A young transgender person says he was “humiliated” after being mocked by a security guard at King Street Hotel last Friday evening.
Courtney ‘Muzza’ Murray says he was exiting the venue in search of his sister when the incident occurred.
“The security guard laughed [at] me and started calling out my sister’s name too,” says Murray in a public post on King Street Hotel’s Facebook page.
“I turned around and said ‘sorry?’ [and] they all stood there and laughed at me. I said ‘do you guys have nothing better to do than mock me? One security guard turn[ed] around and yelled in front of many people ‘I still don’t know if you’re a girl or a boy’.
“[I’m] transgender. A proud transgender because I am comfortable in my own body. But getting humiliated in front of numerous people is not a good feeling.
“This is not okay.”
The Facebook post received over 1,100 reactions and over 100 comments.
One comment about the ‘disgusting’ and ‘disrespectful’ treatment by security at the popular late night venue received over 50 likes.
Licensee Russell Richardson says the security guard in question is suspended from working at King Street Hotel pending an investigation.
The security guard, who was described as one of the venue’s most experienced, denied his involvement in the incident.
“The actions of any one staff member at any time don't reflect of who we are as a company or a venue,” Richardson says.
“King Street has drawn a clear line in the sand with our company's ethos on gender equality - for example in the past few weeks we've been helping people sign up to vote in the [same sex marriage] postal vote. We promote inclusiveness and just want people to feel safe, comfortable and have fun.”
Richardson says that he ‘wholeheartedly’ apologises to Murray.
“We encourage him back any time, as we love having every person enjoying their night out at our venues.”
Guards at King Street Hotel work for security company Holistic Security. Co-owner Charles Hall says he advocates for diversity and rejects Murray’s claim.
“This is not what our company is about. We’ve had a transgender person working for us for over a year and he has been more than accepted within the team.”
Hall says he is investigating the incident.
“I honestly don’t believe that the guard said what he has been accused of,” Hall says.
“It becomes a witch hunt for the security guard, who has been stood down from his position. This is a case of guilty till proven innocent and social media is the judge, jury and executioner.”
Murray says he visited the club almost every weekend with friends because he “likes the environment” but he is not sure if he will return.
“Security guards are supposed to make you feel safe and I felt completely ridiculed,” Murray says.
“I've always know I haven't fit into he realm of ‘normal society’, but to be treated the way that I was on Friday night by several individuals who should have a duty of care to their patrons…
“Those people have no idea what it's like to live everyday knowing that's I'm different - the anxiety and depression that I suffer on a daily basis can sometimes be overwhelming.
“King Street was a meeting place for my friends and I, but the unfortunate events surrounding Friday night have made me look long and hard on today's society and the wider Newcastle community.”