From: "Leona Lo"
Subject: Media Release: Transsexual Author Leona Lo Ejected from Popular Singapore Bar for being "Lady Boy"
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2007 02:33:55 +0800
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Transsexual Woman Author Leona Lo Ejected from Popular Singapore Bar for being "Lady Boy"Friday, 9 November 2007, Singapore. Transsexual woman author Leona Lo received a rude shock today when she was asked to leave Pump Room, a popular bistro and bar located at Clarke Quay, Singapore's entertainment hub, for being a "lady boy".
Ms Lo says, "I was having a great time on the dance floor with my friends when the bouncer walked over and asked one of my friends if he knew me. My friend replied to the affirmative. Still, the bouncer persisted and asked me to show him my ID. I was escorted out of the premises where I asked the bouncer why I was being singled out. The bouncer said the bar did not welcome lady boys, and insisted on seeing my ID."
Transsexual stereotypes persist
Enraged at being called a lady boy and being discriminated against, Ms Lo refused to show the bouncer her ID, at which point he summoned his supervisor for further instructions. The supervisor approached Ms Lo with a menacing look and, without giving her a chance to speak, reiterated in no uncertain terms that the club did not welcome "lady boys". Ms Lo explained she was a transsexual author raising awareness of transsexual rights in Singapore, but was interrupted by the supervisor who said, "Sorry, this not my policy, this the bar's policy. Our clients don't like. You not happy please leave." Ms Lo chose to uphold the pride and dignity of transsexual women worldwide and left the club promptly. Her friends followed suit in protest against the bar's actions.
Ms Lo says, "I foolishly thought my job was done with the publication of From Leonard to Leona: A Singapore Transsexual's Journey to Womahood. I naively thought that things had changed in Singapore. It seems there is room for lots more education in Singapore. Not all transsexuals are prostitutes. Not all transsexuals prey on men in bars and pubs. This "Orchard Towers" concept is so archaic, I was left speechless. Ironically, Pump Room's anchor band is Jive Talking, which features a transgender lead singer. What more can I say?"
Social integration - a quixotic quest?
Ms Lo says, "All I ask is the opportunity for transsexual women to live, work and play on an equal footing with everyone else. Is that too much to ask? Centuries ago, transsexual women used to hold esteemed positions in various cultures. Today, in certain parts of Asia, we are seen as half-men, half-women creatures who do not deserve to be treated with dignity. For as long as there is discrimnation against transsexual women, I will be there to speak out against it."
- Ends -
About Leona Lo
Leona Lo is the author of My Sisters, Their Stories, a coffeetable book about transsexuals in Singapore and Thailand. More recently, her autobiography From Leonard to Leona: A Singapore Transsexual's Journey to Womanhood, was published by Select Books Pte Ltd. The book is available at Select Books, Borders and Kinokuniya bookstores in Singapore.
Leona is also the sole proprietor of Talk Sense, an integrated communications consultany.
E-mail Leona Lo