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Chris Sieroty

Vegas casino apologizes for banning transgender guest

29 April 2011

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas issued a strongly worded apology Thursday after an online report of a transgender guest who reportedly was banned for life from the hotel-casino for using a women's restroom.

"We apologize to the individual guest and welcome her back to the resort anytime," the statement said. "We sincerely regret any misunderstanding or inappropriate actions that any member of our staff may have taken."

The guest, who online magazine identified as a "pre-op trans" named Stephanie from New York, said that upon leaving a women's restroom at about 4 a.m. on a Monday a couple of weeks ago, she was met by two security guards.

The hotel employees ushered her out of the resort while asking for identification and if she was "working,' a question aimed at determining if she was a prostitute. After the security guards established that her legal gender was male, they issued her a written Trespass Warning, banning her from the property for life under threat of arrest if she ever returned.

The hotel guest said she signed the document, and the a guard took photographs of her and of her driver's license.

The Cosmopolitan, which is a Travel Alternatives Group-approved resort, stressed it would "increase sensitivity within this area." Travel Alternatives Group is a website that rates about 1,800 hotels worldwide as gay friendly.

"The organization will focus on continued training and ongoing awareness initiatives," the statement said. "Again, we would like to apologize to the LGBT community and anyone concerned, and hope to demonstrate our firm dedication to fair and unbiased treatment of all."

Cosmopolitan officials declined further comment. Deutsche Bank AG, which owns The Cosmopolitan, rates 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equity Index.

The incident at The Cosmopolitan was made public three days after the state Senate approved two of three bills aimed at protecting the rights of transgender people in Nevada. On Monday, Senate Bills 368 and 331 would outlaw transgender discrimination in housing and public accommodations.

Senate Bill 180, making it a hate crime to attack someone based on gender identity or expression, failed to pass by one vote, with state Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, casting the deciding vote.