Transperson denied entry into Air Live in Jubilee Hills

On the night of 29 November, Vijay, an openly gay person, along with his friends, including a trans-woman, were denied entry into Air Live, a restaurant and bar in Jubilee Hills. Vijay alleged that the restaurant denied them entry because there was a trans-woman in their group.

By Sumit Jha  Published on  3 Dec 2020 10:15 AM GMT
Transperson denied entry into Air Live in Jubilee Hills

Hyderabad: On the night of 29 November, Vijay, an openly gay person, along with his friends, including a trans-woman, were denied entry into Air Live, a restaurant and bar in Jubilee Hills. Vijay alleged that the restaurant denied them entry because there was a trans-woman in their group.

The incident has elicited the ire of scores of members of the LGBTQ community on social media.

"Before going to the restaurant, I contacted an Air Live personnel to check the entrance rules. I told him we were a group of seven – five men and two women. I did not tell them one of them was a trans-woman because I did not think it necessary. We went in two groups. I reached the restaurant a little late and saw the other group waiting for me. They told me the bouncers were not allowing them inside," said Vijay.

He again contacted the person he had spoken to earlier. "The person asked me to hand over the phone to the bouncer but the latter was persistent in not allowing us in," he said.

Meanwhile, Vijay noticed that the bouncers were letting others inside. Outside the restaurant, Vijay was told that the tables were all full. "If all the tables were full, the person would have asked me to book a table and I also saw that people were going inside," said Vijay.

He added, "One of my friends told me that the bouncer was looking at my trans-friend with disgust. In fact, the bouncer was telling the person (Vijay's contact at Air Live) over the phone that he would explain later.

"These bouncers are not aware about LGBTQ issues. My trans friend did not match the heteronormative look that the bouncer was accustomed to," he said.

Vijay also said that on Zomato, Air Live is tagged as an LGBTQ friendly place. "As a gay man, I can pass off as 'normal' and lead a normal life. But for others who want to be gender expressive, be it a trans-man or a trans-woman, for them it's not normal and that is what happened to my friend at Air Live," he said.

Vijay received an email from the restaurant asking him to give more details about the issue, "They ask me about the issue but the thing is they have to make Air Live LGBTQ friendly," he added.

He has heard the response from the restaurant from his colleagues and acquaintances. He was informed that the restaurant didn't allow him because it was already 10:15 p.m and they don't allow anyone after that time. "We reached there at 9:37 p.m as I can confirm from my Ola booking and also if we were late, why were they allowing other people in?" Vijay asked.

He went on, "In this day and age, we are still LGBTQ-phobic. But I guess that's not the whole truth. Our society is still regressive, especially when it comes to the transgender community. My friend doesn't look feminine enough for them and hence the society looks down upon them," said Vijay.

Meanwhile, responding to the allegations, Air Live said Vijay and his friends came to the restaurant around 10 p.m and it was already full by then. They misunderstood the situation and assumed that they were not allowed in because there was a transgender in the group when in fact we were only following the COVID-19 guidelines, said the restaurant. Also, reservations are closed after 8:30, it added.

"The bouncers told them clearly that we are full and there are several stags and that's why we were not allowing them. We have videos of the incident. They misunderstood and assumed that because of the presence of a trans-person we didn't allow them into the restaurant. This is 2020 and we are sensitised about the issue. We respect everyone," said Kishan, the general manager of Air Live.

In 2015, a group of youngsters, including two transgenders, were denied entry into GVK One mall to watch a movie.


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