Alex Blaze

Chicago-area bar will gender police ID's

Filed By Alex Blaze | September 22, 2009 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Chicago, crossdressing, gay bars, gender policing, photo id, queer, trans, transgender

This shit will never die:

An Elk Grove Village 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 reluctantly imposed its new ID requirement because cross-dressing prostitutes were advertising on Craigslist and mentioning the establishment, said manager Peter Landorf.

"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.

There's just so much wrong with this idea.

First, not every trans person, nor every person who's gender expression doesn't match their ID, is a prostitute. Not by a long-shot.

Second, there are prostitutes who have ID that matches their gender expression. More commonly known as "enterprising young gentlemen," these people have been in gay bars forever and this rule isn't going to stop them.

Third, a person who's CD or someone who occasionally likes a little drag probably has a valid reason for not going down to the DMV dressed as the opposite gender that'll appear on their license. It might hurt job prospects, family relations, and other participation in the community as their birth gender. One would think a queer hang-out would respect the fact that some of its clientele is in the closet and would like to stay there.

Fourth, the fact that the bar owner is so afraid that he could lose his liquor license for the behavior of his clients, for the consensual, adult behavior of his clients, is deplorable. Who's going after this guy? Who wants to see Hunters close down? I wouldn't be surprised if, like every major city in America, there's a group of "concerned citizens" trying to shut down any place that seems like fun.

Fifth, I don't know how Illinois is set up when it comes to full-time transgender and non- or pre-op transsexual people getting new ID that reflects their gender identity, but I'm going to guess that there's a time period where someone who's transsexual would have to spend living as their intended gender before they can get the M or F changed. It's easy to imagine how a policy like this, which is supposed to be about the photo, could become about the M or F.

Last, but not least, we shouldn't be complicit in our oppression. Queers gender policing other queers? Seriously? Get off it. A gay bar is supposed to be where we let down our guard and relax a bit when it comes to playing it straight.

There's got to be a better way for this bar to stay open.

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Angela Brightfeather | September 22, 2009 11:41 AM


You forgot another aspect of this,that is totally discriminatory on the part of the bar owner.
Is he also looking for FtoM proof and what does he do if that presentation does not match the ID?
The next thing you know, this guy will be checking ID's at the door of the woman's rest room.

This is just another inequity that MtoF's have to put up with, but is hardly ever mentioned. The elevated and unquestioned plateau that being male resides on in our society.

Once again we see the basic reason for why women get so mad about people saying that things are equal about the sexes, when in fact it takes a Transgedner person to prove otherwise, even within the GLBT world.

I am beginning to think that there was some big conference held someplace that there were no GLBT people allowed, and the radical right and Chrisitian fundamentalists got together with the national conference of police chiefs and gave some kind of a series of seminars on exactly how they thught it would be best to bring the "homosexual agenda" to a screeching halt. I imagine that the first topic of discussion was something along the lines of, "lets see if we can get them to turn against each other and lets start with the most socially unacceptable, the transgender people". Really, if HRC could do it, why can't we?

Hour 2 was probably "instructions on how to conduct a successful raid on a GLBT club."

Yes, afaik it's not particularly easy to change documents in Illinois - eg this case early this year of two trans women whose weren't able to get their documents because they had surgery in *Thailand*.

In other words, you can't change documents there unless you've had SRS. In the US. So no crossdressers are qualifying on that score, no.

Alex, one small nitpicking issue, here.

Your headline should say "Chicago area" bar as opposed to Chicago bar. No way would a bar in the city of Chicago try this...nowadays, anyway.

Hunter's has been friendly and welcoming to CD-TG's, and the Be-All convention for many years, so it's unlikely that he is intentionally trying to harass CD's.
I don't blame the guy for trying to conform in order to risk his liquor license.

I have an easy solution:
In the CD-TG-TS community we know who the hookers and whores are. All he needs to do is ask a few of the unflakes who come to the bar. When the hook-up-hookers come to the door turn them away. He has a right to refuse service to anyone on those grounds.

That's what I was thinking - this seems more misguided than like he actually doesn't want CD/TG customers.

While I personally don't have a problem with prostitutes in a bar (especially since they don't seem to be soliciting as much as just meeting up with people, and I don't see how he can be held responsible for that), I can see what it suddenly would become this bar owner's problem. That's why I'm wondering if there isn't someone pressuring him at the other end.

If the greater LGBTQRXY and Z's do not personally "approve" of this personnel bar owners politics/reasons or "requirements" to enter said establishment: Then just don't go there.

Wasn't it a year ago that some gay bar owner banned straight Bachelorette Parties from his establishment?? Because of his own personnel politics on gay rights/marriage?

I can tell you that in my own personnel experience w/male focused gay bars... lesbian women have OFTEN been turned away or shunned from attending gay male establishments.

This isn't a new problem. Just the target.
Lesbian women have learned THE HARD WAY, that forced "acceptance" creates neither acceptance or tolerance. So we just don't go there and financially support the business' that do want us there.

It's great to discuss all this and bring it public. Agreed!!
But this isn't a new problem.

Geees! Here in Atlanta, we have people in a gay bar abused by the arrogant Red Dog Police Squad and transgender people stand up for the rights of those people at the Atlanta Eagle club. Yet, about a 1000 miles north of us, we have a gay bar who initiates abuse on the transgender people in their area. Things are so screwed up.

It's time for the Chicago-area trans community to find a new bar to give its business to.

My guess is that the underlying issue is that the owner wants the trans customers to find somewhere else to go so he can cater to a gay-only crowd. Let's help him out!

Anyone know of some good alternatives in the Chicago area? I like Berlin near boyz town, but it's a late night place and not that convenient to those who live in the subs.

Don't you wonder though - if he's really that friendly to trans folk and crossdressers, you'd think he'd have gotten the message that this would be really offensive.

Sharon Van Nest | September 23, 2009 1:39 AM

I have been to Hunters several times in the past. No there are not prostitutes there anymore than there are in any given bar gay or straight. Chicago area gay bars have been crossing these lines before. Once a gay man was fired from his job there for being not masculine enough.
There is only one possible answer and that is they want to discourage transgenders of all kinds from going there. Simply anti-trans hate agenda once again. Barney Franks would love it!
Predjudice at any level throughout the lgbt community has no place within it. Now or ever!


This problem surfaced a couple of years ago and was resolved only to resurface again.

Yes, there are MANY bars/clubs in the Chicagoland area for TG's to visit, whether gay or str8.

Hunter's has long been known to be a "meet market." However, what bars/clubs are not?

The real problem is that the entrance criteria seems to be selective... if you look like a "lady of commerce" you will probably not be allowed entrance; if you look kinda "dowdy" they may not care.

The second, and more real LEGAL problem, is that the State of IL has a Statute in place, since January of 2006, that establishments cannot deny accommodation based upon gender identity and expression. There seems to be a conflict between the State Statute and the local (Cook) County "enforcers."

I agree with you, Alex, it is not up to the bar/club owner to enforce "who is a prostitute and who is not." Does anyone really believe there is NO gay male prostitution going on there?

This is not even addressing the topic of "harmless crime." I won't go there.

Recently, Cook County States Atty has been "cracking down" on CraigsList relative to prostitution. The result is that the members of CraigsList have become more subtle in their posts about "money for services," and, it is my understanding, that they just move their posts over to the "Adult Dating/Relationship" part of the list.

Finally, in Illinois, one can get both a Driver's License AND a State ID, and they can be with different photos, one male, one enfemme; if one chooses to pay the $20 for the State ID. Many of my friends have such ID's. If one chooses, one can even get a Driver's License with a feminine photo on it, without changing the "gender marker" or the name. I have one.

For changing the "gender marker" on a IL State ID or Driver's License from M to F, a letter from a licensed therapist (LPCC), is ALL that is required. SRS is NOT required for that marker to be changed. The comment about SRS being required to be performed in the USA was relative to changing the Illinois birth certificate.