A transgender West Hollywood woman has complained of being denied entrance to two prominent local nightclubs, a complaint that follows one last month by another trans woman about her treatment at a local celebrity restaurant.
In a Facebook live video posted on Sunday, Shayan Siren talked about being denied entrance to both 1 OAK, the nightclub on Sunset Boulevard owned by Ronnie Madra and Richie Akiva’s Butter Group, and to Hyde on Sunset, the restaurant and lounge that is owned by SBE, the hotel, nightclub and restaurant group headed by Sam Nazarian.
“So many of my friends always tell me, what a great time to be transgender, everyone is so accepting,” Siren said in an interview with WEHOville. “It’s not that way at all.”
Siren said she was especially surprised and disappointed at her treatment given that the clubs are in West Hollywood. “I live in West Hollywood, which is known as one of the most accepting places for LGBTQ people,” she said. “This is why I live here. This is why I pay the extra money.”
In April, Ashlee Marie Preston, an African-American transgender woman, wrote an op-ed for WEHOville described a similar issue, calling out Catch, the new celebrity restaurant on the roof of a building on San Vicente Boulevard and Melrose Avenue, for what she described as its demeaning treatment of her. Catch also has been severely criticized on social media for allegedly cancelling reservations of regular people to make room for celebrities.
Siren said her first incident occurred two weeks ago when she went to 1 OAK after having received an invitation to attend an event celebrating Lana Del Rey’s birthday.
“I never have been out to straight clubs,” she said. “I would go to some bars sometimes. (But) it’s Lana Del Rey, it’s 1 OAK, and even 1 OAK has a gay night … (the Friday night Commodore Club with Luke Nero and Andres Rigal). I thought ‘Okay, this is going to be fun’.”
While waiting outside to enter the club, Siren said she noticed a club promoter pointing at her and whispering in the ear of another man. That man pulled her from the line and said she wasn’t allowed in the club.
“He didn’t have any real excuse,” Siren said. “He said they have a lot of Middle Eastern clients that are high-profile clientele, and they don’t want to be around trans people.”
Siren said one of the security cards was clearly upset by the way she was treated. He explained that the club had a quota. “They don’t allow too many African American people. They don’t want too many gays,” Siren said he told her. The man also said that 1 OAK’s Middle Eastern customers want to be around blonde women. And he said she would be more welcome on the club’s Friday gay nights.
Siren said that while she is transgender, she identifies as a woman, one who dates heterosexual men. “For them to just kind of be like, ‘we have a gay nightlife, you can go there’ — they were trying to steer me only to the gay night.”
Siren, who started her transition from male to female last October, said the experience left her shaken. But female friends pushed her to go out again last week to another straight club — Hyde on Sunset. “I told them that I didn’t know whether I felt comfortable going to a straight club,” she said. But Siren said she lives a short walk from Hyde and decided to try it out. Her friends had booked a table.
When she got to Hyde, Siren recognized one of the night’s promoters, who she had worked with before her transition. She said they exchanged friendly hello’s.
Then, before they entered Hyde, she got a text messages saying the manager would not let her enter. The other event promoter wouldn’t explain why. Again, it was a security guard who explained what was going on. He said the promoter, her former co-worker, had “red-flagged” Siren because she was transgender.
Another security guard told her the manager of Hyde didn’t want her standing in front of the club. So she moved across the street. “I had to walk across the street. They didn’t even want me on the sidewalk,” Siren said.
Siren said her friends “were literally shocked and shaking, asking: “In L.A.? In West Hollywood?”
Siren said she was upset and wanted to go home but her friends wanted her to keep going. “My friends said, ‘You are not going home. You are not going to cry. You need to be out and be yourself’.”
Siren said they went to the Argyle on Argyle Avenue in Hollywood, where they were treated well. But as the club was closing and she and her friends were leaving, a man came up and grabbed her breast and addressed her as “sir.” “You got those done for attention,” he said of her breasts. “You’re a man. We all know it.”
Siren said other women stepped forward and asked why the man was insulting her. He pushed one of them aside and spit in Siren’s face.
As of publication, neither 1 OAK or the Hyde has responded to requests for comments on Siren’s allegations.
Siren moved to Los Angeles from Texas seven years ago and is an aspiring actor. She said she initially was reluctant to go live about these incidents with a post on Facebook. But she decided she had to.
“I’m not trying to be on the Ellen Show, I’m not trying to do any of that,” she said. “I’m just trying to raise awareness and visibility… The more I actually do put myself out there and talk about these issues, the better.
“Forty-five percent of us don’t make it to age 35 because of murders or suicide,” she said, speaking of the struggles of transgender people. “So many people have this idea that we have a fabulous life, but it’s not like that at all. I just want to show people what a struggle it can be.”