A restaurant-goer was denied entry into a popular Atlanta establishment because they were wearing a skirt.
Pako Zolanski, 25, told local Atlanta CBS affiliate WGNX they were planning on celebrating a friend’s birthday with dinner at The Monticello lounge on the evening of Friday, January 14, but were turned away after the restaurant’s doorman felt their attire for the evening wasn’t appropriate for Zolanski’s gender. The incident was captured on video, which Zolanski later posted to social media.
“I’m Black. I’m gay,” Zolanski, who uses they/he/she pronouns, told WGNX. “It’s just like no matter where I turn, I feel like there’s always going to be a target on my back.”
Zolanski explained his troubles began before the camera started rolling when the doorman denied her entry, saying they didn’t look like the person on his ID.
“I’m like, ‘What do you mean? I just took that picture. I know it looks like me. I may have gained a little weight but it's still me,’” Zolanski recalled.
The video later captured the doorman’s attempts to justify his actions.
“We are not denying him service,” the unidentified man can be heard in the video. “What we're saying is he must dress his gender. If he dresses his gender, he is more than welcome to come inside.”
The Monticello issued an apology via Facebook the following Monday, saying the incident “did not represent the policies and procedure of our organization” which states “one must be easily identified by their state-issued identification at entry.”
The statement went on to say the doorman received unspecified “disciplinary action” and that all staff will undergo sensitivity training.
“Our organization will communicate to ALL STAFF our policies and procedures which reflect an open and welcoming environment for all persons,” the statement promised.
Zolanski said has yet to receive a personal apology from The Monticello but feels strongly the incident calls out the discrimination still suffered by some in the LGBTQ+ community.
“I should be able to walk in this world and not be scared that because I'm wearing a dress, people are going to treat me differently,” Zolanski told WGNX.