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Trans woman refused entry to Tokyo’s biggest women-only night

Reiss Smith May 31, 2019
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Elin McCready was refused entry to Gold Finger. (Ana Arriola/Yasuko Tadokoro)

Gold Finger, a Japanese women-only event, has been accused of denying entry to transgender women.

Gold Finger bills itself as “Japan’s hottest, biggest and longest-running fantasy club event since 1991,” but in recent weeks its slogan has gained a sour footnote: “women (cisgender) only.”

Elin McCready, an American trans woman living in Tokyo, attempted to visit Gold Finger in April to support a friend who was playing a DJ set.

“When she invited me I told her that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get in, because I’m not a cis woman,” McCready wrote in a widely-shared Twitter statement.

“I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get in, because I’m not a cis woman.”

—Elin McCready

“Ordinarily I wouldn’t have gone, but my friends wanted me there so I went.”

Gold Finger refuses trans woman entry

Upon reaching the venue, a male bouncer checked McCready’s ID and announced: “Well, it does say F, but…”

“I said that that was rude and insulting and he just stared at me,” McCready told PinkNews.

A staff member came to the door and asked McCready if she was trans. When she said that she was, she was told that she wouldn’t be able to enter the bar.

Two people embracing at WAIFU party
McCready’s WAIFU party (WAIFU/Saki Mida)

“She was extremely apologetic and told me she didn’t agree with the policy but said she had no choice. She was very nice actually.”

Staff then summoned organiser Chiga Ogawa. McCready said she “glanced” over before “yelling” at her DJ friend, who had told her that she would no longer be performing.

“I asked her why she told Dora I could get in and she said very emphatically, ‘I never said that. Never.'”

Tokyo trans community boycotts Gold Finger

Since McCready shared her story online, trans women and allies have launched a boycott of Gold Finger. In response, McCready and her wife have started their own all-inclusive night, WAIFU.

“The feedback from the local community has been amazing,” McCready said.

“People here have been in need of a proper queer and trans space for a very long time, so we decided to just make a safe space for ourselves.

“We organised the first one in a week and got an amazing turnout and now we are making it a regular, so this is something really good coming out of this traumatic stuff.”

Mameta Endo, a trans activist in Japan, is one of many championing McCready.

“We have been facing a backlash against trans women in Japan ever since a women’s university declared its trans welcome policy last year,” Endo told PinkNews.

“It is very sad to see one of our biggest communities exclude trans sisters now. We need to celebrate our diversity in our queer community.”

Gold Finger removes cis-only notice

Endo added that Gold Finger revised its tagline on Thursday (May 30) to read “no entry for people those who don’t fit to our atmosphere,” but McCready says that the actual policy remains in place.

She told PinkNews that Ogawa (who did not respond to an interview request) has alluded to taking legal action against her for her social media posts.

“She is also threatening my wife with legal action over an angry personal email she sent. It’s all a bit puzzling to me honestly,” she said.

“It’s all a bit puzzling to me honestly.”

—Elin McCready

For now, McCready is focusing on her work as a linguistics professor, and on a constitutional battle with the Japanese government.

Having changed her gender marker in Texas in September 2018, McCready’s passport declares her a woman.

She subsequently updated her Japanese residency card, which was a straight-forward process despite laws which mean anybody medically transitioning in Japan must be single and subsequently sterilised.

Upon registering the new card with local government, officials realised that McCready was now in a same-sex marriage, the type of which aren’t recognised in Japan.

The issue has been raised to national government, where it has remained in committee discussion since October 28, 2018.

“If the government does allow it, then we have a precedent for same-sex marriage here, and if they don’t, they have to cancel our marriage and that will be a big problem for them,” McCready said.

Related topics: Asia, Going Out, Japan, Trans, Transgender

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