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My name is Dru Levasseur and I’m a trans guy. I started realizing that I was transgender right around when I was 27. It was a really scary time when I started realizing I was trans because I had had a lesbian wedding, two white dresses, and I was very visibly a lesbian, very much identifying in that culture. And gay bars were where it was the place I could go to feel safe and feel like I could be myself.
It was the summer of 2003. My best friend who was 29 unexpectedly passed away from a brain hemorrhage and that night I wanted to go to the gay bar to be myself and to be who I am. So that night I went out, went to the bar, and I decided I was going to use the men’s bathroom for the first time. This was a really scary, courageous step for me to take. It was my one little step forward. And unfortunately, this bouncer came in after me and said, “You’re in the wrong bathroom.” And with what just happened to my best friend and just what I was going through at the time, I just said, “No, I’m not.” And I wasn’t going to leave. And it escalated. He asked for my ID and of course I felt scared of him so I pulled out my ID and it had an “F” on it and I felt very ashamed and embarrassed and degraded and powerless, handing him my ID. He looked at it and said, “See? Get out.” And I did. So I took it upon myself to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission. The lesbians that owned the bar said during the hearing, “We don’t have to do anything for those people.” That was my wakeup call that my community for 10-12 years was turning on me. After all that was said and done I never got an apology from that and I felt so angry and unfinished.
A group of us started New England Transgender Pride and a month before the rally I got a call from that gay bar and said, “We heard there’s a Pride march happening, we want to sponsor the after party.” So I said, “Okay, but I’d like to meet with you first.”
So my partner and I and a friend who’s also an attorney, we went into the bar and met the two lesbian owners, and said I never got an apology and reminded them what happened. She reached across the table and touched my hand and said, “I’m sorry.” And I got my apology 5 years later because we took action and said we have this respect and we deserve it.