Hunters Nightclub in Chicago could soon become a gay household name not because police raided it Stonewall style, and not because of allegations of drugs or public sex, but because of the way it’s cracking down on cross-dressing hookers: By forcing patrons to present photo ID that matches their “gender presentation” as they enter the club.
Officially, the new ID policy is to crack down on cross-dressing prostitutes advertising their services on Craigslist, and using Hunters as a place to do business. But by forcing everyone, including men dressed “ladies of the night,” to show ID with a photo of them dressed as the gender they look like, Hunters is also discriminating against transgender/transexual clientele. And dudes who just like to dress up as ladies now and then.s
Illinois’ ACLU chapter is quick to point out the Illinois Human Rights Act prohibits businesses from discriminating against gender identity — which it looks like Hunters is doing.
Now, it’s worth commending the venue for doing something to crack down on prostitution under its roof. Say what you will about whether prostitution should be legalized, but with it comes sexual exploitation and, often, drug abuse. Plus, take it elsewhere; gay bars are for enjoying a night out with your friends and possibly meeting a mate (at least of the one-night variety), not for transacting business.
But a gay bar that’s inherently banning drag queens and transgender men and women from entering because of a photo ID policy strikes as overreaching, and unfair. Especially because a cursory look through Hunters’ photo gallery shows not one cross-dresser on display, but rather guys like this: