(Reprinted from briannaaustin.com)
Too many times the TG community gets dumped on. Whether it is by an internally frustrated homophobic alpha male, a catty gay man, a mean spirited Lesbian woman or just a clueless tourist, the community does endure more than it’s share of crap. But, are we perpetual victims? Do we need to be?
This past September there was quite an incident at East of Eighth, a neighborhood bar & restaurant at 254 West 23rd Street in New York City. I know the place quite well. I used to co/own, promote and host a trans-party there once a month. We would convert the upstairs restaurant into a trans-party that usually drew between 100 – 160 people on the 2nd Saturday of each month. The party often spilled into the down stairs bar where Jack was pouring drinks, and it was a great time.
My friends and I would go to the downstairs bar every week, usually Friday and/or Saturday to start off our evening, before heading into the night for clubs unknown. We liked the staff, management, and clientele, and they liked us. Word began to spread and before long we started seeing more and more girls coming there to have dinner or party at the bar.
I used to joke that when they built East Of Eighth, my friend Jamie was already sitting at the bar. She was a regular and got along with everyone. On this particular night, she leaned into the bartender and said, “wow, Jack, it looks like tranny central in here!” Without warning Jack exploded into a verbal tirade loud enough for all the girls to hear. His words made it obvious that they were no longer welcomed there. His frustrations, which had been apparently brewing for some time, included that the girls, 1) were tying up the two bathrooms to change and do their makeup, 2) using the bar as a meeting area, but not ordering anything (some girls even brought there own) 3) not tipping appropriately, 4) and lastly, coming in such numbers that the good paying gay customers were staying away. They should have read my article “How To Survive the Gay Bar.”
The outrage from the T-community was swift and harsh; calling for Jack’s job and lawsuit. The emails were flying around the community and everyone was jumping into the fray. Some called for calm while others suggested negotiations and bar-wide conditions be set. Then there was those still on the warpath calling for staged protests.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. When the dust settled down the protest idea was losing steam, but the conversations about getting the bartender fired and a possible lawsuit were still quite potent. Another suggestion was for the bar to change some policies; suggestions were offered. These included putting signs in the bathrooms to remind people to limit their time there, and start a bar-wide 2- drink minimum.
I’m sorry did I miss something? Would you go to a restaurant as a man and use their bathroom to shave? Would you bring your own liquor with you? Are we children? Do we need signs to tell us how to act like grown ups? Unfortunately a few T-girls lacked some common courtesy that caused this mess, but the community jumped in on the “We’ve been discriminated on” bandwagon. Although some of the suggestions -- in the heat of battle -- had good intentions, we as a community need to understand that by making those suggestions we are actually saying, “we are different, treat us differently,” while we chant, “treat us fairly, we’re just like everyone else.” The trouble is you can’t have it both ways.
East of Eighth was a bar that welcomed the t-community for years with open arms. For some t-girls it was their first steps into the mainstream. The bar didn’t just decide to change their position against the t-community without cause. This incident should be a wake up call: If you choose to go into the mainstream you have to act accordingly. If you can’t then you hurt your fellow sisters, so stay home in the closet!
We have to stop playing the victim and continually using the trans discrimination bandwagon: or we will wear out the wheels. There are real discrimination cases across the globe where people loose jobs, face mental and physical abuse, and in some cases die. What happened at East of Eighth was tranny stupidity, pure and simple. So here’s an action we can take: “Get a grip, grow up and get over it!” But, most importantly, learn from it.
Until Next TIme,
Get out, be safe, have fun and always .... think pretty!
Monday, October 30, 2006
(Reprinted from briannaaustin.com)
Posted by Brie Austin at 10:18 AM
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