WHAT TO DO…
Have you got a gay bar, club or sauna?
Here’s some ideas to make your venue transfriendly:
Note: this text is only focusing on transmen (FTM‘s) for now. Although some ideas may also be useful for lesbian spaces in regards to transwomen, and some ideas may be useful for straight sexclubs. Please also note: these ideas are meant for use in the Netherlands. I have seen other guidelines in the USA, but cultures do differ and national strategies are not necessarily applicable in the rest of the world.
This version is not definate. It’s ever changing and probably will never be final or ultimate. Give constructive feedback: don’t just say what is wrong here, but instead say what should be in here!
1. Make clear to yourself and your colleagues that transmen have always been part of the gay comunnity – but visibility and education is needed. This special attention can make your transgender customers feel more welcome and safe.
2. Set up a simple, very short list of 4 or 5 “rules” (no more) that can be spread near darkrooms, toilets, condom machines, dungeons, etc.
And realize that physical boundaries of transmen are very comparable to those of cis men.
(Not every transman wants to do vaginal fucking, just as not every guy is into anal fistfucking).
3. Educate all your staff members about transmen – tell them your club aims to be inclusive towards all men who respect your venue.
Learning and educating takes a bit of time. That’s why this list consists of ten things: please count to ten! Be patient and listen well. If your transgender customer says something you think is unimportant, please note: a transgender person may experience misunderstanding 24/7. For you yourself the word ‘tranny’ may not mean anything, but for transgender folks this word can be very painful and insulting…
4. Appoint 1 ‘safety’ person in your staff each night (make them wear a white shirt for example and state clearly on your site and in your venue: ‘in case anything unsafe happens, no matter wether you are trans or not, report your problem to the person wearing the white shirt’) – this could be the same person who checks to see if no drugs are used and the condom machine is working.
5. Recrute FTM volunteers/personnel to work as part of your staff.
6. Have your venue make an explicit statement in all your events and on your website on welcoming transmen.
7. A. Organize regular transmale porn evenings.
B. Have regular transmale sexuality workshops (on pumping, sex positions, safe sex, etc.).
C. Have regular FTM-themes cruising nights, ‘for men with and without penises’
8. Do everything in Dutch and English :-) since most Dutch bars have international visitors that need to know on how to respect boundaries of all your customers, including transmen.
9. Understand that curiosity and fetishizing can be two different things (this is a good suggestion for both transmen themselves as well as the venues that welcome them – in the Netherlands there seems to be very little FTM fetishizing going on, but in other countries it’s becoming a problem. Compare this to the situation of transwomen: they have been more visible in the Netherlands for much longer and they definately suffer from fetish attention. Only recently there seems to be a rising trend of repect for transwomen simply seeing them as the women they are).
For you it means: do not advertise transmen as ‘guys with three holes.’
10. If you are a (gay) sauna or spa: please make sure visitors have a space to change their clothes somewhere privately. For this it is sufficient to have one or two bathrooms at the entrance, before people go into the sauna area. This way transmen (and others who wish to do so!) can put a towel around their private parts without coming out publicly for all eyes to see.
This recommendation is closely linked to the benefits of diversity policy: this may unexpectedly benefit not just transmen but also disabled people and people who are shy ‘first timers.’
Also important: money. Despite a relatively high level of education 20% of transgender people is unemployed. And a large part of transgender people’s income is around the level of poverty. Take note, therefore, that any admission price above 10 euros can be too expensive.
Another suggestion for Dutch venues: make sure you take into account that not all guys are 7 feet tall! On average Dutch men are super tall, but the rest of the world isn’t… So please: provide smaller towels, make gloryholes lower than 2.3 feet, and provide condoms on hip level.
11. Last but not least: try to get your venue mentioned in the GOLDEN LIST of transfriendly events – more info www.transgold.wordpress.com