A trans woman says she was kicked out of the women’s restroom by staff at Cirque du Soleil’s show at the New York-New York Hotel in early July.
Speaking with Unicorn Booty, Katie Charm of San Francisco says she was in Las Vegas with friends and was attending Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity show on July 11 when she tried to use the women’s restroom – the same one she had used before the show began – and Zumanity and New York-New York staff stopped her.
“Apparently someone complained about my appearance that first time, and the second time staff were waiting to intercept me and block me. They surrounded me and told me I was a man and needed to use the men’s room,” said Charm.
“They formed a literal barrier in the hallway blocking me from using it.”
“The first manager was unbelievable. He was like, ‘Well, look at you, look at what you’re wearing.’ I was wearing a woman’s baby doll tee and shorts, by the way. I was like, ‘I’m a trans woman! I have boobs even.’ I asked to speak to his manager.”
It was at this point Charm says she began to film the encounter. This footage is currently available on YouTube.
“I asked for a refund and the manager was like, ‘Why in the world would we give you a refund?’ I had to leave because I became too emotional. We missed the end of the show.”
MGM Resorts, the owner of New York-New York Hotel, has since reached out to Charm on Instagram with the following message:
MGM Resorts International strives to create a safe and inclusive environment for our LGBTQ guests. Under our policy, guests who are transgender may use the restroom of the gender they associate with. If you were not allowed access to the restroom of your choice, we would very much like an opportunity to address this matter with you directly. Inclusion is a bedrock value of MGM Resorts and we welcome the opportunity to make this right.
And in an email to Gay Vegas, Phyllis A. James, MGM Resorts International’s chief diversity and corporate responsibility officer, wrote the following:
Diversity and inclusion are core values of MGM Resorts International. Our policy is – and has been – that any individual guest is free to use the restroom facilities of their choice consistent with their gender identity. We have expressed to our guest our sincere regret and concern with the handling of the situation involving her at New York-New York, and have voiced an apology to her on behalf of our Company. We have otherwise taken the internal steps we believe are warranted under the circumstances.
For their part, Cirque du Soleil sent Unicorn Booty the following statement:
We regret the incident experienced by one of our audience members on July 11 at New York-New York. Diversity and equality for every individual are foundational values of Cirque du Soleil, and our show Zumanity specifically celebrates diversity and love in all forms.
Charm has now been offered an apology and a refund, but says she’s sure that’s only because there is video evidence of the incident.
Charm also says she faced other such encounters while in the city.
“It’s just been such a difficult struggle to be confronted in 50% of the bathrooms in this city I’ve used,” she said. “Most women in the restrooms are super supportive and friendly to me, but it’s just always the staff that seems to have the problem. This was the worst case by far though.”
“As much as they want to sweep this under the rug, I still want to bring this to the public eye,” said Charm. “We show our happy moments and that’s what people see. But there is so much fear and pain between those moments.”
A trans woman was barred from the ladies’ room at Zumanity, a Cirque show with gender-ambiguous characters. I wonder where THEY pee?
— John Leguizamo (@JohnLeguizamo) July 15, 2017