A transgender woman was banned from a theme park when a security guard insisted her skirt was a costume.
Bria Gibson and her girlfriend visited Busch Gardens theme park in Virginia, United States as part of the park’s seasonal ‘Howl-O-Scream’ event.
Bria Gibson’s girlfriend, who has asked not to be named, was wearing an ankle length skirt for the trip.
However, when the couple entered the park’s security check, they were denied entry by a guard who reportedly looked at Gibson’s girlfriend and began shaking his head.
Gibson told WGN-TV:”He very slowly looked her up and down, shook his head, and was like, ‘You can’t come in here because you are wearing a costume.’
“After saying, ‘What costume do you think she’s wearing?’ he completely ignored us and shooed us away and nothing more to say on the subject and there was nothing more we could do about it.”
Busch Gardens has rules against visitors wearing costumes which they say protect their own performers and the maintain the security of the park.
The park has said that these rules were more harshly enforced due to the proximity to Halloween.
Busch Gardens is part of the SeaWorld brand of resorts and has parks across the United States.
A similar incident occurred earlier this year when Disneyland Paris refused to allow a three-year-old boy to join in with a ‘Princess for the Day’ experience.
After the incident, the couple switched outfits, with Gibson giving her girlfriend her shorts to wear, and wearing the controversial skirt herself.
After this clothing change, Gibson and her girlfriend were allowed to enter the park.
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In response to the incident, Busch Gardens released a statement saying:”We are committed to providing an enjoyable experience for all guests. We respect the rights of people to dress as the gender with which they identify and in a way that enables them and others to safely experience our parks.
“We welcome transgender guests in our parks. On this particular occasion, our security professionals interpreted the attire to be a costume, especially given the time of year.”
Busch Gardens continued: “Unfortunately, we misapplied the park’s policy of not allowing costumes in the park. We will take steps to evaluate future application of this policy. We have been in contact with the guests and have invited them to visit again soon”
Gibson confirmed that Busch Gardens have been in contact with the couple, but said they do not intend to return to the park soon.
She said: “I had to comfort her. She was going to cry over this. It’s basically saying your identity isn’t real.”