Gay Guesthouse Accused of Discrimination Against Women, Changes Policies
Michelle Stonelake was excited to get to hang out with her friends on Sunday in late January, at the popular gay resort on Fort Lauderdale beach. Her hopes were dashed when Royal Palms resort employees told her no girls are allowed on the property.
"For as many times as I have been to your space for multiple fund raisers, it was an absolute shock to get turned away this afternoon from meeting up with friends at your [resort] because I am a girl," Stonelake said in a post on the Royal Palms’ Facebook page. "REALLY....it is 2013 RIGHT," she continued.
Women are allowed to participate in fundraisers at the resort. But on Sundays, the Royal Palms hosts two different Sunday afternoon parties, a T-Dance where women are included, and a Sunday "Funday" where they are not.
Don Bishop, who is one of the friends Stonelake intended to meet at that Sunday "Funday" party, said in a post on the Royal Palms’ Facebook page that he was "completely outraged" when he found out she was turned away because of her gender.
"I fully understand you are a gay, clothing optional male resort," Bishop said in that same post. "But I urge you to rethink your policy denying entry to women during this now weekly, approximately four hour event."
Bishop again told SFGN that he understands that the Royal Palms is a private, men’s only resort, but that the resort chose to make that day’s event public by sending out invites on Facebook.
"The Facebook invite said to invite your friends, so I did," Bishop said. "I thought it would be okay to invite her. It’s not like they’re hosting a sex party."
Bishop admits that by inviting a female friend he was trying to incite change to end what he believed was gender discrimination.
"I was trying to stir the pot," Bishop told SFGN. "If a private men’s resort decides to make it a public event (on Facebook) and encourage you to invite all of your friends, then they should let women in."
And he did spark change.