At Chicago Gay Bar, Drag Queens Need IDs of Themselves in Drag

Hunters Nightclub, in Elk Grove Village outside of Chicago, recently implemented a new entrance requirement because of cross-dressing prostitutes. However, the new rule (a valid photo ID that matches their "gender presentation") is presenting some issues for transgender people. The Chicago Tribune reports:


"Hunters Nightclub reluctantly imposed its new ID requirement because cross-dressing prostitutes were advertising on Craigslist and mentioning the establishment, said manager Peter Landorf. 'They're implying they're coming here,' said Landorf, whose new rule could cut down on his cross-dressing clientele. 'If it is prostitution in any form, that could cost me my liquor license.'

Under the new admission rule, cross-dressers must have a government-issued photo ID that looks like the person presenting it at the bar. That, of course, is a serious hurdle for people like Andy, a 'part-time transgender woman' who lives in Goshen, Ind., but goes to Chicago to 'dress' as Jeanette.

The ID requirement is unfair, he said.' Since I am not a full-time trans, it is not really feasible for me to have my 'femme' photo on my license,' he said. 'I do not even know if they would allow it. … This is discrimination, pure and simple.'

And, according to Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, it could be."

The club's owners say they are working on a solution.


  1. says

    I think its fair to give the club owner some time to work out a solution. I’m sure he’s open for suggestions. How many trans clients go to his bar. Maybe he could just make them show their ID one time and take down some names and make those exceptions for them. I don’t think he is trying to be discriminatory, he’s just trying to not lose his liquor license which happens to be his lively hood.

  2. says

    i think there has been some sort of ID rule in Chicago for some time, but i can’t remember it. it’s been a long time since i worked at one of the bars here.

    also, you may have missed the story a few months ago about the bars in Boystown having a problem with “bachelorette” parties where the real ladies come in and take over. quite a few people felt insulted because of the lack of marriage opportunity for themselves.

  3. OttoErotica says

    this is not anti-trans – it’s anti sex worker – and many sex worker identify as LGBT.
    Sex work should be legalized and this problem would not exist.

    Let the trannys dance!

  4. King Drive says

    @ Fernlaplante:

    Fail. Elk Grove Village is adjacent to the City of Chicago and O’Hare Airport. And even if it were a little farther away, the headline is fine.

    Self appointed hall monitors really, reallly need to get a life.

  5. Sam says

    While this could prove problematic to a select few, I really have to side with the bar owner on this one.
    Where else can you go that you’re required to show official ID and not at least resemble the photo on the ID.
    The owners right, his liquor license could get pulled! Hello, it’s a bar!

  6. C says

    “??PART-TIME transgender??” Doesn’t it sound like the two T terms (transgender and transvestite) are being confused here? (No snark intended.) The bartender’s policy seems fine for the average transgender person, no? It’s unfortunate if you are still transitioning, but such complications are to be expected I would think.

    On the other hand, if you are a transvestite the policy is a pain but seems like the what they need to do for now. It’s a club where you currently cannot express yourself to the extent that you entirely mask your physical sex.

    Perhaps this is over-simplified?

  7. D.B. says

    This may seem unfair or unjust, but you can’t really fault a bar owner for protecting his business. If prostitution is a problem in his establishment — and it seems like it is — he’s certainly within his right to do whatever it takes to curb that activity. If he takes no action, he could loose his license and his business.

  8. says

    Is it unsurprising that the readers of Towleroad, not exactly known for being trans-friendly ourselves, should be so tolerant of anti-trans bigotry?

    This is bigotry. Period.

    This and Hunters in Palm Springs are part of the same chain. If you go to either club, you’re an asshole. Period.

  9. says

    @ FERNLAPLANTE – gee, thanx for distancing Elk Grove Village from Chicago even though the wheels of the planes landing at O’Hare brushes the roofs of the houses in Elk Grove. You’re a classic example of the Boystown clique mentality that irritates me…

    I’ve been to Hunters a few times and they DO have a large number of cross dressers/trannies/drag queens that frequent the establishment – so this seems to be a working solution to a problem, and NOT discrimination.

    Also, most bars in the Chi-town area now require showing an ID before entering so this is nothing new.

    The posting also mentioned patrons coming to the club after visiting Craig’s List – and we all know how reputable and upstanding that site is….[sarc]!!!!

  10. Steve says

    Elk Grove is by no means Chicago. It is definitely in the suburbs–no matter how close to O’Hare airport!

    This bar is not dicriminatory! These are not your average trans or drags–these are basically guy in wigs who set up and rob clients and patrons. It’s a safety measure. Whomever wrote the original article didn’t do much research.

    It’s a dive that I will never step foot in–but it’s not discrinating.

  11. says

    Gee, Rafi, how does this policy NOT effectively ban cross-dressers from the club? And how is a policy that makes it impossible for many transgendered people to go to a gay club not discriminatory?

    I stand by what I said, and don’t think people trying to defend the club without actually addressing what is wrong about this are making themselves look very smart or very nice.

  12. FernLaPlante says

    @King Drive. EGV is not part of Chicago. If you were from the city, you would know that. In the same way a Brooklyn bar is not part of Manhattan or Berkeley is not San Fran.

    This may not be the best solution for the club but the owner is trying to protect gay patrons who are there for a good time and don’t want to be pick-pocketed and/or accosted for sex by a prostitute.

  13. Hank says

    This is an arbitrary pretext for keeping out all drag queens and trans folk who have not legally changed their gender, on the theory that some of them may be sex workers.

    That’s like trying to keep all the gay people out of an establishment because you think some of them may be hustling or doing drugs, or maybe because you really think all the gays are unsavory characters prone to illegality in general. If there is a concern about illegal activity, it should be addressed in a direct and targeted way, and not by discriminating against a whole “suspect” class of people; that’s a slippery slope that threatens all of us despised for our difference, and threatens us in all areas of our lives.

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