|Trans discrimination alleged against Pink Pony strip club|
|Written by Dyana Bagby|
|Friday, 04 May 2012 13:51|
A transgender woman says she was recently not allowed into Atlanta's Pink Pony strip club because her driver license still has a male gender marker.
Kyrah St. James, who says she lives full time as a woman and has been to the Pink Pony several times in the past year, said she was denied entrance into the popular strip club on Saturday, April 28, when the security guard at the entrance said she would have to speak to the manager because her ID showed an "M" and not an "F."
Repeated calls requesting comment from Pink Pony management were not returned.
St. James said in a phone interview that the security guard pointed to her driver license when he told her she would not be allowed into the club until she spoke with a manager.
"As I entered he told me I could not go in and that I needed to speak to the manager because of my ID. My ID is valid and it's not like I'm trying to hide anything," St. James said.
"I've been in the place many times before. We were just trying to have a good time. I love the steaks there," she said.
Hudson Marr, a transgender man, who was with St. James, said he was allowed entrance into the club even though his driver license still has a female gender marker.
"I presented my ID which still has a female gender marker on it. It's never been an issue for me," Marr said. "I was standing to the side waiting to go in and Kyrah shows her ID. The security guard was not rude, there were no slurs, but he said he couldn't let her in. He said it was about the bathroom issue."
St. James said two months ago she was at the club using the women's restroom when one of the club's dancers complained to management about her using that restroom instead of the men's room.
St. James said the house mother intervened after another dancer said St. James should stay because she had been tipping all night.
"We thought the issue had been resolved but the bathroom issue became an issue these past few times," St. James said. "But I have been hanging out there."
St. James and Marr also said they did not understand how Marr could be allowed to enter the club even though his license did not reflect his gender identity.
"Why was it an issue with me and not him?" St. James said. "I told them, you know, this is discrimination. It just kind of threw me."
A manager did come to the door and denied entrance to St. James, saying she was being "rude,” she said.
"I asked how was I being rude. I'm trying to spend money in your establishment," St. James said.
Marr said St. James was not rude, but was demanding to know why she was not being allowed into a club where she has been on numerous other occasions.
"I just felt so horrible and humiliated for her," he said. "We were good customers that were turned away."
St. James said she is in the process of legally changing her name and her driver license gender marker to reflect accurately who she is, but that takes time and money.
"There are males and females in the club. You can't see any of my private parts. Ladies are nearly naked in there. What does it matter what I have under my clothes?
"I'm a lady," St. James added. "I can understand if there's a policy in place and it's noted at the front door. But I just don't get it. In today's society and in Atlanta you'd think people would be a little more open-minded. It's enough to make someone very angry because I am being judged on my sexuality and not in a good way."
Below is video Marr took of him and St. James at the Pink Pony on April 28 and St. James wanting to know why she cannot enter the club. The man in the blue shirt and tie is the manager.
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