Popular restaurant Ce La Vi has been in the news recently – not just because it is supposedly where the real “Crazy Rich Asians” flock but because it allegedly had a policy refusing entry to transgender men and women.
Facebook user Vanessa Ho shared a testimony from a transgender woman on social media and said that the transgender woman was discriminated against because of her sexual orientation.
When the woman wrote in to the restaurant management, the manager offered her the privilege of being put on a list that would allow her to visit the club despite the club’s policy of no entry to transgenders.
Although she was initially heartened, the woman later wrote back to the manager and expressed her disagreements with the no entry policy for all transgender people. According to Ho, the manager accepted the woman’s proposal and scrapped the policy altogether:
2 weeks ago, a trans woman was denied entry to Celavi because of her gender identity. Celavi is the club that SCMP…
In case you cannot see the post above:
2 weeks ago, a trans woman was denied entry to Celavi because of her gender identity. Celavi is the club that SCMP alleges is where “Crazy Rich Asians” go to. Here’s her testimony:
“Last Friday, August 17th, midnight, I was refused entry to Ce La Vi.
As a paying customer, I am entitled for a reason. To which I courteously asked “Why?”
The security personnel told me it was the protocol and it was the policy.
Inquisitive as I am, I asked “What is the policy?”
As he did not elaborate further, I requested for his manager so I can have a discussion and to have it further explained.
The head security re-echoed his subordinate’s response. Further, answering my enquiry, he said that “the policy is, Transgenders are not allowed entry in the club, unless they are on guest list”
I was appalled, embarrassed and in utter disbelief that such discriminating policy targeting Transgender paying customers exist. I composed myself and requested a contact so I can file a complaint.
After 3 working days from filing the complaint, the Club manager contacted me via phone call. He told me that the incident was handled incorrectly; the verbiage used was wrong and assured that it won’t happen again. Likewise, he has given me his personal number so I can ping him up and be included in the guest list should I want to go to the club in the future.
I felt relieved that my complaint was heeded, my spirits livened up by the positive outcome and was glad on the assurance I have received.
However, as gratifying as it feels – the ease of entry in the club thru inclusion in the guest list- I felt uncomfortable with this new found “privilege”. After thinking through it, I wrote back.
I wrote back to the club manager to tell how I felt.
I personally felt that:
-It was not right for them to be selective of whom among the Transpeople they will let in or not when the same was not applied to Cispeople.
-We share the same interest of having a fun night, enjoying music and having lasting experiences.
-Despite some occurrences of unlawful acts committed by Transpeople in the club (i.e stealing), it should not be a precursor to a “policy” singling out Transpeople. It should be applied to thieves (whoever they are) rather than on Transpeople.
-Lastly, as thankful as I am with the new found privilege, it is only a short term solution and does not redress the pre-conceived notions the club has over people like me. The solution is to lift/ remove the “policy” in order that future Transpeople who might go to the same club will not have to experience the same embarrassment, mishap and discomfort I went through.
The manager called me again and reassured that the incident won’t happen again, there’ll be no singling out and should it happen again, get the name of the security and contact him.
I opted to share my story as I want to empower my fellow Trans sisters and brothers who had experienced a similar incident (in whatever kind) to be courageous and to challenge discriminatory policies, in the most diplomatic way possible. It is only thru calling discrimination out that we can make our society more inclusive, more accepting and more loving.
Redress masked in the form of privilege is good in the short run however opt for something that will benefit most of everyone. Always consider the bigger picture.
Lastly, when you are with privilege, try to get out of the bubble from time to time, with which I did this time. Thru this, I’m able to empathize and remind myself that in many ways, I share the same experience, the same goals and same aspirations as my fellow Trans sisters and brothers.”