An individual has called out a lounge after they were denied entry because they were wearing a skirt and not “dressing his gender”.
Pako Zolanski, 25, who goes by the username @pakozolanski on TikTok, recently uploaded a video taken outside of Monticello ATL, a lounge in Marietta, Georgia, where they had gone to celebrate a friend’s birthday.
However, in the clip, a manager for the lounge can be seen explaining why the 25-year-old, who uses he/she/they pronouns, according to their TikTok bio, would not be allowed inside.
“Let me explain. It’s just like when you go to some places, they say: ‘We can deny service to anyone.’ We are not denying him service. What we’re saying is he must dress his gender,” the manager says in the video. “If he dresses his gender, he is more than welcome to come in.”
As Zolanski’s friends began to speak up on the TikToker’s behalf and describe the treatment as “unacceptable,” the camera panned to show Zolanksi, who could be seen wearing a black Stranger Things top and a red skirt and standing with their friends.
“I was discriminated against for being androgynous,” Zolanski wrote in the text caption on the clip, before adding that there were “no signs saying ‘I must dress my gender’”.
The video, which has been viewed more than 19,000 times, was met with disgust from viewers who called the lounge’s behaviour “shameful”.
“How is this not discrimination… just because he described it with different words does not make it any less discriminatory. We need answers for this,” one person commented.
Another said: “I’m so sorry that happened. They need to do better. You looked amazing in that outfit.”
“Wow, this is deplorable! This establishment should be ashamed. I’m so sorry you had to deal with this! You’re amazing inside and out,” someone else wrote.
Others revealed that they would be supporting Zolanski by sharing negative reviews for the lounge, with one person writing: “Left them a negative Google review. If there’s anything else we can do, let us know.”
In a follow-up video, the TikToker reflected on the “f***ed up experience,” with Zolanski explaining that prior to arriving at the establishment, their friend had paid for VIP access and bottle service and that the group had been “really excited” to go.
However, Zolanski, who said they had heard “good things” about the lounge, also acknowledged that they had had some doubts about the destination because they try to avoid places that look down on people or where people act like they are “better than one another”.
According to Zolanski, the issue began as soon as they showed their ID, which they said features a recent picture of them but with their hair down and without makeup, as the bouncer then said that there was a problem because they did not “look how you look on your ID”.
“He was like: ‘I can’t let you in with a skirt on,’” Zolanski recalled, adding that they kept looking around for a sign with a dress code, but that they saw individuals dressed in all different types of clothing, including ripped jeans, sneakers, leggings and hoodies.
Zolanski then noted that they often receive “dirty looks” because of their appearance but that they are never told they can’t go inside somewhere because of what they are wearing. They also recalled how, at that point, the manager of the lounge had come outside and reiterated the claim about the ID.
In the comments, the lounge’s excuse prompted additional outrage, as many viewers noted that they don’t always look exactly like their ID photos.
“Who in the hell looks like their ID?! I don’t look like my ID either! What idiotic nonsense! You were looking great by the way,” one person wrote.
Following the videos, Yelp has temporarily disabled the posting of reviews to Monticello ATL’s Yelp page as a result of the recent “increased public attention” on the establishment.
Despite the outpouring of support they have received since sharing their experience, Zolanski told BuzzFeed that the encounter left them feeling angry, “devastated” and “embarrassed”.
“I felt absolutely crushed and embarrassed. It was humiliating,” they said. “People have a right to live in their truth. We see so many young people nowadays who do not feel comfortable within themselves and think they have no choices. I cried myself to sleep that night feeling ostracized and not accepted.”
The Independent has contacted Zolanski and Monticello ATL for comment.