Club responds to show cause order amid trans woman’s allegations
Image from Club Flex Facebook page

Club responds to show cause order amid trans woman’s allegations

THE management of Flex Super Club in Mandaue City has responded to a show cause order issued by the Mandaue City Government after a transgender woman claimed she was barred from entering the club in February unless she purchased a VIP table.

The club was asked to provide a detailed response about the incident within three days after receiving the show cause order issued by the Mandaue City Government on February 26, 2024.

Club responds to show cause order amid trans woman’s allegations
Mandaue City probes club for alleged transgender discrimination

They were asked to provide any evidence, such as closed circuit television (CCTV) footage or witness statements, that could shed light on the incident.

Miscommunication

In their reply letter dated March 1 and shared by the Mandaue City Government to the media, the management of the club explained that the incident was a result of a misunderstanding and was not related to the transgender woman's sexual orientation or gender identity.

The club stated that the transgender woman's alleged connection to one of their competitor clubs was the reason for the confusion.

Flex explained that a miscommunication occurred between the security personnel and management when Janna, the transgender woman, and her friends arrived at the newly opened disco club.

"Being on its first night of operation, when our security personnel noticed that Janna and the alleged owners of a competitor club came, he tried to report the situation to the management expressing concerns and thinking that it was necessary. The management, however, promptly decided to let Janna and company to enter Flex since we find no reason to bar them to celebrate with us and enjoy at our humble bar," Flex stated in its letter.

On February 23, SunStar reported on an incident involving Janna Fernan, a transgender woman who claimed to have experienced discrimination at Flex Super Club.

According to Fernan, she and two couples attempted to enter the club during its soft opening on February 22 to celebrate a birthday. However, two bouncers stopped them and informed Fernan that the club does not allow transgender individuals to enter.

After a minute, the bouncers returned and asked Fernan if she and her friends had booked a VIP table. Fernan confirmed that they had reserved a VIP table, and only then were they allowed to enter the club.

The bouncers informed Fernan that the club's management does not permit entry of transgender individuals unless they have reserved VIP tables.

Fernan lodged a complaint letter to the Mandaue City Legal Office (MCLO), addressed to Mandaue Mayor Jonas Cortes, regarding the incident on February 23.

In their letter, the Flex Super Club explained that even before Janna and her friends arrived, there were already a few transgender individuals and members of the LGBTQ+ community inside and on the premises of the club.

They also emphasized that Janna's alleged experience was an isolated incident and does not align with their values or policies as an establishment.

The management of the club acknowledged, though, that the incident may have caused inconvenience and distress to Janna, and they expressed their sincere apologies for it.

They also mentioned that the feelings of discrimination or exclusion Janna experienced are against the fundamental principles of Flex.

Flex said they have taken immediate steps to reinforce its staff training procedures and enhance sensitivity and awareness among its security personnel and other staff members regarding issues of discrimination and diversity.

They have also announced that they will be providing an orientation seminar to their staff and personnel regarding the Mandaue City Ordinance on Anti-Discrimination for People of Diverse Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression (Sogie).

The club said it has also engaged LGBTQ+ advocacy groups and organizations to seek guidance on how they can better support and welcome members of the community into their club.

After the incident on February 23, the club also issued a public apology on its Facebook page.

Investigation

John Eddu Ibañez, who serves as head of the MCLO, informed the media on Friday, March 8, 2024, that they are currently investigating Fernan's complaint and Flex's response letters. The aim is to arrive at a fair resolution or recommendation for the case.

Ibañez said that once they have completed the investigation and weighed all the evidence, they will present their recommendation to the City Mayor's Office for the final decision.

Accordingly, the Mandaue Business Processing and Licensing Office (BPLO) will also receive the recommendation and determine if any sanctions should be imposed against the club.

'Generalized'

In a video interview with Fernan on Friday, she expressed her disappointment with the public apology issued by Flex.

She said the apology was not directly addressed to her, and the issues behind her alleged discriminatory experience at the club were not addressed in the statement.

"Wa ko kauyon sa ilang public apology kay dili man to para sa akoa mismo ilang public apology. Wa man sila nagpasaylo og para sa akoa. Gi-generalize nila unya ang issue wala nila tubaga," said Fernan.

(I disagree with their public apology because it was too general and did not address my specific concerns.)

She admitted that one of her colleagues, upon entering the club, was an owner of a competing club against Flex. But she clarified that the bouncers at the club did not mention this as the reason for denying her entry.

Fernan said they only told her that she was not allowed to enter because she was a transgender. Later on, when the bouncers found out that she and her friends had purchased a VIP table, they allowed her to enter.

Fernan mentioned that she would wait for the investigation's result, the decision regarding it, and responses from Mandaue's LGBTQ+ community. (HIC)

Related Stories

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.
www.sunstar.com.ph