|Katie Charm (via Instagram)|
A transgender woman from San Francisco, visiting Las Vegas this past week, was blocked from using a women’s bathroom at New York-New York Hotel.
While attending a performance of the Cirque du Soleil production Zumanity, which ironically celebrates diversity, Katie Charm used the women’s restroom before the show began.
But later, when she returned to use the same restroom during the performance, New York-New York staff blocked her from entering the restroom again.
Unicorn Booty interviewed Charm and shares her story:
“They formed a literal barrier in the hallway blocking me from using it,” she tells us. “The first manager was unbelievable. He was like, ‘Well, look at you, look at what you’re wearing.’ I was wearing a woman’s baby doll tee and shorts, by the way. I was like, ‘I’m a trans woman! I have boobs even.’ I asked to speak to his manager.”
“I asked for a refund and the manager was like,’Why in the world would we give you a refund?’ I had to leave because I became too emotional. We missed the end of the show.”
Charm explains the fear and self-doubt she has had to overcome since transitioning.
“I don’t know if you understand how scary it is for a newly transitioning person to use a women’s room,” she explains. “So afraid at any second to be called out and harassed for not belonging. So scared of those macho assholes waiting outside to hurt you for daring to use the bathroom next to their wife.”
“The titanic mountains of self-doubt you have to overcome just to feel OK being there. Months and months of fighting thoughts, “Do I really belong here? Am I a bad person for just wanting to pee in peace. The crippling self-doubt versus the absolute terror of going to the men’s room. After a few months of transition, you begin smelling like a girl, and people give you scary looks in the men’s room. It was a nightmare for all [the beginning] of 2017. It was a nightmare I finally felt like I had conquered.”
Charm shared with Unicorn Booty that she has been taking hormones for seven months, and says, “I know I don’t pass, that I’m a thousand miles from ever ‘passing,’ even though I’ve been on hormones seven months now. But just because I’m an ugly woman doesn’t mean I should be subject to ID search to use the bathroom. I shouldn’t need to ‘pass’ or be pretty to be treated as a valid female.”
Charm added that she felt she was “confronted” in at least 50% of the restrooms she used in Las Vegas.
It’s important to note that in 2011, the Nevada legislature passed, and Gov. Sandoval signed into law, SB 331 which outlawed discrimination based on gender identity and expression regarding public accommodations.
According to reports, those who denied Charm entrance to the bathroom were New York-New York employees, not Cirque du Soleil employees.
MGM Resorts posted this statement on Katie’s Instagram:
MGM Resorts International strives to create a safe and inclusive environment for our LGBTQ guests. Under our policy, guests who are transgender may use the restroom of the gender they associate with. If you were not allowed access to the restroom of your choice, we would very much like an opportunity to address this matter with you directly. Inclusion is a bedrock value of MGM Resorts and we welcome the opportunity to make this right.
I’m not aware of any other public statement by MGM Resorts on the incident.
I would like to know whether the employees were addressed regarding how they mishandled the incident considering the company’s policy is to allow trans people to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.
Unicorn Booty reports that since the incident MGM Resorts have issued an apology to Charm and offered her a refund.
Cirque du Soleil issued this statement:
We regret the incident experienced by one of our audience members on July 11 at New York-New York. Diversity and equality for every individual are foundational values of Cirque du Soleil, and our show Zumanity specifically celebrates diversity and love in all forms.