The security guard who refused drag performer Jessica Christ entry to Finnegan’s Hotel in Newcastle has been fired, according to the venue.
The group of six tried to enter the pub following the debut of a new local drag night, Blush – Drag Queens of the Night, at Central Bar.
The security guard insisted Jessica not be allowed entry because her outfit didn’t meet the venue’s male dress standards.
“He said, ‘As per your ID, it says you’re a male, so you need to dress by the male dress code, long pants and a shirt,’ and I told him, ‘I’m not identifying as a male. I am a female at the moment so I can go by the female dress code.’
Jessica says the security guard said her ID said ‘male’, when New South Wales ID cards and drivers’ licences don’t list gender.
“He also said that if he let us in they would get in trouble off the police for the way I was dressed, which is completely wrong.
“The other security guards didn’t have an issue with it at all. I said, ‘How come they got let in and I didn’t?’ and he said, ‘I don’t know; they shouldn’t have been let in.’”
All six members of the group were then kicked out and barred from the venue for 24 hours by a supervisor for contesting Jessica’s exclusion.
In a Facebook post, Finnegan’s said “no one was refused entry for being in drag. Two of the group dressed in drag were allowed entry, but one of the group was deemed not to meet the standard of dress which is required by everyone regardless of gender.”
“We understand that a security guard on the door handled the explanation poorly. This security guard’s comments are not representative of Finnegan’s policies, or management’s attitude.
“We’re deeply sorry for the hurt and frustration that these comments have caused. It should have never happened and we’re now working to ensure it never happens again.
“The security guard is no longer working at Finnegan’s. We have also requested that the security contractor immediately update their regular training to make sure security staff are aware of the Hotel’s expectations.”
“I’ve never been so disgusted, annoyed and disappointed in my life, being gay I’ve faced a lot of discrimination throughout my lifetime but this is really up there, this whole situation was ridiculous, it was an insult to my friend, to the art of drag and to the entire LGBTQI+ community of Newcastle.
“I hope you learn from this experience that what happened outside your establishment was not ok and was completely transphobic. I hope you fix this for future situations where any one can express their gender freely.”
“We go out with girls all the time and they wear next to nothing, and, honestly, I’m wearing 10 layers of stockings, which is thicker than anyone’s pants,” Jessica told the Herald.
The new drag night was an effort to breathe new life into Newcastle’s LGBTI scene following the Gateway Hotel’s rebranding away from being a gay bar.
“It was like a hit in the face. We spent eight hours getting ready, spent weeks preparing our outfits and routines. We made everything ourselves.
“We’re trying to bring back to Newcastle something that we’ve lost, and to be denied entry into a venue.”