Up Against the Sex Police
Yesterday I was talking with a transgendered friend who said a transgendered friend had been blocked from using King Steam, another sex on premises venue. I resolved to go to the Cruise Lounge that night, with the same intention I had six months previous, but this time with a friend for moral support, and determined to not allow my rights to be violated in breach of the Anti Discrimination Act of NSW.
As previous, when I asked to be allowed to access the Cruise Lounge, the staff member at the desk told me it was a Men’s Cruise Lounge, and said I was not allowed in. I explained that this was a breach of the Anti Discrimination Act, and explained that the Act prevents unfavourable treatment on the basis of sex or presumed transgender status. The staff member asked me what sex I was. To my later regret, and in breach of my right to privacy and dignity, I explained myself as best I could, as an androgynous person without a penis and without any female secondary sexual characterstics. He called his manager, who I spoke to on the phone, and who refused me access, and said he would call the police unless I left. I told the manager on the phone that I had no intention of leaving until I had done what I came to do, that is, visit the Cruise Lounge.
The staff member told me that the manager was coming to talk with me, and asked me to wait, and refused to allow me into the cruise Lounge, despite my clearly informing him of the Act he was in breach of, and pointing out that “following orders” is not a legal excuse for practicing discrimination and sexuality based persecution. I even pointed out the 1996 Amendment to the Anti Discrimination Act to include actual or presumed transgender status.
It took about half an hour for the manager to finally turn up, after I was repeatedly told he would be there in “a few minutes” The staff member told me that this was because of cross-city traffic. I suspect this was complete lie to disguise the fact that the cowardly manager was waiting for armed gunmen to turn up in to deal with the apparently dangerous sex criminal that he sees me as, a non-man seeking to violate his precious gay men’s space. I reach this conclusion on the basis that the manager turned up in the company of three fire-armed police, and his complaining to the police and me that if he let me in there it would all be spoiled with women seeking to have sex with gay men, as if it is possible that every man using his facility shares the same sexuality and identity of sexuality as him, or that the agenda of women or other deemed non-men accessing this lounge was not simply to have discreet sex with men, whether or not these men may be identified as gay or married or whatever may be the case in the outside world
The Anti-Discrimination Act seemed like news to the police, but after a lengthy period, they said they would have to check with the Licensing Police, which would not be before the next morning. I asked if they were going to assist the manager in continuing to breach my rights under the Anti Dsicrimination Act in blocking my access to the Cruise Lounge. They wanted me to leave, but when I insisted that my intention was to stay until I was allowed to do what I came for, they asked me to wait longer while they consulted. After another lengthy period of time, or so it seemed for me sitting on the floor of a sex shop surrounded by three uninformed people with firearms, while the men I wanted to meet went into and out of the Cruise Lounge. I was detained for over a hour and treated most unfavourably because of the assumption that I am not a man.
I suspect this is a systemic problem, with staff and managers of gay-targetted sex on premised venues breaching the Anti-Discrimination Act by holding the services to be for men only, without having an exemption under the Act to so.
I want this practice changed, so that there is no breach of the Act in sex on premises venues, even those specifically marketing to the gay community, for it is not fair to bar transgender people and others of sex or gender diversity from the same social opportunities as other people. I would certainly urge the Anti Discrimination Board to oppose any request to be granted exemptions under the Act to allow sex on premises venues to harass and humiliate and bar people of unusual gender appearance, transgender people, intersex people, and other people of sex or gender diversity. We are part of the human community.
(I was eventually granted access to the premises on a temporary basis last night, until the manager can check his legal rights. However, this did not compensate me for the time spent waiting, and the humiliation of being unfavourably treated because of my sex or actual or presumed transgender status, including the humiliation of being asked to explain my anatomical sex.)
This is now the subject of a complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Board.