Sunday, July 29, 2007

Hatecrime!

Wow, of all of the people I've met, I would never have though Vivien (aka "V"), the licensee of Rasputins Nightclub, King Street, Great Yarmouth, would be a transphobic bigot.

Last night (Saturday 28th July), I went out to celebrate a friend's birthday. We were dressed as schoolgirls and I was presenting as female. Whilst in Rasputins I needed to use the toilet, and being dressed as a woman I decided to use the ladies toilets. To avoid any problems, I went in with a female friend, even though the toilets were empty at the time.

While I was using the cubicle there was a knock on the door and a male voice mumbled something. I finished and exited the cubicle. In the main body of the toilets were two young girls (who with hindsight looked underage - wish I'd have picked up on that at the time!) and a male bouncer holding the main door open. He waited for me to wash my hands then told me to leave the toilets.

The owner (the afore-mentioned V) took me to one side and told me she did not want me using her ladies toilets. I told her that unless someone had complained, there was no legal problem with me being there. V claimed that her guidelines for The Licensing Act (2003) said that if she finds a man in the ladies toilets, she can hand him over to the police. I said that I thought this was incorrect, and did she expect me to use the gents toilets. She said she did. I left the matter at this and went to sit with my friends.

I was shaking with anger but thought it best to leave any matters until I had a clear head. However when I left around twenty minutes later, she was on the door with a bouncer and I mentioned that she should look at The Provision of Goods and Services Act (although I think it is still going through parliament) and that I felt I had been discriminated against. She in turn told me that "If I catch you in there again, I'll knock your block off". And she is quite a large lady.

Half jokingly I asked what about if I get "The Operation". She said I would have to prove my new gender and laughed. Lacking a witty comeback, I left with my friends.

Once I have had a good nights sleep I will investigate my options. I would like to demand an apology, and threaten to make an official complaint on discrimination and threatening language. But I'd also like to make sure I have the legal (and moral) high ground before I go shooting my mouth off. I certainly plan to inform everybody who cares of this situation, regardless of the action I choose to take.

12 comments:

Luis Drayton said...

G*d, that's hellish. And V's final line about "having to prove your gender" strikes me as contemptible. You did really well to keep your cool, though. I'd be very interested to know what the law is - let's hope it's on our side!

paganwitch said...

o m g.....having never been there not going to go now...what a cow(thats me being polite),so the new policy there would be,if managment were not sure which gender u are u would have to prove it....what a load of bull....

Chuck Brown said...

It's the big hands that gave it away, that and the winkie I believe! How do you know that she's a woman, I've seen her and she's quite manly. I reckon she was jealous bruv, because she could'nt fit her butch butt in a school uniform if she ate slim fast for a lifetime! I'm not going anymore cause the place is a poo hole and the music is tud.

And... your main page has no comma's what's that about Mr. Critical of my grammar's site?

Pandora Caitiff said...

What are you talking about fool? There's a comma in the first sentence! An I think you mean "my site's grammar" :D

Becky said...

ptI'd be interested to hear the complete official version of what the law is, there seems to be so much confusion. I think it's pretty much that the law is against discrimination in this way, but it seems to be very shaky ground.

I've never had any problems using the ladies though, if licensed premises have this rule, then there's a lot of places breaking it!

Still, a big pile of shit to deal with on a night out, and I feel for you! :-(

Lara Tyg said...

Pandora , surely you should know Yarmouths' just one big toilet nayway, It dosent matter where you go. :O)

Pandora Caitiff said...

@ Lara - nicely observed!

@Becky - I had a browse through the Licensing Act 2003. It seems only to cover offences that the licencee can be charged with regarding the provision of alcohol, such as providing alcohol to persons under 18. Something Rasputins has been in trouble for before! No wonder she had the act committed to memory.

The discrimination laws currently going throguh parliament cover post-op and diagnosed gender dysmorphic people, but do not cover other TG folk - a subject being lobbied for right now (see Penny's latest blog entry)

Regardless, the manner in which she handled the event, specifically the threat of violence, is grounds for reporting a hatecrime. Unfortunately I would have to out myself as TG to do so. And as I just said, there is no discrimination protection to TG people at the moment.

Mary said...

OK I just know I'm going to put my foot in it, I know nothing about this stuff, but here goes...

1. Ladies and especially teenage girls don't go to the ladies' room to pee. We go there to get away from the men and have a giggle and chat. It's a safe haven where anyone earwigging the conversation can relate to it and, on a statistical level, isn't likely to be ogling or hitting on us.

2. (with 1. in mind) OK, so you were presenting as female in all seriousness. But just for a moment, put that aside and imagine how many totally male, totally hetero perverts and troublemakers would put a skirt on if they thought it would give them a right to hang out in the ladies' room?

3. Are you familiar with the Social Model of disability? It says that "Disability is the experience I have when my impairments (ie the Not Fitting The Norm things) interact with the world in which I live." In this case, your disability is caused by the fact that neither the mens nor the ladies room is entirely safe/appropriate/acceptable/Mary can't think of the right word. As such, perhaps the gender-neutral disabled loo would be the one to use?

And any twat who tells me "oh but I'm not disabled" may shove their medical-model thinking up their arse. Disabled does not mean "lesser" or "inferior", it just means having certain needs due to not fitting the norm - which frankly, TV/TG people should be able to relate to.

Pandora Caitiff said...

Hi Mary. Thanks for taking the time to think about it and comment.

1) I agree. For what its worth on the times I have used the ladies while presenting' I have never "ogled" or "hit" and have spent the bare minimum time necessary in there. Although on a couple of occasions women have stopped me and asked where I got my top/shoes/bag etc from. I had no problems with other pubs/clubs all night. The problem seem to be with the owner rather than the patrons in this case...

2) I'm sure they would. Although to claim the right they have to be prepared to publicly identify yourself as transgendered. I'm not sure many perverts would want the stigma that comes attached! One of the barriers to me reporting this is that I would have to state my sexuality on record.

3) Sadly no third option in this case. Some trannies do this, but feel guilty that they might be depriving someone more deserving of the facility. Also the gents in Rasputins only has one cubicle. It has no seat, no lock and opens outwards, so you cant even hold it shut. The gents also has no soap, no paper towels, no toilet paper, and no hand drier. The ladies has all of these.

In fact, forget the bigotry. I've half a mind to call Environmental Health.

Oh, and would you mind me linking you in my blog-roll?

Mary said...

Well, "need" is an interesting thing to define. Disabled cubicles aren't just for those in a wheelchair - I use it because I need space and grab-rails, Deaf and Blind people use them because it's easier than negotiating a large echoey bathroom, diabetic people use them to get two minutes privacy to inject insulin... the only common factor between us all is that, for whatever reason, the main ladies/gents facilities are inappropriate. "More deserving" doesn't come into it as long as you don't take the piss (forgive terminology).

And, no bugger is allowed to have a go at you to "prove" anything.

By all means go ahead and link. Oh, and as for not publicly identifying, rest assured I'm not raising the issue with our real-life mutual acquaintances :)

Pandora Caitiff said...

I was thinking more for your protection from my readers :)

If you mean Bat-sis, then she's known for a while. And its not like her see her much these days.

Our friend on the ocean with a spanner has an inkling, but is happy in denial.

I don't think anyone else matters. But thanks all the same

Chrissy J. said...

Aww shit... just been playing 'catch-up' on the blogs... What can I say apart from you have my sympathy in this one, oh yeah, and **sending big hugs!**

I do have to ask, though; were any of your friends also guys dressed as schoolgirls, and if so which toilet did they use? That might've been why 'V' kicked off, y'know.

Personally I think you should report the incident as a transphobic hatecrime to the police. You've been discriminated against and threatened with violence- that should be enough. They'll keep whatever you tell them (as regards your preferred gender or sexuality) confidential (though what 'V' will say around town, when released from questioning, is not open to doubt... :( )and they're keen to prosecute any hatecrimes reported.