in Thoughts and whatever

An alleged assault of a transgender patron at a nightclub in Greensboro last weekend has prompted community conversation and action. The story, relayed by Triad City Beat, proves the need for public accommodations protections for members of the LGBT community. Unfortunately for Greensboro — and for other cities in North Carolina — members of the LGBT community currently have none.

In Greensboro, here’s the basic story: College student Jonathan Green was having a night out on the town at Green Street, a popular, primarily straight nightclub on its usual Sunday “LGBT Night.” Green attempted to use the women’s restroom and was asked to leave. Green claims they were assaulted by the manager and forcibly removed from the building.

Triad City Beat’s Jordan Green picks it up:

I spoke with Green and with the general manager, who identified himself only as Bobby to me. It’s no surprise that on several points their accounts of what transpired during the altercation diverge. Most notably, Green claims to have been manhandled by Bobby, while Bobby says he gently, if forcibly showed Green to the door.

On one point, however, they agree: Green complied when asked to leave the women’s restroom on the first floor of the club, but was thrown out of the club anyway.

“Me and my friends went out to Greene Street for LGBT night,” Green told me. “We were there for about 10 minutes. I go to the restroom — the women’s restroom. I identify as gender non-binary/gender queer. I was asked to remove myself, and I did remove myself. I went to the upstairs restroom, which is not labeled. I was approached by two bouncers. Bobby, the general manager, asked me if I have a penis, and I said, ‘I don’t identify as such.’”

And more:

During a phone conversation the next day Bobby told me he had posted a sign outside the restroom about three weeks ago earlier stating, “Females only, no exceptions, zero tolerance.” The sign is posted, he said to “protect the females that work there and the females that are straight.”

He considers that fair warning, and feels that summary ejection is a reasonable consequence.

“He preceded to tell me that he didn’t identify himself as a male,” Bobby said. “I said, ‘Your driver’s license says you are a male.’”

Greensboro does have some LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections, but none of the changes adopted by their city council this year included public accommodations. That differs from Charlotte, where leaders attempted to get LGBT-inclusive public accommodations protections adopted in addition to other changes.

Either way, in neither city do LGBT people have protection from discrimination. What happened to Jonathan Green — his dismissal from the club — was perfectly legal. Well, minus the assault. Which brings us to this: Opponents of local LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections (in Charlotte, in Houston, in Jacksonville) have been harping on scare tactics that equate trans people like Jonathan Green to predators.

But opponents cannot find one single incident in any of these cities where trans people like Jonathan Green have perpetuated any crime. What our community can find, though, are instances were trans people are the victims. It’s routine, and Jonathan Green’s case is just one of several local examples. Back during the Charlotte ordinance debate, at least two trans women, including one teen, were harassed while attempting to use the restroom in the government center.

In Greensboro, we find an alleged assault of a trans patron. In Charlotte, we have documented instances of anti-trans harassment. It’s been months since the city manager here has implemented the city’s own internal policy for public accommodations inclusion on city property. And not a single incident of predation which anti-LGBT campaigners routinely scream about.

The evidence is clear; non-discrimination ordinances are needed. If Greensboro had them, Jonathan Green would have easier recourse to dealing with the alleged assault there. Without those protections Green and other community members are left to their own devices. They’ve released the following demands and action items:

Greensboro: Our kindred experienced violence at Greene Street on Sunday. Gender and bathroom policing will not be tolerated. Mispronouning is transphobic. Excessive use of force on the bodies of any of our community members will be held accountable. Daily assaults, microagressions, erasure, dismissiveness, and suppression all inform and fuel the genocide of transwomen of color and the overall violence economic, physical or otherwise of our kindred. Any delay in process, urgency, accountability means more death. We have the following demands. 1.A conversation with all parties 2. A copy of the video tape 3. A public apology 4. All staff, promoters, DJ, owner all undergo Trans 101 training” ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ ‪#‎QPOCC‬ ‪#‎TransLiberation‬ ‪#‎TakingBackOurT‬ ‪#‎sayhername‬ ‪#‎sogso‬ ‪#‎greenestclub‬ @greenestclub HT/ April Parker & Jonathan Green

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