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Atlanta nightclub refused entry to trans woman 'because we can'

Caught on film, an employee of Don Pollo Bar & Grill openly admits discriminating against trans people
An employee of an Atlanta nightclub openly admits to discriminating against a trans woman.

An Atlanta nightclub has been accused of transphobia after banning a transgender guest 'because they can'.

The Don Pollo Bar & Grill in Atlanta, Georgia, refused entry to Allisah Brooks on Friday (8 November) simply because of her gender identity.

Brooks, a drag performer, claims she was told by security 'You can't come in because you are a man.'

When challenged by her friends, an employee of the nightclub simply stated they refused her entry 'because we can'.

Caught on film, Brooks' friends ask the employee: 'Our friend was discriminated against by your security... the problem was she is transgender and [the bouncer] denied her entry.'

The employee quickly interrupts: 'What's wrong with that?'

When her friends show disgust, the employee continues: 'Yeah, we can do that. We have the right to be selective... We can do that, we're private property. We have the right to do that.'

Speaking after the incident, Brooks said: 'My reaction simply is just surprised... I've never had this happen. So it feels awkward.

'As for what's next, I'm just spreading the word so everyone is aware. I'm involved with GLAAD and my best friend Kat Graham is helping share the story and just make everyone aware of the situation. I'm not seeking a lawsuit, just awareness.

'I could understand if it was a dress code thing. But I'm not the first [trans person] and I'm certainly not the last.'

Since the incident, Don Pollo has recieved a lot of negative feedback from customers furious about the bigotry shown by the staff.

One message reads: 'I will never eat here again because of your negative assumptions and stereotypes. None of my friends will be either - we all joined the 21st century a while ago.'

Another says: 'Stop your hated and bigotry! Apologize to those that were offended!! Invite them and other LGBT members back for an official apology!!!'

Watch the shocking confession by a Don Pollo staff member here:

Comment on a news story


I am nightclub owner of over 15 years, while I don't agree with the way this establishment handled the situation, transgender customers have posed a problem for our policies that are difficult to circumvent. First of all there is no guidelines or laws that clearly tell us how to handle certain individuals, for example, our strict policy is that the patron must look exactly like their ID to enter so that we are certain they are of age.

Most transgender customers approach the door person already defensive, expecting resistance and refusal, thus making any type of questions or conversations by the staff answered with hostility and aggression. This can be handled with proper training but we've learned that historically this body language at the door, with ANY customer, is reflective of how one will act towards other customers inside, not allowing entry is proactive safety for possible altercation. (Again for those who missed it, this policy is for EVERYONE). So what happens, when we refuse entry for attitude, it becomes a huge discrimination issue and a camera pops up.

Finallt, on the frequent occasions that we do have transgender customers in the club, we've had customer complaints that either there is a man in the women's restroom or a woman in the mens restroom, and to be completely honest even to this day I don't know how to deal with the situation.

I'm posting this NOT to get attacked but to give a responsible club owners point of view from the other side and to get feedback on ways to improve our policies when it comes to these situations.

Thank you.