ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CBS Tampa) — A St. Petersburg bar landed in hot water recently after a transgender woman was told she could not receive discounted drinks on “ladies night.”
The bar, Bishop Tavern & Lounge, was quick to apologize on its Facebook page after a protest group formed on the same social networking site.
“Recently a concern was raised about how a transgender customer was treated here. We would like to sincerely apologize for this,” the Facebook note states. “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.”
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the problems began when patron Alex Borrego went to Bishop with several friends, including three female-to-male transgender persons and a drag queen.
Though Borrego was initially offered discounted beverages as part of the bar’s promotion, a bouncer came over and told them they were cut off from the deals “because [they’re] dudes.”
Her driver’s license lists her as a female, but showing her ID did not help her cause. Eventually, the group left.
“Legally, I’m a woman,” she told the Times. “And to deny me to participate in ladies night — that’s very disrespectful.”
Not long after, Borrego and her friends initiated an online protest of the establishment. The apology issued by the bar seemed to mollify much of the protesting community.
“Thank you for the apology and your willingness to embrace change and equality!” read one comment.
“I’m glad this situation got dealt with quickly,” another said. “Obviously a member of the LGBT community and I go to Bishops often so when I heard of this I was more than shocked as I’ve never been bothered or told I couldn’t partake in ladies night being a butch. I’m glad now I don’t have to avoid going to Bishops.”
According to the Times, Borrego and her friends were also satisfied with the sincerity of their words, adding that the protest page will be removed.
She will reportedly discontinue going to Bishop on principle, though, and continue to fight for the rights of transgender people in light of the situation.
“I definitely want to keep the issue alive,” Borrego told the paper. “I still think there is an issue at hand. It is discrimination at the core.”