Gay men and lesbian women often joke about the "membership credentials" they must have in order to be gay, a.k.a. their "gay card."
But a popular gay bar in Elk Grove Village wasn't kidding when it imposed a new policy, requiring an actual drag ID from their transgender patrons.
As the drag queens would say, We are not amused.
The new policy at Hunters Nightclub (1932 E Higgins Rd) requires all customers to show a valid photo ID that matches their "gender presentation." In other words, if you show up looking like a boy or like a girl, then that must match your government-issued ID as well.
This is a major problem for those who cross-dress or who perform in drag.
"Since I am not a full-time trans, it is not really feasible for me to have my 'femme' photo on my license," one patron told the Tribune. Andy describes himself as a "part-time transgender woman" who lives and works as a man but appears as "Jeanette" at the bar. "I do not even know if they would allow it. ... This is discrimination, pure and simple."
Hunters' owners instituted the policy after reports of drag-queen and transgender prostitutes advertising on Craigslist and using the bar as a meeting place for their customers. Such activity would put the club's liquor license at risk.
But the new ID requirement is unfair, as it singles out a specific group.
"The fact is, if they are only requiring this of cross-dressers, that would be problematic because it would single out cross-dressers or transsexuals for a special burden," said Ed Yohnka, spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. "Under the Illinois Human Rights Act, they can't do that."
Whatever one's thoughts about cross-dressers or drag queens, the new policy does seem a bit ridiculous to enforce. If a customer showed up dressed in costume, would he be turned away because he is not in costume in his driver's license photo? That could make for a very difficult Halloween event.
We fully understand that, for transgendered people, the issue of appearance is much more serious than an occasional change of clothes, but the idea remains the same. As long as the ID is real and belongs to the person presenting it, then it shouldn't matter what the person is wearing.
The bar's owners say that are currently working on finding a new solution.
When Matt Bartosik, a "between blogs" blogger, plays poker, a Queen always beats a Straight.