Buford Highway bar kicks out trans woman

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A Buford Highway club that denied entry to a transgender woman on Friday compared LGBT people to goats and says it banned the woman for her own safety.

Estrella Von Banks, a 19-year-old trans woman who lives in Marietta, called the actions of La Rumba II discriminatory after it denied her entry on Friday when security said she didn't match her driver's license. But Von Banks (photo) said she visited the Norcross club two weeks earlier and was allowed to enter without incident.

After checking her license at the entrance, she said security asked her what bathroom she would use and then said her appearance at the club could become a safety issue. Von Banks said security guards mentioned an incident a week earlier that involved a trans patron at the club.

“I went previous times before and nothing happened,” Von Banks said. “I go there, mingle and don't start any drama. I go there to have fun. I wanted to go to La Rumba and have fun like before.”

Von Banks posted about the incident on Facebook and a friend, Jaronie Perez, messaged the club to complain. The club fired back and said it denied entry to Von Banks “for safety reasons.” Then the club offered a laundry list of transphobic questions and repeatedly referred to Von Banks as “he.”

“You and a lot of your friends may be very accepting of LGBT, but the fact is that a majority are still not okay with the Transexual/Transgender MALES and that can spell disaster for all parties involved,” the club says in its reply to Perez.

Perez continued to challenge the club's explanation and assertion that a recent incident prompted the venue to deny entry to Von Banks. The club wants to keep LGBT customers safe, it said, so it kicked Von Banks out. Then La Rumba II compared LGBT people to those who enjoy bestiality and continued with transphobic remarks.

Von Banks said the club's argument that it kicked her out for safety reasons is “bullshit.”

“It's just crazy. I've had more problems when I went as a guy at 18 years old then when I went as a girl. The safety issue as a transgender thing is bullshit,” she said. “It's something else, it's not safety. I've been going to the club before. I don't know why now it's a problem.”

The incident is strikingly similar to one that took place in November at a Buford Highway restaurant. Don Pollo Bar & Grill denied entry to transgender drag performer Alissah Brooks when she and two friends tried to dine there. The restaurant offered an angry, insulting rebuttal after it came under intense criticism. Then the restaurant threatened to sue critics.

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