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March 7, 2005

THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

By Allanah Starr

Monthly Column Exclusively at JasonCurious.com

Column #8: ?No Women Allowed?

Being a transsexual I have always felt very accepted and welcomed by the gay community. When I used to be a "club kid" or "drag queen" I was revered by gay audiences and welcomed nightly when I took the stage at gay night clubs. Even though I do not consider myself to be gay, as I am a transsexual, and sexual orientation and sexual identity are two different things, I have always had a lot of gay friends and felt a strong bond with the gay community.

Like many gay people, I grew up being tormented and harassed in school. I was discriminated and looked down upon because people always assumed I was gay because I was so effeminate. From the time I was five years old, I heard nothing but "fag, sissy, queer" from my peers at school until the time I graduated and finally "came out the closet." The reason I put quotation marks around came out the closet, because coming out as gay was really the only way I knew to identify with the feminine desires I had; to wear make up, wear women's clothes, and be my attraction to other men. Boy, was I soon to discover that I was wrong.

I "came out" in Miami, where I lived at the time, which if you are not familiar with the gay scene in Miami Beach, lets just say that masculinity is revered and there is no room for effeminate boys who like make up, dresses, and high heels unless you are there to entertain them. I only had one gay relationship with another man in my life and that was when I was 17. From 18 on I began dressing up in women's clothes and wearing make up to go out at night. I became a very popular drag artist in Miami beach working in night clubs and in celebrity events such as in the then homes of Madonna, Versace and The BeeGees. I was in a calendar, and was on the cover of greeting cards (which still exist). I never had a gay relationship or gay sex at that time b/c really no gay man in Miami was attracted to me. And quite frankly, I was not attracted to many gay men. By the time I turned 21, I finally came to terms with my true identity. All my life I had felt like a woman and so I decided to become a woman.

This has not been an easy life choice. Emotionally, socially, financially, or physically. I am much happier today than I know I would have ever been as a man. And please do not mistake my words, I am not regretful nor am I asking for your pity. I knew this would be a long hard road and I am just stating the fact that transsexual life is hard. I have endured 30 some cosmetic operations, countless procedures, electrolysis, hormone therapy, and that just begins to describe the physical transformation. This is were I feel a certain kinship with the gay community.

I know what its like to have to work hard to be accepted, to have almost fight to have people respect you. As many minorities know, whether it be sexual or racial minorities, you always have to work extra hard to be respected for your abilities.

Which brings me to the point of this discussion.

Saturday, February 26 I was out with my make up artist and another gay friend of ours and we had planned to go to a few gay spots around New York. First stop was Therapy in midtown Manhattan, in which we were welcomed with open arms and treated very well. Next, we decided to stop by Splash, a popular gay spot in the Chelsea area of NYC, that personally I had never been too.

When we approached the door, (mind you I was very well dressed in head to toe designer gear as I usually do when I go out) we were stopped by the door man who told us that my friends could come in but not me. I asked why and he said that the club, did not want transsexuals or women in there that night. I asked if it was a private party. His reply, ?No.? Then, I asked if this was a private club. His reply, ?No.? Then I asked if he thought this was against the law. His reply, ?Probably so.?

In fact IT IS against the law. I was denied entrance to a public place for the sole reason that I am a transsexual -- and that my friends is the ugly word we all know so well: DISCRIMINATION.

In April 2004 the New York City Council passed a transgender anti discrimination bill that added the phrase "gender identity or statement" to NYC human rights laws.

But not only was not I allowed in, but neither were two genetic women who had been denied entrance as well and were standing outside for a cab. Clearly this was a violation of our rights.

Now, how would you feel if you went to a public place and someone said, ?Sorry you cannot come in because you are a man, or black, or Spanish, or your blonde,? etc? How would these people who run Splash feel if they went to a bar and they were told at the door, ?I am sorry you can't come in because you are GAY.? I am sure they would feel like shit. Which is exactly how I felt. I felt humiliated and embarrassed. I was there to have a good time and spend money, but because of my gender I was not good enough. It is hard to believe that in this day and age, gay clubs still have no women/no TS door policies. I understand the right of a PRIVATE establishment or PRIVATE party to only let certain individuals in. This was not the case this evening. This was a case of discrimination. The management at Splash should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this to happen. In a day and age when gay people themselves are fighting for basic rights all humans should have, they themselves are creating their own forms of segregation and discrimination of the sexes.

If simple equality can't begin at a night club, then how can they expect the whole nation to understand?

Club Splash is located at 50 West 17 Street and their telephone number is 212-691-0073.

If you feel that their door policy is unfair and discriminatory please let them know that they need to END their discriminatory and sexist door policies!

For more of Allanah and her shemale friends, visit www.ShemaleExotica.com.

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