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Transgender woman snubbed by bar says she'll accept Facebook apology, but won't go back

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.


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He's a man who calls himself and feels he is a woman.
I can call myself and feel as though I am Batman.
In no way does that make me a costumed, millionaire crimefighter with a british butler.

Should he have been treated with more respect? Probably. But he was dealing with a bouncer not a diplomat.

Time to repent of your abominations and Turn to God for salvation !

OMG, the two of you who posted above me are beyond sick. She is a woman. She has transitioned and she is a woman. You may not like it but you can't take that away from her.

@Tube Salvation - better read your bible. Judge not lest ye be judged!

Formfactor -- very insightful comment.

Indeed, getting a "ladies night" discount is not exactly a civil rights cause, especially since she ordered the drinks with a couple of drag queens, who by definition are not women. The fact that this is being reported in a newspaper hundreds of miles away is blowing this minor insult way out of proportion, hypersensitivy run amok.

Getting Ladies Night discounts for drag queens at a local bar ain't the same as "colored only" water fountains or institutionalized segregation. Reporting this silly incidents like this trivializes real acts of discrimination when they occur.

Thanks. I agree that it's a minor insult at best. Then again, no insult is small enough that can't be used to further rally the troops. That goes for any movement but, IMO, it's especially true of the LGBT cause.

Sign at the business "We reserve our right to refuse service to anyone for any or no reason".

Kathoey is that you

Don't you hate it when you get so dadgum drunk, you look in your pocket the next day and there's some girl's number with a name and you don't know nothing about it? So you call her up and you hear this, "[hoarsely] Hello?" " "I ain't drinking no more. That's ridiculous right there. I ain't drinking.

There is an old saying that we seem to

need now more than ever: Don't make a federal

case out of it. There is not a remedy for every

slight, perceived or real. I think that

ladies' nights are based on the male

customers liking bars more and patronizing

them more when there are many women among the

customers. Although such commercial

considerations are, no doubt, implicated

in patriarchal, sexist, heteronormative

roots (disclaimer: I am, myself,

heteronormative, unashamedly), the number of

prospective or actual customers hoping to

chat up someone whose assigend 'gender'

is a recent technological and biochemicsl

achievement is, approximately, none.

Abraham Lincoln once asked how many legs a donkey has, if a tail is con sidered a leg. He gave the answer: four, because considering a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg. Facts are stubborn things.

In many intellectual endeavors, especially law and physics, it is fruitful, helful, and interesting to
make contrary-to-fact assumptions, such as an environment with no friction, a point mass, a reasonable man, or other things being equal - which, of course, they never are. But at the end of the chain of reasoning, one mus t return to and apply the lessons to the world in which we live.

Sometimes for fear of grave consequences, or out of politeness, or just to go along with one's liberal or
progressive acquantances, people will agree to call a man a woman, or a woman a man, or a random selection of noise or paint, a daring, trend-setting, symbolic,
ground-breaking, profound piece of music or painting,
at least until it is realized that this particular artistic triumph was brought home from kindergaqrten by Susan or Johnny. That is, for the most part, harmless. But the universe pays no attention to our polite fictions. And donkeys still have four legs, not five.

Most legal conflicts stem from different points of view resulting in differing weights being given to conflicting rights or interests. Here there are at least two rights involved. One is the right to have one's gender re-assignment recognized by the general public (and to get cut-rate prices thereby).
The other rights in question are the right to private property, say a bar, and the right to be left
alone (careful, before you disrespect this right, it is the basis for Roe versus Wade and other judicial usurpations of the rights of state legislatures and
and state electorates). When my doctor told me that I was fat, I told him that I wanted a second opinion. So, he told me, alright, you're ugly, also.
No one is proposing to forbid these mutilating surgical operations, nor is anyone forbidding anyone from calling himself a woman, or herself a man, or any other combination. I am even allowed by law to call myself smart and good-looking, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. But I do not have the right to insist that any stranger I meet to go along with my opinions. It is not so much that other people disagree with my claims to be smart and good-looking. It is more that they prefer not to think about me at all.

I feel that if you're trying challenge the idea of ladies night at a bar by going dressed as a woman, you're probably not there to save 12 dollars. It's likely the group of "women" wanted to make a point. The whole concept of Ladies night in a bar is to attract more women, thus attracting more men which is to say more customers. Men dressed as women will most definitely have the opposite effect. A bar is not a political arena as much as it is a small company trying to get by in these hard times. For a man dressed as a woman, grandstanding and trying to make a political point at the prize of a small business owner and its employees is shameful and very egoistic.

Most of these people commenting on this page totally disgust me. If her ID stated female as gender, then the bar ought to respect the state laws and treat her accordingly. If they have a problem, take the state to court, but don't have some brainless bouncer humiliate someone like that. We all know they weren't born biologically that way, that's why they are called TRANSGENDER women stupid, otherwise they would just be regular women!!
This idea that transgender people are just fools that live in fantasyland comes from morons that are hellbent on a binary concept of gender and sex, when scientifically is not even realistic.
If a person can be born with male DNA and a uterus, why can't a person be born with male DNA and a female gender identity???
There must be a significant difference between knowing you are transgender and taking steps to correct nature's mistakes, rather than actually believing you are biologically the sex you identify with.
Geezz some people make me feel ashamed of belonging to the human race sometimes.

This junk is on the front page? And the Miami Herald wonders where all the circulation went?

he has a penis.. therefore he is a man.. didn't any of you take sex ed?

Just wondering if Alex was at ladies night to meet men?
May be you should author a book for clueless heterosexuals.
Say hello to Eric.

Go find your own perverted bar where people accept your vile deviant behavior. Leave the normal people alone. No special rights for your kind or for the deviant homosexuals/lesbians.

An abomination against nature...thats all this is..the bars should be allowed to do whatever they want..I would never have apologized

I am a male lesbian

Sounds like a bunch of deviants are a little angry at the smallest thing. True, the Miami Herald has blown this out of proportion, but that's how a story is recognized. Either way, to all of you who call Alex "vile" or an "abomination"- you're an absolute joke. These biblical allusions are as weak an argument as one that I have ever seen. You should all read the bible at least once before you start making these comments.

Oh, and to those who just simply utilize these words /not/ in biblical reference... That's an even weaker argument, and in terrible taste.

As for D, I love your rhetoric. It's potent, and brings in some critical questions that should've been approached before all these homophobes entered this rainbow room.

Dress as a woman, pretend to be a woman is his/her choice, but please don't expect me to go along with your fantasy
There are people who dress up as Lincoln, pretend to be Lincoln, but they are not Lincoln

That's why we have Halloween

After reading this Post the Miami Herald cannot be taken seriously !

It's great that Alex is bringing awareness to the concerns and difficulties of the LGBT community, but I wonder if the Rosa Parks comparison is a bit far-fetched. Not that Alex isn't courageous in her fight against such ignorance, but she isn't taking the same kind of explicit stand that Ms. Parks did.

Why is this story still prominently featured after 3 days of this drivel? When will the Herald decide it has given Mr./Ms. Borrego enough time of billboard space? After 3 days, like fish wrapped in Herald newsprint, this story stinks.

She sure is pretty, for a dude.

Apology is not good enough: bar should be closed. stupid religous fanaticist christian americans.

"Dress as a woman, pretend to be a woman is his/her choice, but please don't expect me to go along with your fantasy
There are people who dress up as Lincoln, pretend to be Lincoln, but they are not Lincoln

That's why we have Halloween"

We have Halloween because of bigots like you.

Ps. Quite shocked to read many of these comments which wouldn't be out of place in 1930s Nazi Germany from 21st century citizens of the so-called 'land of the free'. Dispicable behaviour towards this lady by the bouncer. Had he done that to the girlfriend of one of the local businessmen where i come from he would be lucky to crawl away with a pair of broken legs!

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