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13 Nov 2007

transsexual author seeks to educate club that asked her to leave

A well known Singaporean transsexual author and speaker, who was asked to leave a club early Saturday morning, hopes to turn the incident into an opportunity to educate the club's bouncers and management about gender diversity.

Leona Lo, the author of the first transsexual autobiography to be published in Singapore, was asked to leave a bar known as The Pump Room after being told that it did not welcome "lady boys."

Leona Lo, author of From Leonard to Leona, the first transsexual autobiography to be published in Singapore.
The author of From Leonard to Leona said she was approached by a bouncer while she was dancing at the Clarke Quay nightspot with her friends early Saturday morning.

In an email to the media over the weekend, Lo said that despite trying to explain that she is a transsexual author raising awareness of transsexual issues in Singapore, the supervisor whom the bouncer summoned reiterated that the club did not welcome "lady boys."

Feeling "enraged at being called a lady boy and being discriminated against," she had refused to show the bouncer her ID although it states female as her gender.

"Sorry, this not my policy, this the bar's policy. Our clients don't like. You not happy please leave." Lo quoted the supervisor as saying.

When contacted by Fridae, Bill Graham, a director of The Pump Room, said in an email that the club is still "trying to patch together a picture of exactly what happened that night" as their security staff are largely part-timers especially on weekends.

He added that the club has "no policy excluding any groups whatsoever excepting those who are below our recommended age limit, are in breach of our very reasonable dress code, or people who are behaving inappropriately or have done so in the past."

The British-educated 32-year-old, who runs her own public relations consultancy, told Fridae that she is not "looking for an apology - but the opportunity to conduct an hour-long lecture on gender diversity for the bouncers and their management."

"In the States, when there are acts of discrimination, people are sometimes sentenced to community service. In this instance, I will undertake the 'community service' myself."

When asked why she had alerted the media to her experience, she explained: "If this could happen to me, it's probably happening to lots of transsexuals on a regular basis. In the past, transsexuals used to live under the sword of fear, and no one stood up for them."

"I feel it's my duty to stand up to the bullies - and that's what they are, bullies. Bullies try to strike fear in the hearts of the more socially vulnerable. But in so doing, they also reveal themselves to be cowards."

"I hope to promote understanding and compassion among Singaporeans for those they perceive to be 'different.' I believe in promoting awareness through peaceful methods. Awareness has already been raised in Today and Shin Min (a Chinese-language daily), so I'm happy with this."

Both Lo and the management of the Pump Room have said that they will be in touch to seek a resolution to the matter.

Since 1996, Singapore has recognised the right of transsexuals to marry in their reassigned sex.

A review of From Leonard to Leona will be published later this week, watch out for it!


1. 2007-11-13 22:18  
Go for it girl! Tell them how it is!

99% of those bouncers are brainless homophobes and mostly racists also, they need more than one lesson!
2. 2007-11-13 22:37  
FUCKER THAT BOUNCER!!! Didn't he know that their in house live band one of the 'lady' is a drag diva and everyone likes her performance..
3. 2007-11-13 22:40  
101% totally agree with what terrificturk say... Some boncers are a BIG asshole... You do GREAT Leona!!! Hope what leona did is an eye opener for the bullies and to the citizen of singapore as transsexuals or gay or lesbian is also a human being! We need to be respect too!!!
4. 2007-11-13 23:29  
Ms Leona Lo deserves not just a pat on the back for standing up and taking herself to task regarding this matter. She deserves the admiration of her peers and us all.

I believe many of us look forward to how the Pump Room will resolve this matter.

5. 2007-11-13 23:35  
Most bouncers are brainLOST...not brainless....
6. 2007-11-14 00:24  

Although I admit it would be nice if we lived in a world with broader acceptance of many ideas and actions, I think it is wrong for any individual to feel that everything and everybody needs to accept their individuality.
If a bar has the idea that it is in their business plans best idea to screen patrons, it is their perorgative. Not much different than a club in NYC or LA or any other major city that does not admit trendy guys, or leather bars that don't admit guys in wool suits.
Move on accept that people have different ideas and it is not necessary for everyone to embrace all our differences etc.
Maybe Leonard/Leona needs to take some training "You dont always get what you want"

7. 2007-11-14 00:36  
In response to Kuman10127, it is fine if clubs want to do screening of guests to decide who their patrons/clientale are made up of. However, the screening should be done at the door, BEFORE the person pays and enter the club.

And if there is a club policy against "ladyboys", for example, that should be made explicit.

To chase someone out after having admitted him/her and accepting payment for his/her entrance and drinks, citing 'club policy' is blatant discrimination!

It is a good thing that Leona stood up for her rights, instead of cowering to pressure. It is definitely not a case of wanting to get what she wants.

For spoiling the night-out, the Pump Rppm should not only apologise, but should also refund all the expenditure on entry and drinks made by Leona and her friends that evening!
8. 2007-11-14 00:46  
Go, Leona, go :-)! You've rightly turned adversity to opportunity. The state has recognized your re-assigned gender status so why shouldn't the rest of the small-minded mainstream :-)? You deserve our applause :-)
9. 2007-11-14 01:17  
I hope fridae keeps on top of this story and gets an explanation from the managemet of the Pump Room. This is outrageous. The days of discriminating against GLBT people are over and no one, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, should tolerate such ignorant behavior.
10. 2007-11-14 03:27  
I don't believe that it is right to allow discrimination, or for a club to categorically decide to exclude an entire swathe of people, merely on [Insert Basis Here]. Just as gay and homosexual people - quite rightfully - seek for the same rights as everyone else, so too we are obliged to extend that same feeling towards other people.

Indeed, laws have been passed here banning All such discrimination and, although it's a grumbling point with gay bars etc, they *must* not turn away Straight people. It's a civil liberties two-way street; an ideology that must be accepted!

With such a policy in place and mind, it is absolutely 100% unacceptable to ask a transsexual to leave somewhere, merely on the basis of who they were. (If they had been fighting with other punters, harassing staff, etc etc - fine, chuck 'em out in the street, just as you would with Anyone causing trouble. But if they're just behaving Exactly the same as everyone else, and/or acting normally within that setting, then there is no basis to single them out for ejection.)

If, indeed, Leona Lo was told to leave merely for being a transsexual, then that is cause to get angry. Very angry. It would be the same as being told to go just because you're Black/Indian/Gay/Irish/Jewish/Whatever - and that's all/enough of a reason to get rid of you.


I hope that there's a sustained interest in this story, because such a level of casual, 'easy' discrimination must Never be tolerated - even within Singapore, which is hardly a shining beacon of human rights and an outstanding example of civil liberties at the best of times. So, good luck to Leona Lo - Go, Lo, Go!
11. 2007-11-14 12:38  
Don't support associations/clubs/organisations that discriminate against homosexuals....... Even if it might turn out to be more of a hassle. We have one planet to share but we all live in many and very different worlds. The establishment in question may exercise its rights to prevent entry, expel people who have proved disruptive etc. In this case, it is a simple, clear-cut case of prejudice, small-mindedness and fear. I applaud Leona for attempting to 'educate'. But the incorrigible are usually ineducable. There are some who never retain anything as they grow and there really is no global speed for evolution. Call me callous, but I think, "Leave the bigots where they are. I doubt people who discriminate that way, play important roles in our lives. There are just some we cannot help. And some who don't want to be helped.".
12. 2007-11-14 21:58  
I am a transexxual and i haf been asked kindly not to enter not 1 but 2 well known club premises...jus bcos i am a pre-op.REally..
I guess their reason could b due to the mistake some other trans dat might haf gone there for other purposes rather than dance and perhaps since then,the management haf banned trans...even if they are s'poreans..
But the ones doing the misusing of the purpose there are not us...u see.So how come we haf to pay for it..It is so embarrasing when ur new found friends dat might b going to dat club wif u found dat u can't go in..esp those dat don't questions ur sexuality..Should i name those places dat i went to and got rejected?...Hmmmm
13. 2007-11-15 01:44  
Of course their clientele don't like it. And it's the truth that it's not his policy. What can I say, he's being very truthful, if not totally truthful. Sometimes the truth hurts.

But of course, you can let the court decide if they have the right to dish out that sh;t to you. So far, the only thing the club mouthed off is that it is NOT their policy.

It's very clear they are just trying to wriggle their way out of this. They probably have consulted their lawyers on what to do next and what damage control steps to take over the actions of their overly candid staff.

Therefore, someone is lying.

The heck with it, Leona. You don't have to take that bullsh;t. Just do it the Singaporean way. Make them hurt where it hurts the most. Sue them and take the to the cleaners!

Tell em they messed with the wrong girl/guy.
14. 2007-11-17 09:19  
I'm all for the libel suit. DukeNukem is absolutely right: Singapore is really all about money let's face it. Do it like lords and leaders: SUE! You go girl!
15. 2007-11-18 00:41  
Ya, Most bouncers have their brainless head between their LEGS........
16. 2007-11-22 12:49  
evryone stop going to pump room and sue the pants of them girl, there is a precedent in bangkok with novotel follow this lead
17. 2007-11-22 12:49  
evryone stop going to pump room and sue the pants of them girl, there is a precedent in bangkok with novotel follow this lead
18. 2007-11-28 17:50  
Leona, I admire you for being graceful on tackling this sticky issue our fellow transsexuals face.

My applause goes to her, for taking a civilised approach on reaching a consensus with the management. Who would have thought of giving a lecture on gender diversity when most of us would have immediately thought of filing a civil suit against them?
19. 2009-09-02 00:40  
I give u my 100 % support leona. Singaporean still express the anti gay behavior, look on the face of straight men & woman when local walk with caucasian man along Orchard road or having a dinner, it explain??? Singapore wants to be a successful country yet the people mentality is still shallow & disgusted, i am not proud to be called singaporean in this manner, look at thailand, indonesia, the people may be poor but they are rich with manner & customary, it doesnt matter if u are gay or straight, they are welcome to talk to you without a question in their head.
Hope this a lesson to all bars, club in spore....cheers
修改於2009-09-02 12:48:04




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