A group of trans people were subjected to “transphobic slurs” and violent threats by a hotel guest, only to be kicked out of the establishment themselves.
The group of colleagues were on an employee retreat at the SpringHill Suites by Mariott Montgomery Downton Hotel in Alabama, when a “visibly drunk” guest began heckling them.
The Knights & Orchids Society (TKO), a grassroots healthcare group that supports Black queer folk in rural Alabama, described in a Facebook post how the hotel guest singled out a worker and left her “humiliated” after he misgendered and threatened her.
“One of our employees was assailed with transphobic slurs and her life was threatened by a guest at the hotel,” TKO wrote.
“When she approached the hotel staff to ask for help, not only did they fail to report the incident but she was also told that she would be arrested along with the perpetrator.
“The man who was harassing her was visibly drunk with open containers, publicly humiliated her by misgendering her and threatening her anytime he saw her.”
The group claims that when the employee complained to hotel management, the hotel instead asked the group to leave and threatened the staffer with arrest.
They added that while police eventually detained the aggressor, he was released without being charged and “the front desk allowed him to stay”.
Trans youth left struggling to ‘envision a future where they will be safe’
The incident has had a deep impact on some of the young people present.
“TKO’s youth ambassadors were also present to witness this unfolding,” the statement continued, “and one of them let us know that they have been considering transitioning.
“But they feel it’s far too dangerous to be Black and openly trans. Our trans youth can’t envision a future where they will be safe because instances like this happen far too often and can lead to even worse outcomes.
“The staff at Springhill Suites, this guest and local law enforcement not only caused harm to our employee but they have, in just one day, added more fear into the hearts of trans youth that we work so hard to support living freely as they are.”
“I am disappointed to hear about the treatment of The Knights & Orchids Society on a recent visit to our city,” tweeted Montgomery mayor Steven Reed.
I am disappointed to hear about the treatment of The Knights and Orchids Society on a recent visit to our city. Discrimination — of any kind — is unacceptable. We are committed to working with our partners to be a more inclusive community. This shows us the hard work remains. SR
— Mayor Steven L. Reed (@MayorofMgm) December 23, 2021
“Discrimination – of any kind – is unacceptable. We are committed to working with our partners to be a more inclusive community. This shows us the hard work remains.”
SpringHill Suites, operated by Marriott International, said in a statement to the Metro Weekly that the company has reached out to the guests to understand what happened.
“We are committed to providing an environment where all of our guests and employees feel safe and welcome,” a spokesperson said.
“We are aware that the handling of a recent verbal altercation between guests cause offence. We regret this, and are communicating directly with the guests involved to understand their experience.”
TKO confirmed on Facebook last Wednesday (22 December) that members had secured a meeting next month with the hotel.
“This wouldn’t have been possible without the community,” a statement read. “Trans violence (especially violence towards Black trans women) is often ignored or the blame is placed on the victim.
“Not this time.”