Anti-objectification group, Object, have been campaigning for a change to the licensing laws surrounding strip clubs and lap dancing since April 2008. There has been a huge increase in the number of strip clubs in the UK since the introduction of the Licensing Act 2003, whereby strip clubs are licensed in the same way as cafes and restaurants, making it very hard for residents to object to them opening. Object have successfully pushed for the government to introduce proposals for strip clubs to be licensed as ‘Sex Encounter Venues’:
Changing licensing laws will allow local authorities to apply crucial controls and bring greater transparency to the industry – protecting both women who work in lap dancing clubs and women who live or work near lap dancing clubs. It willl give local communities back their say in licensing processes – a say which has been severely restricted by the Licensing Act 2003.
But, argue Object, the proposals are ‘seriously flawed’:
…they will be optional, creating a postcode lottery in which only some councils consider licensing in relation to gender and sexism – and contain a frequency based exemption, which will create a large loophole for the growing number of leisure venues putting on lap dancing / stripping nights.
The proposals will be debated in the House of Lords on November 3rd, and Lord Norton wants your opinion. Let him know what you think here. If you want to get involved in Object’s campaign, see here for more information on how to lobby peers and MPs.