Impersonator KaladKaren Davila, real name Jervi Li, called out a Makati bar for refusing entry to “bakla” (gay people) on Saturday, August 25. In a video uploaded in Facebook, Li was shown being confronted by a bouncer of H&J Sports Bar and Restaurant, where she and a group of friends were being barred from entering.
To clarify, Li stated that “my friends and I were denied entry to H&J Sports Bar and Restaurant in Poblacion, Makati dahil bawal raw po pumasok ang mga “BAKLA”. HINDI dahil sa DRESS CODE or whatever, pero dahil BAKLA po kami.”
(“My friends and I were denied entry to H&J Sports Bar and Restaurant in Poblacion, Makati because gay people are not allowed inside. Not because of a dress code or whatever, but because we’re gay.”)
“Inutos lang sa amin. Wag kayong ma-offend (We were just ordered to do it. Don’t be offended),” the bouncer said to Li and her friends.
“Na-o-offend kami (We’re offended) because that’s discriminating to people like us,” said Li in the encounter.
The video does not show what transpired after the barring of the customers.
But speaking about the incident in “Umagang Kay Ganda”, Li said that when she first asked if they could speak to the management, the bouncers claimed they were not around. It was only after she was accompanied by barangay officials that they allowed her to speak with supervisor Butch Montejo, who explained that “ladyboys” were harassing customers and stealing from them the night before.
Outrage Magazine reached out to Li, but no response has been received as of press time.
Reaching out to the venue via its Facebook page, the operations manager named Randy told Outrage Magazine to refer to the interview made by ABS-CBN’s “Umagang Kay Ganda” for their response on this issue.
There, the bar’s manager Jerry Echter explained that a certain group of transgender people who were allegedly notorious for stealing were the only ones instructed to be banned from the establishment; he clarified that all kinds of people were allowed inside.
In a succeeding Facebook post, Echter also stated: “We treat everyone equal always have always will! Likewise, if you misbehave or upset other customers we take action regardless of gender, race or social status… it’s what we are known for.”
Echter’s statement is however somewhat contradicting the pro-equality stance since Li and her party have yet to enter the premises because of the banning, and so they have yet to “misbehave or upset other customers”.
Li said that there is no need to generalize that all LGBT people will harass and steal from other customers because “anybody is capable of doing a crime: girl, boy, gay or tomboy”.
When pressed for a comment, Randy told Outrage Magazine that “this incident was a one-off. Anyone that comes to our bar knows we don’t discriminate. We get customers from around the world and all genders. We’ve been in the business for more than 20 years and one of the reasons is because we treat everyone equally.”
Outrage Magazine also asked if there are there efforts being taken to inform staff re sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression (SOGIE) to avoid something like this from occurring again in the future; and if there will be sanctions given to the security personnel (or at least gender training) in their role here.
Randy said that “Yes, there will be accordingly after we find out where the miscommunication went wrong.”
Already, Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman said she will file a resolution in Congress to investigate, in aid of legislation, this very unfortunate incident. “Situations like these are simply unacceptable,” Roman said.
Roman is the first transgender in Congress and is a proponent of the Anti-Discrimination Bill.
Incidentally, Makati City does not have an anti-discrimination ordinance, arguably and apparently emboldening establishments to discriminate against LGBTQIA people.