Transgender patron causes confusion on Ladies night at a Bar in St Petersburg

By Richard Fausset

March 5, 2012, 7:29 a.m.
Reporting from Atlanta — So this guy walks into a bar.

Wait, scratch that.

A woman walked into a bar Thursday night in St. Petersburg, Fla. Her name was Alex Borrego. It was ladies’ night at the Bishop Tavern and Lounge, when ladies drink free. So Borrego and a friend ordered their free vodkas with cranberry juice, and sipped away.

Then, as the Tampa Bay Times reports, a bouncer told Borrego that ladies’ night simply wasn’t for her.

“You guys don’t get to participate,” the bouncer told Borrego, according to the report. “Because you’re dudes.”

Borrego, wrote reporter Dan Sullivan, was born male but has undergone hormone therapy and other “gender-change measures” to become a woman. She is listed as a woman on her driver’s license. Her friend at the bar was a drag queen, according to the newspaper account.

Borrego was not pleased — apparently, she and her friend had been welcomed into the bar by another bouncer, and told they qualified for ladies’ night perks. Soon there was a boycott Bishop Tavern campaign on Facebook with 250 fans, and the bar owner, Dean Marshlack, issued what appeared to be a sincere apology.

“Recently a concern was raised about how a transgender customer was treated here,” read a statement on the bar’s Facebook page. “We would like to sincerely apologize for this. Bishop strives on being one of St. Petersburg’s premier nightlife destinations for everyone, without prejudice. We really appreciate the fact that we live in such a diverse community.

“This event has given us the opportunity to better educate our staff to ensure everyone has a pleasant experience regardless of who you are. A co-owner of Bishop has had thorough conversations with two of those involved. We are all pleased with the awareness provided and the results of these dialogues.

“Again, we regret this happened and look forward to assisting the LGBT community in creating more awareness and change.”

The message, which was posted on Friday, was met with a flood of thank you messages.

“Apology accepted,” wrote Facebook user Levi Love. “Let’s move forward and create awareness… All humans should be treated equally with respect and dignity.”


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