Trans guest wearing skirt denied service from Atlanta restaurant
ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - A metro Atlanta customer says a restaurant denied them service for wearing a skirt. As the metro is home to a large LGBTQ community, the guest considered it not only shocking but also humiliating.
“I identify as he, she, they. So all pronouns are okay.”
Pako Zolanski just wanted to join his friend’s birthday dinner at The Monticello on Jan. 14. He showed up but did not make it in.
“I went ahead and showed my ID. And he was saying ‘well it’s not what it looks like on your ID. I’m like ‘what do you mean, I just took that picture. I know it looks like me. I may have gained a little weight but it’s still me,’” laughed Zolanski.
It was no laughing matter what happened next. He sent CBS46 a copy of his ID photo, and he says the photo was not the problem but instead it was his attire that night.
TikTok video of the incident shows him in a red skirt, black shirt, and a jacket on top. In the video, a man who appears to be Monticello staff, explains their issue.
Saying, “we are not denying him service, what we’re saying is he must dress his gender. If he dresses his gender, he is more than welcome to come inside.”
The video has been viewed thousands of times. Monticello Management issued a public apology via its social media on Jan. 17, saying in part, the incident does not represent its policies and procedures.
“I’m black. I’m gay. It’s just like no matter where I turn, I feel like there’s always going to be a target on my back.” Zolanski continued, “I should be able to walk in this world and not be scared that because I’m wearing a dress, people are going to treat me differently.”
CBS46 reached out to Monticello’s public relations team for additional comment on Tuesday but they declined.
In its social media post, management added they will undergo sensitivity training and that the employee involved received disciplinary action.
“I just really want to make sure they know this situation can’t happen. It can’t
be okay. It can’t be continuous. It’s wrong. No one should have to deal with that.”
Zolanski’s friends started a fundraiser to hire legal representation.
Here is Monticello’s full social media statement:
“On behalf of the Leadership of The Monticello Restaurant and Bistro, we would like to issue a public apology to the woman involved in the incident at our entry, Friday night (1/14/2022). Our organization is built off of a diverse workforce and it is our intention to serve all of our customers and clients fairly at all times. We have served and provided top level entertainment to the Metro Atlanta area for over 30 years. We are known and respected in our industry for our open hiring policies, diverse entertainment activities, and our philanthropy which is directed to communities who are underserved. We are proud to have several members of the LGBTQIA community on staff with our company. Unfortunately, the incident that took place on 1/14/2022 did not represent the policies and procedure of our organization. Our policy states that one must be easily identified by their state issued identification at entry. Moving forward we are taking the following actions to ensure that aforementioned incident does not occur again:1) The employee in question has received disciplinary action2) Our organization will undergo Sensitivity training3) Our organization will communicate to ALL STAFF our policies and procedures which reflect an open and welcoming environment for all personsIt is our goal to continue to serve the metro Atlanta community with entertainment, great food, and networking opportunities. It is our mission to provide an open and welcoming environment. We believe that all persons have the right to live their truth and should be respected as such. Again, we apologize for the unfortunate situation.” Many Thanks, The Monticello Management
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