetrification will destroy queer spaces and maybe even queer culture itself,” write Jones and Essig. I doubt it. My experience in Provincetown (starting in summer 1970) is that LGBTQ+ people are very clear when they feel a straight person strays over one or more lines. When a person or group gets out of hand, ask them to leave. When they won’t leave, the police are increasingly present, so use them. When proprietors allow out-of-bounds or unacceptable behavior to continue, it’s clear they prefer revenue more than the usual set of patrons. (RideLikeTheWind)

Smart essay. I hope people take the time to digest it. Commenters seem dismissive while missing the point. An analogy would be: Don’t rent a synagogue for your faux mitzvah or wear a headdress and shout war whoops on sacred native lands. Respect people’s sanctuaries even if they party wildly there, and even if you have the money to infiltrate or displace them. If they welcome you in, respect the necessity and history of their refuge. (HamsterMom)

I’m really hurt and amazed that in this day and age, women are still chastised for seeking out spaces they perceive as safe. And it truly is always in the back of our minds when we head out in the night. Thanks for letting us know we are not welcome. (dovekie)

The authors wrote that women “don’t want to deal with the male gaze or sexual harassment while they’re trying to dance with their girlfriends. They plan on being very inebriated and are reasonably afraid of sexual assault.” We have a society where women don’t feel safe in many places, whether they are very inebriated or just walking down the street or at work while sober. (rickpat)


The article points out two opposing goals: to become integrated into society and at the same time to be elevated as a separate, protected class. (Ginfa)

I learned about 10 new vocabulary words, and I don’t mean to be snide. (frank61)

Drunk and disrespectful is never a good look in any group or culture. (trashai)

I was in Ireland several years ago, and some Irish friends were complaining about the many groups of drunk British women coming over to have their debauched “hen parties” in Dublin. Maybe I should forward this op-ed along so that Dublin can become a safe space for the Irish. I could do the same for the residents of Fort Lauderdale, so they could try to keep it as a safe space for people over 25 during spring break. The parallel between gentrification and “hetrification” is weak. P-town is in no danger of losing its safeness to the LGBTQ+ community as a result of straight white women behaving badly, whereas gentrification is a literal community turnover. (BelichickDisciple)

Hetrification? Good grief. Does this affect the climate? (cp77)

I’m an older gay man who has stared down a lot of homophobia in my lifetime, more than younger people face now. The first time I stepped foot in P-town (decades ago), I thought I had died and gone to gay heaven. It was the first place I felt normal (for lack of a better word) and I remember thinking, “So this must be how straight people feel all the time.” I dreamed of owning a home there and, after years of hard work, I was able to fulfill that dream. All that being said, this opinion piece (and especially the word “hetrification”) really annoys me and does not represent the views of any P-town residents I know. It also paints a picture of us being intolerant; how hypocritical would that be? I can assure you P-town is still the gayest place on earth, and if brides-to-be and their besties want to come enjoy it, I say yaaaassss! (Fluboftheuniverse)


As a white cis gay man of a certain age (mid-50s), I have observed some changes over my lifetime. Queer-only spaces have been disappearing, yes, but that tracks less with our queer spaces being invaded and more with we queers being accepted and achieving more equality. So this is definitely generational, but any of us can take advantage of it. I often go out to straight spaces with my husband and with our mix of straight and queer friends. We don’t censor ourselves, but we’re no longer unwelcome, either. (Of course this isn’t uniform across the nation, but compared with my youth, it is light years ahead of where it used to be.) I do think queer-only spaces can be incredibly important, especially for those of us still facing bigotry, hatred, and assault just for being who we are or loving whom we love. And this opinion piece is right about one thing: Many of the bachelorettes are simply disrespectful when they party in queer spaces. It’s not that they are unwelcome because of who they are, but some of them are unwelcome because of how badly they behave. (ModernMetta)


Thank you for this op-ed! As a lesbian, I was stunned and angered to see so many straight bachelorette parties at venues on Memorial Day (P-Town’s Lesbian Weekend), constantly “wooting,” with no sense of culture or that they’re invading a space not meant for them. As one of the people the authors quoted said: Often these are the mean girls from high school who would have called their basketball teammates slurs. (leeniemac)

My bachelorette party was my three best friends, a six-pack, and subs in an apartment in Charlestown. I’d been so busy that we’d hardly had any time to just hang out and relax. My husband and his friends did something equally low-key. Didn’t cost anything, and we got what we needed: stress-free down time with our people. (JmGv)

Now playing on Netflix: The Attack of White Bachelorette Parties! (57anymore)

“We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.” — The Borg, “Star Trek: First Contact” (spugh)