Pune: Putting a question on inclusivity in the city, a transgender person and her friend were stopped by a security guard from entering a mall on Thursday night. The video showing this incident went viral on a social media platform on Friday. The video clearly showed how a security guard at Phoneix Marketcity, denied entry to a transgender and her friend.
Reacting to the incident, the victim and other Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) activists said that in such cases in future the community should fight back and raise their voice against discrimination on the basis of their gender.
On Thursday night, Sonali Dalvi, a transgender accompanied by her friend Manoj Goyalkar were denied entry to the mall. Dalvi told Sakal Times, “The lady security person at the mall denied me entry. I was appropriately dressed but the lady security guard refused to frisk me and instead, starting frisking other women in the queue.”
“Women standing in the queue asked the lady guard to let me in, however, she called her senior. This entire humiliation went on for half an hour,” recalled Dalvi.
She noted that the senior security personnel from the mall continued the same treatment. “They were treating me like a criminal. I have been to this mall many times before. We have had organised parties here and then no one raises an eyebrow. However, I have never experienced such a thing otherwise. It was only due to my education and awareness that I could voice my protest,” said Dalvi.
Sharing similar incidents, Sarang Punekar, a student at Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) said, “Once I was stopped at a multiplex when I and my other community friends had gone for a movie. The security guards refused to allow us inside. However, I politely convinced them and after a few minutes they agreed to let me enter.”
Sarang said that education adds value to a person. “I am educated, therefore, I was able to communicate properly with them. Otherwise, I would have clapped and enacted typical gestures there, ultimately going back. Instead, I spoke to them nicely and politely and donned this behaviour till I left the multiplex. Education does have a impact on personal behaviour and personality,” added Punekar.
Shyam Konnur, an LGBT activist said a similar episode happened with him and a transgender at Hyderabad.
“However, when my friend started speaking in English the attitude of the staff changed and they let us in. In fact, I and my other gay friend were denied entry into a city-based bar. It is unfortunate to see that so many people are judgmental in their perspectives,” said Konnur.
In an official statement issued by the Phoneix Marketcity, the management stated that this incident took place on Thursday evening and that the concerned person was allowed to enter the mall premises within no time.
“We would like to state that based on a detailed report from the security agency, the person in question was asked for verification by the security guards and directed to the desired destination in less than five minutes. We regret any inconvenience caused to the customer, but security precautions are part of the process. We would also like to clearly state that we neither had nor have any intentions of hurting sentiments or discriminating anyone on the basis of their caste or gender. In fact, we strongly believe in inclusive society,” stated the statement.