Joburg LGBT-friendly venue Great Dane fires employee for being transphobic

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Great Dane, one of Joburg’s well-known queer-friendly hotspots in Braamfontein, says it has fired an employee for being transphobic to a customer.

This was after Noxolo Xotyeni, 25, reported a staff member who allegedly forcefully kicked her out of a bathroom stall in the woman’s restroom, last week Thursday.

“I was standing in line to go into the ladies’ bathroom, when two seconds after going in, someone pushed the door and I noticed that it was one of the cleaners. She then pointed me to the male’s bathrooms. I didn’t want to further humiliate myself so, I went out and tried to find the manager,” Xotyeni told Mambaonline.

Xotyeni, who identifies as a transgender woman, asked the waiter who was assisting her where she could find the manager of Great Dane. “He then pointed me to two guys. One availed himself and I tried to explain to him what had happened.”

Xotyeni said the manager agreed with the actions of the cleaner and told her that the reason why she was kicked out was because she was a man and not a woman. “The second manager was called in, and he apologised to me while trying to explain to the other manager why I was meant to be using the women’s bathrooms,” she said.

“The second manager then takes me back to the cleaner who was standing outside of the women’s bathroom and tells her to let me use it. I go in, and as I take down my underwear the cleaner kicks the door again and everyone basically saw what was happening.”

Xotyeni walked out of the bathroom but alleges she saw the manager who told her she could use the women’s bathroom laughing at what had just happened.

Xotyeni said she was told by the club that the cleaner was not mentally stable and was known to be transphobic. Xotyeni returned to the club the following day to get the names of the managers and cleaner so she could open a case with the police.

On her return, another manager and the owner spoke to her about the incident. “They both said they were disappointed by what had happened and that immediate action would be taken.”

Although Xotyeni said this was not the first time she encountered transphobia at Great Dane, this recent experience will not stop her from going back. “I am not going to stop going to places because of how I am received. My purpose is to educate people too,” she insisted.

Xotyeni also said she will be working with Great Dane on helping educate their staff on LGBT+ issues. “They owe it to us as the LGBT[+] community. Much more needs to be done there,” she added.

In a comment to Mambaonline, Tulani Dandala, one of the managers who spoke to Xotyeni said that the transphobic cleaner had been fired and that they will be meeting with staff members to avoid another similar situation from happening. Dandala added that management will be meeting with Xotyeni again later this week and will only then issue a public apology.

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