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The Wrong Amount Of Wrong: Barred For Life From The Cosmopolitan For Being Transgender

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 3708 Las Vegas Blvd S [map], Las Vegas, NV, United States, 89109
April 27, 2011 at 10:18 AM | by | Comments (49)

Update: 4.27.11, 8:30PM EST The Cosmopolitan has released a lengthier statement on the incident which we've posted at the bottom of the story. Good news--Stephanie is allowed back into the casino.

Sin City: a town where, supposedly, everything goes. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas: the newest, coolest hotel on the block which has advertised itself as having “just the right amount of wrong.”

Ever since it unveiled its tagline before it opened, last December, people were speculating on what, exactly, is the right amount of wrong for a town that prides itself on its loucheness. And now, it appears, we have an answer. Or at least, we know what’s the wrong amount of wrong.

The wrong amount of wrong is being transgender and using the women’s restroom.

We have a friend called Stephanie, who is pre-op trans. Stephanie lives in New York. Back home, Stephanie is accustomed to using the ladies when she needs the loo. Apparently, in New York, there’s a law saying that individuals can use the bathroom for whichever sex they self-define as. So when she hits up the bar at The Plaza, for instance (one of her regular hangouts), she goes to the ladies.

Cut to Vegas, two weeks ago. Stephanie is in town for a conference and wants to have a boozy night out. This member of HotelChatter has dinner with her, and we suggest that, although we’re tired and want to go home, she should check out the Cosmopolitan’s bar scene. It is, we say, our favorite place to sit and drink in Vegas, and it’ll be great for a drinker on their lonesome. Then we go home to sleep, dreaming of the Cosmo’s delicious cocktails, and wake up to find a distraught email from Stephanie saying that she has been banned for life from the hotel.

Here’s what happened. Stephanie goes to the Cosmo in the early hours of the morning – about 2.30am. She sits down at the Vesper Bar, in the lobby of the hotel, and orders drinks. Her drinks are good, the barman is pleasant, all is well. And then, at 4am, she realizes she needs the bathroom.

She goes, as is her wont, to the women’s restroom, just across from the bar. It’s empty, as you’d expect at 4am on a Monday. Not a single person in there. She powders her nose and exits the restroom, only to be met by two security guards who immediately say “Come with us” and start marching her out of the hotel. As they walk her, they demand to see her ID (to establish her legal gender). It’s in her purse, and she fumbles for it as she’s being forcibly marched through the lobby of the hotel. As she fumbles, one of the men tells her to hurry up. She is scared, and starts apologizing, saying she’s not trying to cause trouble, but it’s hard to walk and look for her ID at the same time.

They march her outside the hotel (the bathroom is near the main entrance) and she finds her ID. One of the guards checks it, establishes that her legal gender is male, and pulls out a yellow form from his pocket and starts writing in her details to the blank spaces. As he does so, he says, “Are you working?” Way to add insult to injury. She doesn’t say “Well as it happens, yes I am working, at the conference, douchebag.” She says no.

He hands her the yellow piece of paper, tells her it’s a legal document, and reads her what it says. This is what it says:

TRESPASS WARNING

As a duly appointed representative of the owner of this property, I hereby warn you that you are trespassing on this property as defined by the Nevada Revised Statute 207.200. If you do not leave these premises immediately, you will be subject to arrest for a misdemeanor. Your subsequent return to the premises after being duly warned not to return will subject you to immediate arrest for trespassing.

Then the security guard says, “Do you understand? You are banned for life from this hotel, and if you ever return, you will be arrested.” Stephanie says yes, she understands. He gets her to sign it, and hands her a copy. He photographs her and her driver’s license. Then he points to the taxi rank and tells her to get the hell out.

Banned. For life. See, Vegas doesn’t have the same decide-yourself bathroom law as New York. And since Vegas rules date back to Mob days and are therefore kinda, uhh, different from those in other places, a little known fact is that a Vegas casino can ban you for whatever reason – if it doesn’t like your face, your style of gambling, your dress sense, or the fact that you’re transgender and you dared to use an empty women’s restroom. Just one security guard taking a dislike to you can have you banned from that property for life.

(This is why, incidentally, we happen to know that another hotel in Vegas specifically includes LGBT issues in its staff training sessions – including trans use of bathrooms, which security guards are supposed to allow.)

We asked the Cosmopolitan what their LGBT policy was, and whether they have a predefined stance on trans bathroom use (like this other hotel). Incidentally, the Cosmo has been pushing itself in the gay community, advertising in Advocate and OUT and getting itself TAG approved (two of the things a hotel must do to be TAG approved include “enforcing non-discriminatory policies including ‘sexual orientation’” and “providing LGBT diversity and sensitivity training for employees”.) Additionally, Deutsche Bank, which owns the Cosmopolitan, rates 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index which “rates American workplaces on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.” So they've been hammering home the old gay-friendly stance.

Anyways, the Cosmo said this:

We regret that any guest may have had an unfortunate [ed: !!!!!] experience at The Cosmopolitan. All guests are welcome to experience the city's newest luxury resort. Our guests' safety, comfort and enjoyment always remains our top priority.

The resort contains numerous public restroom facilities that guests can use at their discretion as well as numerous private family restrooms throughout. Additionally, The Cosmopolitan is a TAG approved resort.

Yup, everyone is welcome, except if you’re transgendered and need to pee.

Only in Vegas, eh?

Update: 4.27.11, 8:30PM EST : The Cosmopolitan has released a lengthier statement on the incident.

"The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is committed to maintaining a community that recognizes and values the inherent dignity of every person, by fostering sensitivity, understanding and mutual respect of our guests and employees. We sincerely regret any misunderstanding or inappropriate actions that any member of our staff may have taken. And to ensure increased sensitivity within this area, the organization will focus on continued training and on-going awareness initiatives. In addition, we apologize to the individual guest and welcome her back to the resort anytime. Again, we would like to apologize to the LGBT community and anyone concerned and hope to demonstrate our firm dedication to fair and unbiased treatment of all." - The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Comments (49)

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Disappointing response

Did they even look up the specific incident to see why exactly your friend was barred? There's not even a mention that they would go over their LGBT policies and training with their security guards again. Also, how the heck do security guards give out a trespassing notice when the casinos are open to anyone who walks in?
That said, I do believe the Cosmo is committed to their TAG status. I just think they probably need to get rid of some security guards.

Hard Rock might be better

I meant to add, maybe Stephanie should go to the Hard Rock next time. They only banned Adam from the Real World for a year, even though he trashed one of their suites!

Epic Fail

Extremely disappointing. You gave the Cosmopolitan an opportunity to "make it right" with their response...and they failed epically. I hope TAG reevaluates their approval. There's nothing cosmopolitan about a backwoods stance on equality.

Public Accomodation

I would be getting a hold of the resort association in Nevada.  They are currently backing legislation that will ban discrimination based on public accommodations based on gender identity.  The bill just passed through the State Senate and is on it's way to the Assembly.  

What happened to this woman would be illegal under the new law.


Re response

That response that I put there was actually a combination of two responses. I asked them specifically for their LGBT policy/stance on trans bathroom uses, and their reply was just that first paragraph. So I asked them again if they had a specific policy, and they sent me the second half.

No apology to the friend, no offer to look it up to see what happened, but, more worryingly, no mention of any existing policies or an offer to go through things in training. Which makes me think maybe they don't have a policy? To be fair, I only know of one hotel in Vegas that does. So maybe everyone else is just winging it? But not even chucked out once - barred for life. Just wow.


ps

@juliana re trespass notice - apparently, that's possible in vegas - because of the gambling, any guard can decide that you are "trespassing" and give you a notice if they decide not to like you, for whatever reason.

That is disgusting.

As the new kid in town you would think they would go all out to make a good impression. Nothing short of a public apology to the customer in question will do. They should at the very least make the apology and it they were smart they would offer her an all expense paid weekend at the hotel. As for now they are scratched off my list of places to stay in Vegas.

Sucks to be the Cosmo...

I guess I'll take my 600-person convention I was planning on booking there, elsewhere...

ugh

I don't care if The Cosmopolitan has the only AllSaints in Vegas or a bar that pretends to be a chandelier, this is WRONG. As a girl who drinks solo at fancy bars all the time, I have to say that if anyone asked me if I was "working," I'd be offended enough to never go again. The fact that they do not allow transgender people inside takes it to another level. I won't be back.

Cannot let this go quietly.

This is the type of incident that calls for a rally against this hotel, a public boycott to send the message of their bigotry and why we won't go there, and as Michiko put it, there needs to be calls to the Nevada resort association, and let it be known that this type of transgression is taking place. Their response is wholly inadequate and absolves themselves of responsibility of their actions. This cannot be allowed to slide without action.

Disgusting

This made me absolutly sick.  I hope this gets picked up everywhere, and the Cosmo is made to feel like a fool.  I just called to cancel my week long vacation there, and am facebooking and tweeting this (yes they are verbs) as much as I can.  I hope everyone else doesthis as well.  Shame on the cosmo!!   Don't let this one go VC!!!  

SOME CONTACT INFORMATION

John Unwin, CEO, Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
john.unwin@cosmopolitanlasvegas.com

John Gallagher, Corporate Finance & GTB/Media Relations, Deutsche Bank
john-t.gallagher@db.com

Michele Allison, Head Press Contact/Media Relations, Deutsche Bank
michele.allison@db.com

Glen Fishman, TAG Manager/Projects Director, TAG-Approved
Glen@communitymarketinginc.com

Virginia Valentine, President, Nevada Resort Association
information@nevadaresorts.org


Facebook..

This is getting some attention on the hotels Facebook page...post away:

<a href="http://www.facebook.com/TheCosmopolitan">http://www.facebook.com/TheCosmopolitan</a>


Emailed them from their website

I sent them an email letting them know that they've lost my business unless they apologize, welcome Stephanie back and retrain their staff in appropriate behavior. I also shared it on Facebook in the hopes that some of my friends will also do the same. I understand that they currently have the right to behave this way, but they need to know that there are consequences (lost business, bad publicity) if they do.

Scroll down on FB Page

just went to the Cosmo's FB page and the conversation about Stephanie is happening further down on their wall even though people are posting as we speak. i guess there is some function on FB pages to put the wall posts they like higher up on the page.

Cosmo, the playground bully

Cosmopolitan, you really should be ashamed of yourself.

In this day & age (in ANY day & age) this kind of treatment is utterly deplorable. I can't even begin to imagine how this poor lady felt after being treated like some kind of criminal. And to be asked if she was "working". Fucking. Shocking!

The replies Juliab received from the hotel are nearly as bad. They are a cop out & point to a total lack of understanding & customer care.

I for one, shall be visiting Vegas later this year & my "tourist dollars" will be kept firmly away from this place until they start treating EVERYONE with the same respect & dignity. I certainly don't want to spend my precious time & my hard-earned cash in a place which bullies their customers.

Oh, and by the way, Cosmo, the word Cosmopolitan means being at ease with many different people & cultures...... obviously you're not so cosmopolitan after all.


Boo hiss

I sent this to a connected friend in Vegas! I hope that we can make a difference! I will never darken this door unless they make some real changes and apologies.

@ Jim Speiser

Make sure you call The Cosmo and tell them that you're not booking there and precisely why.  The ignorami need to know what they're losing, for it to hurt.

irony, much?

"The resort contains numerous public restroom facilities that guests can use at their discretion. . . " Unless you're trans and haven't yet changed your gender marker, apparently.

call me old fashion

Maybe I'm a bit closed minded but I believe if you have a penis you should not be allowed in a women's restroom. If I went into a woman's restroom I would expect nothing less than to be thrown out. That being said, I do agree that security handled the situation poorly and a ban for life is a bit extreme, but that is there right a business.

Where are trans women supposed to go?

Bill Fuqua - perhaps you'd prefer us to pee on the floor? Where are trans women supposed to go? Toilets have stalls, it's not like anyone is going to see anything. You can't seriously be suggesting we use male toilets? That's a recipe for repeated assault.

I'm with the hotel...

First off, I'm not down with discrimination but the fault here lies with the person in question not the hotel.

Vegas is a hooker hotspot, the Vesper bar at Cosmo is the newest hooker hotspot. There are transsexual hookers, likely hanging around the bar at 4am. She was alone, and held ID saying she was a man. These conditions all came together to earn her a ban from the premises. This isn't discrimination, this is a casino kicking out what for all intents and purposes looked like a transsexual hooker plying her trade. A meek 'no' when asked if she was 'working' isn't gonna cut it.

They had likely spotted her at some point and were just looking for an excuse to kick her out, not because she's transgendered but because she looked like a hooker.

Should have used the mens room, should have explained herself better to the security. Don't damn the hotel because she didn't understand Vegas.


Are you kidding me?

Re: James Atkinson
By your logic, any woman drinking alone at a bar in a Vegas hotel is a sex worker...and not to exclude by gender, any man alone at a bar is too.  There is no standard rule that says a pretty woman (cisgendered or trans*) alone at a bar is "working."  Operating by that standard = no business, and believe it or not, the Cosmo cares more about money than a transwoman in the bathroom.  

Not to mention she (presumably) has a New York ID, which greatly diminishes the chances that she's a local prostitute.

This all boils down to a bigoted security guard taking advantage of the power associated with his position and a company too scared to lose conservative business with an official apology or statement.

My suggestion to those of you who have canceled your business with the Cosmo is to try Aria Resort or Vdara Spa & Hotel (both in City Center) as alternatives.  They are both MGM Resorts International properties.  Every employee goes through LGBTQI sensitivity training.  The company repeatedly ranks at the top of the HRC Corporate Equality Index, and makes numerous donations in both monetary and volunteer forms.  There are gender-nuetral restrooms, and as an individual that identifies genderqueer and uses whichever restroom I please, I can personally assure you I have never been removed (banned, or harassed) at any MGM property.

At the end of the day, security is there to keep the establishment and people (both guests and staff) secure.  A person drinking alone at a bar and urinating in the correct facility is not a threat to anybody's safety or well-being.  Stephanie being at that bar didn't lose the Vesper any money, but banning her sure did.  

Way to go, Cosmo.  Your modern art says you're forward thinking, but your business practices say otherwise.

(Side note:  This makes the recent bill hearings on trans* rights in establishments, housing, and the workplace all the more important.  Contact the governor and let him know how important the rights of EVERYBODY should be.  As of now, he has yet to take a stance on the matter).


Doesn't change the facts

By your logic women (transsexual or otherwise) don't travel to Vegas to sell their bodies. Happens all the time.

Based on the story she put herself in the position to be suspect and she got trespassed. It's not like there's a big sign in the security break room that says 'Remember: Kick out the trannies!'.

Freaking out and blaming the entire hotel based on an uncorroborated story and a trespass notice is childish.


let me get this straight...

@james atkinson ... any transsexual MUST be plying her trade? Because she's somewhere where there's hella hookers? Your comment makes no sense at all. I'm a woman with a woman's ID, and most hookers are women, so shouldn't I be the one they kick out?

logic-impaired

omg you're a total loon. the hookers in vegas are as gorgeous as any model -- by your logic, any beautiful woman drinking alone at 4am should be bounced. This is vegas we're talking about -- people party at all hours.

It's On the Flawsmo

Nothing about my logic excludes the fact that people live (and visit) Vegas to engage in sex work, but just because that happens doesn't mean it's safe to assume everybody traveling to Vegas is here for that reason.  What was childish was barring someone from a public establishment for little more than "not passing enough" for a cisgendered security guard.  Had Stephanie been able to "pass enough" for his liking, she would never have been harassed and subsequently banned, regardless of the gender marker on her identification.

It seems people need to be reminded or perhaps educated that "transgendered/transsexual" and "sex worker" are not always synonymous.  
Would a cisgendered woman alone at the bar walking into the women's restroom at 4am be escorted or banned?  Likely not.  This has everything to do with her being trans*, not resembling a sex worker to a security guard.

Perhaps one day someone will harass you for deciding that you "look the part" you actually don't play, and then you can understand the extreme wrongness of this situation.

And I don't think anybody here is truly blaming the hotel for this occurrence.  Should they have done a better job training and teaching their stance on LGBTQ matters?  Perhaps.  Could they have known the security guard was going to respond this ridiculously?  Of course not.  Could they have issued a sincere apology to Stephanie, as well as handled the employee in question?  Absolutely.  Have they?  No...and I think that's the problem at this point.  What happened here was wrong.  What could have been a misunderstanding, or the act of less than ideal employee is now a matter of "Why won't this company own up and make it right?"


SB 331

I know we're all saddened/outraged by Cosmo banning a Trans woman from their property, but let this be an example of how much we need to get SB 331 pushed through the NV legislature, making it illegal to discriminate against a person for their gender identity & expression from accessing places of public accommodation. Call your State Senators & urge them to pass this legislation!

<a href="http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/76th2011/Reports/history.cfm?billname=SB331">http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/76th2011/Reports/history.cfm?billname=SB331</a>


The Cosmo Responds

Check out the official response from The Cosmo - <a href="http://www.sincitytimes.com/?article=CosmoRespondstoGLBTCommunity&aid=39">http://www.sincitytimes.com/?article=CosmoRespondstoGLBTCommunity&aid=39</a>

Descrepancies in the story

While I feel badly for Stephanie, there are a few descrepancies in the story. I was in the hotel industry here in Las Vegas for 14 years, and I can tell you that the security staff would NEVER take someone outside and process paperwork and photograph someone they are trespassing. They have policies that are meant to be followed, and they have people to report to. Also, if Stephanie were truly a woman and was stopped by security to ask if she were 'working', and what her actual gender was, that would be a major lawsuit against the hotel. If Stephanie had the appearance of a woman, she never would have been stopped by security and never would have allegedly been treated the way that she claims she was. Please always remember, there are 2 sides to every story, then there is the truth.

Security

"Also, if Stephanie were truly a woman and was stopped by security to ask if she were 'working', and what her actual gender was, that would be a major lawsuit against the hotel. If Stephanie had the appearance of a woman, she never would have been stopped by security and never would have allegedly been treated the way that she claims she was."

First off, Stephanie IS a woman.  Secondly, you said that if she could look enough like what society deems is "how a woman should look" this wouldn't have happened to her.  Exactly. This happened to her because of how she looked.  It's discrimination.  And just because you've worked in the industry for 14 years doesn't mean you know the Cosmo's procedures.  I can attest that I've worked at numerous strip locations, and each has it's own quirky way of handling things.

Not to mention, I have been in a restroom at a major hotel & casino when someone was mistaken for the opposite gender.  They were asked by staff to use the appropriate restroom and that was the end of it, so obviously security procedures vary between properties. A life-long ban was ridiculous and uncalled for.


maybe, just maybe...

having read and read again the description of what happened... maybe, just maybe, the security made the mistake of thinking this person was a prostitute and kicked her out for that reason, nothing else.

for better or worse, single girls sitting at a bar at 4am in Vegas many times ARE hookers. if this person was mistaken for a hooker that is horrible... but maybe that's all this was and had nothing to do with the person's gender...

based on the crazy behavior and people i've seen in Vegas, it really takes a lot to get security's attention... maybe someone saw them walk in the 'wrong' bathroom and brought it up with security?

all in all, if this occurred 100% exactly the way it was described by the author, that's pretty bad. But i'm quite sure it was an isolated incident and sounds like its being dealt with proactively by the hotel. Remember this article just came out today... give the hotel a day or so to figure out what happened and how to properly respond.


I think they made the right move

It isn't like the board of owners and CEO decided to give Steph the boot. It was a security guard and maybe a handful of employees who acted.

Once the whole story was made clear - they apologized and said she can come back whenever she wants.

I'm not sure what more a hotel can do when one of their employees makes a mistake. And the security guard didn't break any laws, just made a poor judgement call (IMO)

Personally, I would like to see Steph flown back, all expenses paid - but it is not my call to demand that the hotel do that.

A public apology and pledge for better training; I forgive them.


Umm... Did I miss something?

When was the updated comment added?  According to the update above (copied below), Cosmo (1) apologized three times, as far as I can tell, (2) invited her back to the resort, essentially invalidating the trespassing violation and banning, (3) and conveyed a msg to the community that this incident was an anomaly that is being addressed, rather than the norm. So, (not to sound abrasive) what's everyone up in arms about? It seems to me the resort did the right thing in the end. Yes, anyone can mess up or make a mistake, but it's how those issues are handled that should matter.

UPDATED STATEMENT:
"The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is committed to maintaining a community that recognizes and values the inherent dignity of every person, by fostering sensitivity, understanding and mutual respect of our guests and employees. We sincerely regret any misunderstanding or inappropriate actions that any member eness initiatives. In addition, we apologize to the individual guest and welcome her back to the resort anytime. Again, we would like to apologize to the LGBT community and anyone concerned and hope to demonstrate our firm dedication to fair and unbiased treatment of all." - The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas


Don't see the issue

I'm with Bill Fuqua, don't really see the issue with what the Cosmo did here? They saw a person walk into the women's restroom, walk out, checked their ID which said male and kicked them out. Sounds like they were within their right, no matter what discrimination laws are on the book. Just because the law on which restrooms she can use back home say one thing doesn't mean it must be the same anywhere else, in a situation like that that's the individual's resonsibility to know. If you want to be free to use women's restrooms get your legal gender changed and I'm fine with it. You should have one bathroom or the other you are free to use, just like everyone else.

Plus the establishment has even went back and said she is welcome back, despite breaking their rules. Don't understand how you all can say they dropped the ball on an apology, sounds like they've gone above and beyond what I would expect they should feel the need to


Too quick too judge

I find merit in many of the comments above.  Was this mishandled?  By the sounds of it, YES.  It was one or two security guards who made a judgement call (arguably not a great one).  Keep in mind what these folks are asked to do every day: take care of drunks, punks, party animals and all sorts of people with entitlement issues who may cause damage, generate noise complaints from others etc etc.

I am not blindly protecting these guards but let's face it - they deal with a lot of S**T and perhaps were acting on bad information?! Who knows!

Keep in mind there are HUNDREDS of employees there, most of which do what they can to go above and beyond for their guests every day.

Look how many people get upset here, when one makes a statement that 'all single ladies' in a bar at 4AM 'must' be working.  It's a ridiculous statement - but using the same logic, it would be ridiculous to say that the Cosmopolitan is insensitive because of one or two staff members.

For the record - I am not an employee of the hotel - but I do work in the hotel business and have been doing so for quite some time.  So this is my point of view.  If there was any sign that this is the norm (repetitive stories of similar conduct), then this would be a different review, but as I see it, there was an unfortunate incident, the hotel was made aware of it, and they have apologized - not only to the indivdual but to the LGBT community.


a more plausible reason this happened...

<a href="http://www.vegastripping.com/news/news.php?news_id=4014">http://www.vegastripping.com/news/news.php?news_id=4014</a>

as I postulated above, IMO this was a case of a mistaken identification as a working girl. The blog post i linked to above has a great writeup of their take on why this happened.

its much more plausible the girl was wrongly escorted out by being mistaken as a working girl than solely as being a transgendered person.  As the Hotelchatter author is a friend of the person, of course they have a bit of a biased take on this IMO as well.

Its a bit sad to see the LBGT (i get that right) community rush to judge the hotel on this without leaving the possibility that the whole incident had nothing to do with their gender preference.


Avoid!

I am going to AVOID this establishment; will warn my friends and family!

recipe for assault

If we allow pre op transsexuals to use a women's restroom then we would have to let perverts, pedophiles, and video voyeurs identifying themselves as a woman in the woman's restroom. I believe this would make it to easier for them to do what they do. That's a recipe for repeated assault.

I am outraged

I am a member of the LGBT Community.  My name is Nancy, but for 46 years I was Ted, Ted Carroll.  I am pre-op M2F, going through Hormone Replacement Therapy; awaiting my gender reassignment surgery, sometime in July.    And today I can say that.  For years I couldn't.  I have spent the last 15 years in intense anger therapy and sexual dysfunction therapy in order to say that.  I felt trapped, Nancy was trapped.  It wasn't only my inner psyche trapping me but it was society.  And stories like this bring me to tears.  Stephanie is a victim.  A victim of a society that will not recognize the person she truly is and wants to be.  Also the hormones make you have to tinkle a lot.  Sorry I just had to get that off my chest.

Ironically, I worked in the hotel industry for 25, at Hilton.  And I will tell you Hilton is dedicated to equality and providing the best experience possible to all of it guest, whether they be gay, straight, pre op, post op, whomever.  I am writing to share a little anecdote.  In 2005, Hilton Garden Inn, as part of its Out and Proud Campaign, decided to market test She Male Adjoining Rooms, at a couple of properties outside of Norman, OK.   It was a total disaster; I guess the good people of Norman are not yet ready to embrace the LBGT Community.   We worked hard on the rooms; each guest was provided a complimentary clean lexan polycarbonaite paddle and cock cage with slits for ventilation and such.   We thought those give aways would entice all the closet case homosexuals of the South and Midwest to come out and stat at the HGI Norman.  Along with the freebies, each room was outfitted with a urinal in the corner, dog bowl, sterile glass bottles for urine collection, steel reinforced hooks in the wall for strapping and rigging.  The walls were sound proof and each room had its own unique array of toys, from thumb cuffs, locks of Jennifer Spino's hair that curly, mass of goodness that I could sleep in, to bobble head dolls, gels and personal lubricants, to Terry Kang and needles.  The rooms were one a kind as they had strategically placed drains so the rooms could be hosed down after each use.  Dick Barter, from Pink Sweater Design and Hilton Supply Chain Management headed up the team.  Rick Roberts, supplied concentration camp consulting for our Auschwitz Themed Room (don't worry I married one.)  Tony Nieves consulted on the dentistry room.   The rooms were fully handicap accessible and private security was headed up by Gary Elfving, head of the Hilton Secret Police.  Ultimately it was the arrest and conviction of Brian Emmer for crimes against humanity that ended the test.  Stephen Faulk was always there to suck up in case you were having a bad day.   I condemn what happened to Stephanie, although I have a feeling she probably had it coming to her.   Angie Shahani's giant pillows were also used, and the role play costumes were provided directly out of Pamela McHenry's personal wardrobe.


Prostitutes. every where you look! Oh My!

Interesting that this comment thread has transitioned to a discussion regarding prostitution, based, apparently, on the insights of the team of experts who chose to comment.   The expert analysis presented has determined that this incident has nothing to do with bias (or action) against transgendered individuals, but is merely the result of the Cosmopolitan enforcing some anti-prostitution policy. This determination, despite that fact that the security personal, who had spotted me some time before I went to the restroom, did not approach me until I left the restroom, and despite the fact that's what they said at the time.

So, if this incident is related to prostitution, one might wonder why the Cosmopolitan would release a statement owning up to a Transgender-based issue, and not just "dodge the bullet" and claim this as prostitution policy.

I truly believe that the esteemed panel of expert commentary here in this thread has uncovered the dirty under-belly of this incident: That the Cosmopolitan is pursuing a policy of bias against all Women and that they admit to Transgender bias as a COVER for their more dastardly agenda of bias against all women (born and Trans).

As presented in this thread, the Cosmopolitan feels (and the commentary team here agrees) that any un-escorted woman in the Cosmopolitan at 4:00am is a prostitute. That fact seems to have been well established by the experts here. As such, I suggest that this is indeed not bias against transgendered individuals (as also suggested by the expert commentary) but is indeed a much bigger issue of sexual discrimination against all women.

Props for the expert analysis that has uncovered this hidden agenda and I look forward to their continued analysis and commentary on this point.  I will forward this information to the appropriate Women's Rights organizations so that they can address this with the Cosmopolitan.

All of that said, I also wish to present some additional thoughts to our panel of experts for their further analysis and insight:

1.    We seem to have established a well defined rule that un-escorted women at the Cosmopolitan at 4:00am are prostitutes. What might be the actual "curfew" beyond which women are presumed to be prostitutes? 3am?, 2am?  Or is it safe to assume that any un-escorted female at the Cosmo, at any time of day, is presumed to be "working" and should be evicted from the premises?
2.    It is well known that prostitutes are frequently in the company of men, and so we can not presume that all prostitutes are, in fact, unescorted. So as not to let any prostitutes slip thru the dragnet (and sully the reputation of the Cosmopolitan) should all escorted women also be expelled from the property? What about groups of Women?
3.    Ultimately, should the Cosmopolitan simply adopt a no female (of any type) rule and take the step of becoming the only Men's Only hotel/Casino on the strip? That certainly solves the tricky problem of determining who is a prostitute.

I eagerly await the expert intellectual analysis that I am sure will follow.


FYI, everyone

If anyone is wondering why we didn't publish this story the day it happened -  we were a) waiting on Stephanie to agree to let us write about what happened to her (which was a pretty brave decision and not one taken lightly) and b) waiting on the Cosmopolitan to respond - and then respond again, after their initial statement was pretty weak. It took seven days and two statements for the Cosmo to produce the quote given in the initial story.

As I pointed out....

....on the VC article, the claim that Stephanie was 86ed for being transgendered is not supported by the facts.  It's clear to me that she was 86ed for being a suspected prostitute.

Obviously, Cosmo got that one wrong.  But this sort of thing happens in every Strip hotel on a nightly basis.

It isn't great.  But it's also worlds apart from banning TG people from their hotel as some sort of global policy.  And I don't believe, for one moment, that Stephanie would have been kicked out if she'd been sitting with a group of people.

And I agree, that's not fair.  A single woman should be able to drink at any bar in Vegas at any time without being suspected of prostitution.

Their first couple of apologies should have been stronger; but a company's PR machine doesn't kick into high gear until they get some bad press.  Disappointing, but that's how it is.

I guess what I'm saying is this: the initial event could have happened at ANY Strip hotel (and I'm sure it has -- I'm sure people have been kicked out for prostitution who were not in fact prostitutes).

And the PR response would also have happened at any Strip hotel.  A little disappointing because Cosmo claims to be "different"?  Sure, I can see that.

But will this affect my future decisions to stay at Cosmo?  Absolutely not, because I believe this to be an isolated incident, not corporate policy.  (As compared to say, Donald Trump, who is actively positioning himself as anti-gay rights, and I'll never stay at one of his hotels again.)


Candice

"recipe for assault If we allow pre op transsexuals to use a women's restroom then we would have to let perverts, pedophiles, and video voyeurs identifying themselves as a woman in the woman's restroom. I believe this would make it to easier for them to do what they do. That's a recipe for repeated assault."
Bill you speak of a "slippery slope" adage for the premise of your argument. If we let pre op transsexuals use the "wrong" restroom, we will allow perverts, pedophiles, and voyeurs into the restroom. This is a pathetic argument and plays off stereotypes that are unfounded.  Your Facebook say that you are open minded. Apparently this is not so...much the same as The Cosmopolitan is not what they say. I have a few questions that need to be part of this discussion:
So how would you accommodate the thousands of intersex people who look outwardly female, but have fully functioning penises? How about the numerous individuals who have mixed genitalia? How about the females who look more male and yet have female reproductive organs? What about the LESBIANS? Should we ban them too?

What is missing from this discussion is the inclusion of the 1 in 100 people who are born outside of our definitions of typical male/female development. Roughly 1 in 1,000 people require a specialist to attempt to determine sex or surgically alter an individual's genitalia, so they can fit into our binary system of gender. Simply put, our binary system cannot accommodate all people! It is impossible to categorize our species into a simplistic male/female system.
 I train organizations and universities throughout Utah about how to establish inclusive policies, which are sensitive and understanding of our diverse species. Maybe The Cosmopolitan should get in touch with me or another organization to learn about this subject? This is how you can show us that you are serious. This is an issue that the State of Nevada needs to address.
I'm a woman who was born with a penis and I have had surgery. But, I still get approached and discriminated against when I come to Las Vegas. That's why I avoid going there and it looks like I will certainly avoid going to The Cosmopolitan. Thank god for people like Stephanie who are willing to stand up and take their place! It is simply unacceptable to allow this kind of discriminatory behavior to continue.


Will you marry me?

that type of intellecutal stimulation has me stimulated all over.  Good job toots or is it good job fella?

Nope.

To quote one of the smartest, most politically and socially savvy women I know, Monica Roberts:  "There has been no recorded case since 1953, the year Christine Jorgenson returned to the States from Denmark to this date in the second decade of the 21st century of any ciswoman being physically attacked or sexually assaulted by a transwoman."  (For context, the full article is here: <a href="http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2011/02/tired-of-bathroom-bill-bs.html">http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2011/02/tired-of-bathroom-bill-bs.html</a>)

Seriously, the only time I have ever seen a man pose as a trans woman to attack a cis woman in a restroom was in Death Wish V.  Which was a movie.  And a terrible movie, at that.

For the record, I am a cis heterosexual white woman who has no issue whatsoever with using the a public restroom with trans women, or gender-nonconforming women, of any sexual orientation, race, size or disability status.  I do, however, have a massive issue with people who use grotesque dog-whistle memes as an excuse for treating trans people as second-class citizens.


p.s.

Hmmm...not sure if the comments are nesting properly or not.  My reply above was to Bill Fuqua, in response to his "if we let trans people in the women's room, we'll have to let pedophiles and voyeurs in, too" noise.

Is this a hoax???

On Julia's own blog, she relates a very similar incident (actually two!) that happened to Stephanie in April 2010 and January 2011:

<a href="http://bitchinvegas.com/?p=83">http://bitchinvegas.com/?p=83</a>

Frighteningly similar, almost verbatim.  And also frightening.  Confronted by a "SWAT team" and "guard dogs" at Hard Rock?  Leaving the property in tears???

I have to ask the same question Steve Friess asked on his blog (<a href="http://thestrippodcast.blogspot.com/2011/04/what-if-cosmo-transgender-thing-is-hoax.html">http://thestrippodcast.blogspot.com/2011/04/what-if-cosmo-transgender-thing-is-hoax.html</a>)

HOW IN THE WORLD could Julia Buckley not mention the previous, very similar incidents that Stephanie has undergone at another Las Vegas hotel?  One that seems like even more of an overreaction, with SWAT teams and guard dogs???

Read Steve's blog post as linked and see how many times Stephanie's story changes as she talks to Steve.

Either this story is all bullshit, or Julia and Stephanie were out to slander Cosmopolitan, or Julia is a dreadful journalist and Stephanie has a really, really poor memory.

In any case, I don't believe this story as written here, and I will no longer trust HotelChatter or VegasChatter for legitimate information.


@ericrz

Why didn't I mention the Hard Rock incident in this story? Because, rightly or wrongly, that wasn't the story as I saw it. As I wrote on my own blog on Thursday, I know Stephanie gets "special treatment" all the time - I witness it every time she comes out with me and my friends in Vegas. It can be a sideways look, it can be a bartender ignoring her as he asks every single other drinker whether they want another round, it can be a box office person saying a show is sold out until one of her other friends buys the tickets, it can be a singer cutting short a meet and greet when she gets in line - and that's just from the experience of me and my friends.

Yes, she's had incidents over bathroom use before, but this experience went so far beyond any previous encounter that - not to belittle what has happened to her before - it catapulted into a different league of discrimination. Being told politely at Wynn that she shouldn't use the women's restrooms is one thing; being harassed at Hard Rock is another. But being banned for life? It's on a different scale. And when the hotel reacted as it did - repeatedly failing to state whether it had a policy on trans bathroom use or LGBT issues (I'm still waiting for an answer, incidentally - surely they should be able to say whether they have one or not by now?), and taking a week to say that it "regretted" the incident, the story took on another dimension.

For those reasons - because the security guards' actions were so draconian, and because the hotel failed to give an adequate response - I decided, that on this occasion, the story was about the Cosmopolitan. And in an attempt to explain as fully (yet concisely) as possible the story of this incident, I decided not to reference the other occasions she's been confronted with prejudice. Also, I felt it would have been unfair to write about events at the Hard Rock that had taken place such a long time ago - one in January this year, but the more serious occasion in April 2010. It would have been difficult for the hotel to investigate events that had taken place that long ago.  

Incidentally, I wasn't alone in this belief - another publication that reported on the story early on also discussed the Hard Rock incident in an interview with Stephanie, and also left it out of their final story.

Hope that clears things up.

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