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'Icon' bar at Intercon turns transgenders away

in PHILIPPINES, 10/06/2012

Five Filipino transgenders were barred from entering Icon Bar of Intercontinental Hotel Makati at 2:30 a.m. Friday. Santy Layno, Aiyah Mayer, Jazmine Ramona, Nadine Barcelona, and Amone Reyes were about to enter the bar when they were refused entrance by the manager, who only identified herself as "Heidi".

The manager supposedly told the party that they had a policy posted at the entrance of the bar: "No cross-dressers allowed."

The five transgenders – one of whom is a Fiipino-American whose birth certificate and passport already lists her as female - insisted that they are not "cross-dressers" but transgenders. A cross-dresser, explained the group, is someone who wears the clothes traditionally associated with the opposite gender, but still self-identifies with his or her gender. On the other hand, transgenders self-identify as belonging to the opposite sex in their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Icon Bar later allowed one transgender, who came in a car, inside the bar. When asked about it, the manager said that the transgender is "on the guest list." There was no private party ongoing at the Icon bar, though, the group claimed.

The five transgenders insisted on their right to enter the bar and the manager refused to do so. The exchange went on for several minutes, with "Heidi" only claiming that "no cross-dressers are allowed inside." She repeatedly described the five as "men" and referred to each of them with the pronoun "he". She then reportedly turned her back on the party and went inside the bar.
The group reported the matter to the Police Station 9 across Intercontinental Hotel, which prepared a police blotter on the incident.

Icon's day administration officer Maricon Regino, whose shift had not yet started when the incident occurred, said transgenders are allowed in the bar on a "case to case basis."

"We allowed transgenders to enter the bar before," she said in Tagalog when interviewed over the phone. Layno herself  - a member of the Board of Trustees of the Ladlad Partylist - said she was allowed into the bar just two weeks ago.

Regino added that "some female guests felt violated when (transgender guests) used the same comfort room."

The front desk of the InterContinental Hotel noted that Icon is a concessionaire and has a different set of rules from the hotel itself. Repeated calls to the Public Relations Office of the Intercon have so far gone unanswered, but Layno clarified that their complaint was specific to Icon. Intercontinental Hotel itself, she said, made them feel welcome.

Watch the video here. (Photo and video courtesy of Aiyah Mayer)

 

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