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CHICAGO – An Chicago gay bar popular with cross dressers now requires them to show a valid photo ID that matches their “gender presentation.” Put another way, they now need a photo ID that shows them in drag.
Hunters Nightclub in Elk Grove, Ill., reluctantly imposed its new ID requirement because cross-dressing prostitutes were advertising on Craig’s List and mentioning the establishment, said manager Peter Landorf.
Crossdressers a Popular Gay Bar in Chicago Now Requires ID
“They’re implying they’re coming here,” said Landorf, whose new rule could cut down on his cross-dressing clientele. “If it is prostitution in any form, that could cost me my liquor license.”
Under the new admission rule, cross dressers must have a government-issued photo ID that looks like the person presenting it at the bar. That, of course, is a serious hurdle for people like Andy, a “part-time transgender woman” who lives in Goshen, Ind., but goes to Chicago to “dress” as Jeanette.
The ID requirement is unfair, he said.
“Since I am not a full-time trans, it is not really feasible for me to have my femme’ photo on my license,” he said. “I do not even know if they would allow it. … This is discrimination, pure and simple.”
And, according to Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, it could be.
“The fact is, if they are only requiring this of cross-dressers, that would be problematic because it would single out cross-dressers or transsexuals for a special burden,” Yohnka said. “Under the Illinois Human Rights Act, they can’t do that.”
Many people, Andy said, don’t look like the photo on their government-issued ID.
“I and others like me basically go into Hunters in costume 1/8as women 3/8,” he said, “and now our government-issued ID needs to reflect this, even if we live our daily lives primarily as men?”
On a Friday or Saturday night, he said there are typically a dozen or more men at the bar dressed as women. Most, he said, are just trying to be themselves.
Landorf isn’t unsympathetic and said bar staff is working on coming up with another solution.
Sept. 20, 2009 02:59 PM