“The guard said if she didn’t leave the premises she would be removed forcibly,” Jessica Walton wrote on Saturday. “He called for a second guard. My partner was so scared. Imagine two guards approaching you to throw you out for going to the toilet!”
Walton said after her wife, who she calls Charlie, introduced herself to one of the guards as Charlotte, they let her go back to her partner, according to Jessica’s account. Once she reached Jessica, the couple found the bowling alley’s manager and explained what had just happened. The security guard apologized, upon Jessica’s request, but her tweets made it clear that she didn’t think it was a sincere apology.
Jessica was in tears as they left, but a nonbinary staff member caught them on the way out to apologize for what happened and give them vouchers to come back (though Jessica noted that they didn’t plan to return).
“They were our hero tonight,” Jessica wrote on Twitter, referring to that staff member.
Jessica said her wife is a cisgender lesbian, but people frequently stare or comment on her appearance because they “feel entitled to police gender in bathroom environments.” The debate around transgender folks’ right to use whatever bathroom they choose that’s been brewing in the U.S. hasn’t reached Australia, and the nation specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual identification. Nevertheless, Charlie’s experience signals that transphobia is rampant around the globe.
“It shouldn’t fall on LGBTIQA staff to make LGBTIQA customers feel safe and welcome,” Jessica wrote. “I want someone from both companies to apologise in writing to my wife and assure her that steps are being taken to organise LGBTIQA awareness training so this doesn’t happen again.”
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