Cerabino: A dark cloud appears over the rainbow flag of Lake Worth


There’s a wrinkle in the tolerance force field in Lake Worth.

This is shocking. Lake Worth is arguably the most LGBTQ-friendly city in Palm Beach County.

Lake Worth claims the highest percentage of same-sex households in the state. It’s the headquarters for the Compass Community Center, the area’s comprehensive LGBTQ resource facility. And every year the city hosts PrideFest, the annual street parade that draws tens of thousands of people in a celebration of sexual diversity.

So this week when a kava bar in downtown Lake Worth announced that its Monday “slam” would be limited to women with ovaries — a pointed exclusion to potential transgender participants — social media exploded.

The offending announcement on the Kavasutra Kava Bar Instagram page announced the event as a “genetic female slam,” adding that “if you are a chick per your DNA” then you can compete.

And then to further clarify:

“Chicks mean born with a vagina,” it continued. “You must have ovaries.”

When some people complained about this being trans-phobic, things got grittier on the club’s Instagram account:

“The point of ladies night is to get ladies in the door so the men can (have sex with) them,” the club posted. “If there’s no vagina then they don’t qualify because they don’t benefit the business and the plan.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Since when did downtown Lake Worth turn into a Hong Kong sailor bar?

Order was quickly restored. The club’s management moved quickly to calm things down.

“Kavasutra Kava Bar is virulently and adamantly opposed to discrimination in all forms,” the bar’s statement read. “Any such inequity or prejudice will be met with swift physical removal from in or around our establishment. Our friends and patrons understand this policy and our convictions.”

Some questions linger though.

For one thing, what is a “slam”? I’m not a kava drinker, so I assumed incorrectly that it was poetry slam. But I’ve since learned that it just meant slamming down drinks of kava in this case.

In terms of public relations, that’s slightly better for the bar, I guess. Because it would be pretty hard to defend an exclusionary poetry slam.

Because I’m not sure that slam poetry is really poetry?

I know it self-identifies as poetry, but is it really poetry? It’s named after a wrestling move rather than anything linguistic. And if you’ve listened to much slam poetry, it’s really just shouting with style while wearing clothes that might best be described as “fly” — whatever that means.

The point is, slam poetry wasn’t born as poetry. It was born as shouting to yourself in a mirror. It’s a performance art, rather than a literary art. Traditional poetry is strong enough to be committed to paper, where meaning unfolds slowly and with repeated readings.

Slam poetry is ephemeral. It doesn’t translate well to paper or survive beyond a YouTube video. It might have the outward trappings of poetry, but it lacks the … um, er, … the DNA of real poetry.

So it would have been much more bizarre to make a distinction over sexual authenticity for the right to compete in an art form that is itself a permutation of the original form.

If the Kavasutra Kava Bar ever decides to branch into slamming poems along with kava in a way that also divides people by their sexuality, I’ve come up with a way to do it. The key is to have other nights of the week for competitions catering to other sexual identities.

I’ve come up with a weekly schedule:

Monday night: Women with ovaries

Please present latest CT scan to judges before the show

Tuesday night: Transgender men and women

Gender-fluid judges; nonjudgmental bathroom breaks

Wednesday night: Straight men

Dramatic readings of the baseball box scores

Thursday night: Condo lesbians

May have to expand to two nights due to heavy volume

Friday night: It’s raining men

Gay meteorologists

Saturday night: Bi-curious Furries

Contestants may deliver while cuddling

Sunday night: Genetic cable-TV-news viewers

People who need to repeatedly experience the same sex once every hour.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

9 members of one family among 17 killed in duck boat accident on lake in Branson, Missouri 
9 members of one family among 17 killed in duck boat accident on lake in Branson, Missouri 

A duck boat accident on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri, killed 17 people Thursday night, including the boat’s driver and nine members of an Indiana family, according to authorities. Fourteen other people were injured. >> Read more trending news  Update 8:45 a.m. EDT July 21: The Stone County coroner confirmed to KSDK that...
Ousted small-business owners claim racial bias in garbage hauling
Ousted small-business owners claim racial bias in garbage hauling

A pair of black small business owners have accused the Solid Waste Authority of failing to live up to its commitment to help small businesses by ignoring their complaints when a large hauling company dumped them. By not forcing the large hauler to retain the companies, the authority failed to assure that business opportunities filter down to all parts...
Cerabino: Florida’s NRA mouthpiece reaches for a silencer
Cerabino: Florida’s NRA mouthpiece reaches for a silencer

Florida’s chief NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer is standing her ground in a whole new way. This month, the 79-year-old grandmother and the guiding hand of permissive gun legislation in Florida for decades, filed a 129-page federal lawsuit that is mostly a compilation of the bitter, profane and sometimes threatening emails she received after the February...
Millions fall for South Carolina dentist in viral ‘In My Fillings’ dance video
Millions fall for South Carolina dentist in viral ‘In My Fillings’ dance video

A dentist in Greenville, South Carolina, is inspiring millions to get their teeth cleaned after taking on the Drake-inspired “In My Feelings” dance challenge. Dr. Rich Constantine’s version of the “shiggy” -- a dance inspired by the rapper -- has over 24 million views on Facebook. >> Read more trending...
Dozens turn out for Riviera town hall in call to action to end violence
Dozens turn out for Riviera town hall in call to action to end violence

Less than a week after two people were gunned down in separate shootings in Riviera Beach, more than 50 concerned citizens gathered for a town hall meeting to voice their concerns about the violence plaguing the city. Those who attended the town hall were adamant that the bloodshed must end and came to make their voices heard. Also in attendance were...
More Stories