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Watch: Gay Bar's Refusal of Service to Transwoman Sparks Outrage, Firing

by Kilian Melloy
Friday Jun 7, 2019

It sounds like a scene out of "Pose," the Ryan Murphy drama that centers on the 1980s underground drag scene: A transwoman goes into a gay bar... and is denied service.

Such a scene did indeed unfurl early in the show's first season, but that was drama — and set thirty years in the past — whereas what happened at a gay bar in Dallas took place just a couple of days ago, on the evening of June 5, reported Dallas-Forth Worth CBS affiliate Channel 11.

Daniel Heredia, a friend of the woman who was thrown out of JR's took to Facebook to share the story of what took place, posting that Blair Jirousek, a New York City resident, was in Dallas on a visit. When the two went to JR's in the company of a third friend, Heredia related, the bartender — who was also the manager — demanded to see their IDs. After studying Jirousek's ID, Heredia alleged, the bartender — whom Heredia referred to as "Carter" — told the group that he "wouldn't serve any of us," Heredia posted.

"When we asked for an explanation he wouldn't give us one," Heredia's post continues. "He wouldn't even bother talking to us or explaining. Nothing.

"Blair is 23. Her ID is real but has her boy name on it since she has not been able to legally change it yet. All of her cards have the same name on it. Everything in her wallet points to her being a real person. We tried explaining that and CARTER had no interest in even trying to listen. It all felt like it stemmed from transphobia," Heredia added.

Saying that the group decided to stay on in support of friends who were performing in a drag show at the establishment, Heredia goes on to describe what happened when another friend joined the group. Not knowing what transpired earlier, the friend ordered a drink for himself from a different bartender, but, Heredia's post claims, "Mid-pour CARTER walks over to him and says 'I'm not going to serve you because you're friends with her.' Again MY friend had no idea what had happened much less even knew Blair. Then CARTER proceeds to call security over to escort us out when we had just been MINDING OUR OWN BUSINESS."

After explaining the situation to the security person, Heredia says, the group was told that since the manager had instructed them to be ejected, that was what the security person was going to do.

"The way the security guard M. LOZANO handled the situation was also very unprofessional," Heredia alleged. "There are several times he puts his hands on Blair even shoving her so far she fell to the ground. M. LOZANO wrongfully treats Blair and puts his hands on her several times saying she was in his 'bubble'."

Heredia's post included video that appears to show a security employee physically grabbing a woman in the process of ejecting her from the establishment. "You're not going in there," the security worker can be heard saying in the video.

The manager then called the police on the group. When the police arrived, Heredia posted, they were understanding of the group's point of view, but, Heredia recounted, "They said in Texas it is legal for a manager of an establishment to REFUSE SERVICE FOR ANY REASON. the cops even said THERE DID NOT HAVE TO BE A REASON, If they want you out that is their 'right.' "

Heredia went on to opine, "Transphobia is not okay. This is pride month and we should be accepting of all genders and sexual preferences, uplifting our community not tearing it down."

Supporters commented on Heredia's post, expressing shock and dismay. Some called for a boycott.

The bar took action being "notified" of what had happened, however, and promptly issued a statement condemning the manager's actions and announcing that the manager had been fired.

"While our employees take every measure to ensure the safety of both staff and patrons, any actions that are deemed contra to our beliefs and values as a company will not be tolerated," the statement said. "We are against discrimination of any kind, and work diligently with all employees to ensure that our bar is a welcoming space for everyone to celebrate. We respect and value people from all communities and will continue to advocate for diversity and inclusivity."

JR's posted its statement at its Facebook page, where more comments supportive of Heredia and her friend poured in. Some comments slammed the establishment, alleging that the incident was part of an ongoing pattern. Some questioned the role the security guard who grabbed Jirousek, and one commentator said that after seeking comment from the establishment, he heard back that the bar had "reached out to the private security company that employees the security officer in question ... to resolve that situation today, as well."

Watch the Channel 11 report below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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