All Veejay Floresca wanted to do was go to a friend’s birthday party. But when she was given a hard time by the door staff of Valkyrie and she posted about the experience on Facebook, other names soon surfaced.
Trixie Maristela. Janlee Dungca. Transgender women who were also reportedly turned away by the club for “cross-dressing.”
Janlee wrote in a Facebook post: “Denial of entry to any establishment because of one’s gender (or identity in general, for that matter) is very dehumanizing… Knowing about the issue, I’ve [avoided] the club for as long as I can until some friends invited me to go and spend a night out with them. I didn’t want to go, for fear of experiencing what my trans sisters have experienced before me and for consciously not patronizing a business that does not uphold my gender and identity. But my friends insisted, telling me they can get me in for sure, may it be that I look ‘passable’ or that they have ‘connections’ inside. The ‘connections’ part didn’t feel right as it goes against my active decision not to support the club. But they insisted, and I obliged. And I was discriminated against… Being regarded as male and accused of cross-dressing felt paralyzing.
Gender sensitivity and equality are what I have been educating people about and fighting for ever since I started transitioning. At that moment, I felt weak, helpless, disoriented and small. I was publicly denied entry due to the wrong reasons and accusations. I was not only denied entry. I was denied my gender, my identity. My friends were pushing for me to enter until I got back to my senses and realized that it wasn’t a fight worth fighting for. I just asked my friends if we could just leave, and we did.”
There has been an outpouring of support and outrage about the issue. There have been interviews, blog posts, arguments, fights, accusations and a call for unity.
The management of Valkyrie sent this official statement to Inquirer Super:
“Club management would like to apologize to these individuals if the denial of entry resulted in their embarrassment or made them feel disrespected in any way. It was never the intention of the Club to cause embarrassment nor to disrespect any person. In denying entry to these individuals, the Club’s personnel were merely adhering to its safety policies and guidelines. Valkyrie Nightclub and The Palace Pool Club are private establishments. As such, they reserve the right to determine who will be permitted entry into their premises. The determination of who will be allowed entry into the premises is based primarily on the Club’s safety policies and guidelines…
In the event that there is any doubt as to the authenticity of the identification card presented, the Club’s staff members are authorized to deny entry to the individual presenting such identification card. Again, this is intended to ensure the safety of all of the Club’s guests and patrons. Club management recognizes, however, that it may be necessary to provide further training to its staff to ensure that they are better able to communicate the Club’s guidelines and policies to its patrons in order to avoid misunderstanding in the future. The management of Valkyrie Nightclub and The Palace Pool
Club wishes to clarify that it does not discriminate against transwomen and transgender individuals. The Club does not refuse entry on the basis of an individual’s sexual orientation. The Club has, on many previous occasions, welcomed transgender guests into its premises. Once again, the management of the Club apologizes to those individuals who may have felt embarrassed or disrespected in any way. Moving forward, the management of the Club intends to reach out to the LGBT community to ensure that any concerns they may have regarding this matter are adequately addressed.”
A meeting between the parties involved has been scheduled on June 29.