THE Brisbane LGBTI-friendly venue at the centre of transphobic allegations has issued an extensive and detailed statement in an effort to exonerate club security and staff.
Earlier this week, the Beat Megaclub in Fortitude Valley was accused of discrimination and subsequent assault following an incident where 18 year-old trans man Oscar McGregor was allegedly forced to leave the venue after being told he could not use the male toilets.
The 1800-word statement provides a detailed account of the night’s incident and dismisses the accusation that there is an issue with trans* people and their toilets.
“We haven’t got an issue with that at all and many of our customers can attest to the fact that many people who identify as trans* often use our restrooms without any incident or questioning,” management said.
Management said McGregor conducted himself inappropriately while using the male facilities.
“According to several witnesses, this person used the toilets and while they were in there decided it would be a good joke to throw their removable enhancement at other male customers in the toilets at the time,” management stated.
“This resulted in two of our customers to leave the venue in disgust and when this person left the toilets one of our guards told him that that kind of behaviour was unacceptable and should they continue to bother others they would be asked to leave.”
The statement goes on to accuse McGregor of abusive behaviour towards staff at an in-house shop who reported the incident to security, which led to staff approaching McGregor again and asking him to leave.
Responding to accusations of overreacting with force — three security staff approached a 50kg-McGregor — management said multiple security staff was policy.
“It is policy when someone is being asked to leave that, no matter who they are more guards are required to be there to not only protect each other but to make sure that everyone involved behaves properly including our own guards,” management stated.
The statement also said McGregor did not cooperate with security, creating “quite a scene” in an outside seating area and later striking one of the guards.
“At this time our guards decided that this person had to be physically restrained for the safety of themselves and others,” management said.
“At this point, in frustration at this person’s erratic and violent behaviour, that one of our guards said, ‘do you want to be treated like a man?’ This person responded ‘yes’, and the guard then forcibly restrained this person, though of course our security would have had to do the same to anyone behaving in such a fashion.”
After being approached by a friend of McGregor who urged calm, security released McGregor and allowed him to leave the venue in a peaceful manner.
However, management said he “stormed” out of the venue instead and protested in the venue’s main foyer.
“Once in the front foyer the person protested to our door girl and the entire time the guards stood back and observed them, only being present to make sure that no one was hurt and that this person left the venue, which, after some more yelling and demonstrative behaviour, the person left without any more physical contact from security.”
The Beat’s management state that their side of the story is backed up by witness and staff statements, along with CCTV footage.
The club also rejected any claims of discriminatory practice or behaviour by its staff.
“At no stage during this whole incident was this person told they could not use the toilets they identified with and they were not asked to leave for using a toilet we disagreed with them using. This incident was entirely based on the unacceptable behaviour of this individual and nothing else,” management said.
The Beat defended their history with Brisbane’s LGBTI community and expressed disappointment over McGregor’s accusations.
“We take our responsibilities to the LGBTI community very seriously and have always endeavoured to do so. We value this important part of our clientele and respect them as a vital part of the Beat’s history and of our future,” the club’s statement read.
“To see so many people just take this person’s allegations as fact without any proof of what they have said has been surprising and distressing for our management and members of our staff who are well aware that this is not the way things are done in our venue.”
The Star Observer has contacted McGregor for comment about the Beat’s statement but a response was yet to be provided at the time of print.
© Star Observer 2014 | For the latest in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans* and Intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also pick up the next Star Observer monthly magazine March 19 or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.