WATCH: What happened when one of Northern Ireland’s poorest towns got a gay bar

Outside gar bar The Central in Strabane.

This is what happened when a straight guy opened a gay bar in one of the most unlikely locations you could imagine.

Strabane in Northern Ireland, and on the border of the Republic of Ireland, has a high unemployment rate and a difficult history.

During The Troubles, from the 70s to 90s, shootings and bombings were common. It was the most bombed town of its size in Europe.

But 10 years ago, it got a new claim to fame – the first gay bar outside a major city on the island of Ireland.

Now a new Channel 4 short film, by director Vik Patel, finds out what happened next.

He discovers why straight people have embraced The Central’s fun, liberating atmosphere. With Strabane’s population at just 17,670, they may even be essential to its survival.

But there have also been problems.

The straight father of four who opened the bar admits: ‘We have put people out of the bar because they have been saying anti-gay things or have been rude to some of our gay customers, especially at the start.

‘You’ve got to understand we were the first gay bar and it took a little time for the locals to say what was the PC way of talking.’

And two gay girls say they were called ‘fucking lesbians’ by another woman at the venue – luckily she was then thrown out.

Others have embraced it, drinking shots out of each other’s belly buttons.

But the town’s real LGBTI community is divided on whether The Central has made life better.

The Only Gay Bar in the Village, an All 4 Short, is available to watch here or on Vimeo here:

The post WATCH: What happened when one of Northern Ireland’s poorest towns got a gay bar appeared first on Gay Star News.

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