A transgender woman alleges she was denied access to Busch Gardens theme park because a security guard said she was wearing a costume.
Busch Gardens does not allow costumes inside the park, especially during holiday seasons, a policy designed to protect their performers.
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Bria Gibson said her girlfriend – who has asked to remain anonymous – was denied entry to the Williamsburg park on Saturday.
The couple went to the park on Saturday to enjoy the Halloween season’s Howl-o-Scream event.
But their day took a turn as soon as they reached the park’s security gate. There, a security guard looked at her girlfriend, who was wearing an ankle length skirt, and began shaking his head, according to Gibson.
“He very slowly looked her up and down, shook his head, and was like, ‘You can’t come in here because you are wearing a costume,'” Gibson recalled. “After saying, ‘What costume do you think she’s wearing?’ he completely ignored us and shooed us away and nothing more to say on the subject and there was nothing more we could do about it.”
Busch Gardens does not allow guests to wear costumes inside the park, especially during holiday seasons like Halloween or Christmas. The policy, they said, is designed to protect their performers who often wear their costumes in the park.
Gibson said security guard was rude and ridiculous, since her girlfriend — who asked her name not be used in the story — was simply in clothing she felt most comfortable wearing.
In response to the incident, Busch Gardens released a statement:
“We are committed to providing an enjoyable experience for all guests. We respect the rights of people to dress as the gender with which they identify and in a way that enables them and others to safely experience our parks.
“We welcome transgender guests in our parks. On this particular occasion, our security professionals interpreted the attire to be a costume, especially given the time of year when our Howl-O-Scream event is occurring.
“Unfortunately, we misapplied the park’s policy of not allowing costumes in the park. We will take steps to evaluate future application of this policy. We have been in contact with the guests and have invited them to visit again soon.”
However, Gibson said there was no masking the pain she said the situation caused her girlfriend. She added that she may go back at some point but that likely would not be any time soon.
Watch a report below.