BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Alex Borrego, a Publix customer service rep originally from Miami, has become the latest Internet sensation — a transgender woman bounced from a St. Petersburg bar on ladies night.
“Overnight it went crazy,” said Borrego, 29, who moved to the Hollywood area at age 12 and graduated from Hallandale High in 2001. Later, she went to St. Petersburg College and Florida International University. She currently studies history at the University of South Florida.
Until a few years ago, Borrego identified as a gay male. “Growing up, I heard about drag queens and cross-dressers, but the idea of a transgender person, I never heard of that,” she said. “I saw a gender therapist and I came to the realization that I was transgender.”
She began transitioning about two years ago. “I’ve been living full-time as a woman since July,” Borrego said.
Borrego said she had been to Bishop Tavern and Lounge in St. Petersburg once before, “a while back as a boy.”
Thursday night, she and a few friends, including a few drag queens, went to the bar not knowing it was ladies night. They ordered a few drinks and Borrego got a check for about $12. She questioned her drink tab.
Borrego — born Alexander but now carrying a Florida driver’s license that says female — told the bouncer, ”I’m transgender, legally a woman.”
“I don’t care what your ID says,” the bouncer replied. “You have to leave now.”
Out she went, along with her friends. Overnight, they launched a Facebook page that quickly garnered hundreds of fans. The story showed up on websites across the globe.
Very quickly, Bishop Tavern issued an apology on Facebook: “We would like to sincerely apologize for this. Bishop strives on being one of St. Petersburg’s premier nightlife destinations for everyone, without prejudice. ... Again, we regret this happened and look forward to assisting the LGBT community in creating more awareness and change.”
Borrego accepted the apology, but said she won’t be going back. “It’s just the principle of the matter,” she said.
Her friends are hailing her as the nation’s newest LGBT-rights champion. “You’re the Trans’ worlds own Rosa Parks,” Bob Thayer posted on Borrego’s Facebook page.