TODAYOnline: You are not welcome here, club tells Leona Lo (Nov 12)

Monday, November 12, 2007

You are not welcome here, club tells Leona Lo

Monday • November 12, 2007

Phin Wong

She has written about life as a transsexual woman and has given talks on transsexual issues. But on early Saturday morning, Ms Leona Lo was asked to leave a Clarke Quay nightspot, apparently for being a "lady boy".

Ms Lo was at The Pump Room with a Singaporean Chinese man and woman and an American Chinese man.

She said in an email to the media: "The bouncer … asked one of my friends if he knew me. My friend replied 'Yes'. Still, the bouncer … asked me to show him my ID. He said the bar did not welcome 'lady boys'."

Ms Lo told Today she refused to show him her identity card because it was unfair that she was "being singled out". Ms Lo and her friends then left the bar.

Her IC states her sex as "female".

A spokesperson for The Pump Room would neither confirm nor deny the incident yesterday, saying there was not enough time to investigate the matter.

Mr William Graham, director of the club, said: "The Pump Room has no general policy to exclude any particular groups other than the age guidelines we publish.

"We do however reserve the right to refuse entry, at our discretion, to any individuals whom we feel are not in adherence to our entry policy.

"For example, if the customer does not adhere to our dress code, is below our age guidelines, or if we feel they might create a disturbance or misbehave in the establishment based on prior experience, we might not welcome them."

According to the bar's staff, the age limit is 21 for women and 23 for men on Fridays and Saturdays, and 18 for everyone on other days. The dress code bars sandals, slippers, shorts and sleeveless shirts.

Ms Lo, 32, said she was wearing a "typical silver dress".

"I've been there before. The band has even sung 'Happy Birthday' to me," she said.

In her email, she added: "Ironically, Pump Room's anchor band is Jive Talking, which features a transgender lead singer."

Ms Lo recently launched From Leonard To Leona, a book chronicling her experience as a post-operation transsexual. She underwent sex assignment surgery in 1997 in Thailand.