An encounter between a transgender woman who fronts a Portland punk band and staff at Roseland Theater has caused the Old Town concert venue to fire a security guard and implement increased sensitivity training.
The first incident occurred at the entrance, when Glitterhound's companions, who identify as non-binary, were forced by staff to enter through the theater's metal detector line marked for women. Later, Glitterhound, who is a transgender woman, says she was stopped from entering the women's restroom by a security guard.
"I was caught off guard, it had been a long time since anything like this happened to me in Portland," Glitterhound told the Mercury. "I said 'Oh, I'm a woman.' The security person stood their ground and said 'I don't have time for this. You need to use the men's room.'"
Shortly after the Mercury's story ran on Friday, the Roseland issued a statement on their Facebook page, apologizing to Glitterhound and her friends and announcing they had terminated one staff member because of the incident. They also said they are doing away with gendered metal detector lines.
"The fact they were made to feel uncomfortable in our venue is not acceptable," the statement read. "We thank them for bringing this to our attention so others will need not suffer the same treatment and welcome any advice they may be able to offer us in accommodating transgender and nonbinary patrons."
Kathy Goranson, a manager for Double Tee, the concert promoter that owns the venue, says the security guard who stopped Glitterhound from entering the women's restroom was "confused" by Glitterhound's facial hair.
She says the aggressive response might have been a reaction to a previous incident in which a woman alleged she was assaulted in the restroom by a man. (Security footage later proved her claims to be false.)
Goranson adds that, in this case, the way the situation was handled was "not good customer service."
Going forward, Goranson says the Roseland is going to train staff on how to deal more sensitively with non-cisgendered patrons. In addition, they are making the private ADA restroom available for anyone who is uncomfortable using the gendered restrooms.
"I am happy with the Roseland's response, and it makes me feel better about putting myself out there and tolerating the backlash," Glitterhound tells WW. "I hope that the Roseland will proceed with a continual process of educating and re-educating staff, rather than a one-off solution."