Steamworks Toronto In Trouble After Doormen Rejected Men Because Of How They Looked

Steamworks is in some trouble and the company’s saying it’ll give its staff empathy training. The problem is that the staff was caught being biased with who they let into the Toronto establishment.

Back in March, DJ Scooter McCreight shared on Twitter that he’d been rejected entry into the gay bathhouse because he was wearing makeup.

As Daily Xtra reports:

“He says you can’t wear that inside, and I’m like, I’m going to be naked inside, so no problem,” McCreight says.

But he couldn’t remove the nail polish.

“I just left. I was not in the mood for any confrontation in this space,” he says. “Really what it comes down to is they weren’t into what I was presenting that night, and used whatever rule they had to deny me entry.”

Afterwards, Steamworks shared in a Facebook post that they are now aware of how some staff are handling potential guests. The company then doubled down and said that all men, trans or otherwise, are welcome, BUT all men have to be presenting as male.

"After further review, it’s become clear some of our staff have misinterpreted our admittance policies. We have addressed the issue with the employees involved & we'll be providing additional training to all staff ensuring this error never happens again. As a club for men, we welcome ALL men, INCLUDING Transmen or individuals who identify/present as Male."

So it seems that the Steamworks PR team is trying to play both sides here. They say that all men are welcome, but men have to “present as Male,” which could be interpreted as “appear masculine." We can see where the doormen got confused.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, then another man came forward and shared that he’d also been singled out by the gay bathhouse.

A man by the name of Justyn Jolie, who is gender non-conforming but identifies as a man, says that he was also denied entry because of how he looked.

“I was wearing makeup, but I love wearing makeup when I go out. I wasn’t even the first in line — I was five people down and they singled me out,” Jolie told Daily Xtra. “They asked how do you identify and I was like, ‘I dunno, my ID says I’m a guy, but it’s however I feel like on the day.’ They said, ‘Sorry we don’t let anyone in if they’re wearing makeup.’”

“It was upsetting,” he says. “I just felt personally victimized in a way. I don’t expect to feel that way on Church Street, because it’s the place to go where you’re supposed to feel accepted.”

“You’re not going to let me in cause I’m too effeminate? That’s like high school times ten.”

Again, Steamworks came around to deny that rejecting men with makeup is a part of their policy. In fact, the manager, Matthew Ladouceur, reached out to say:

““We are a club for men. That does include trans men. We ask that you try to present as male as you walk around the club for the enjoyment of others. There’s no policy regarding makeup."

“We’ve been doing our best to explain to anyone who’s asking that there’s no policy against makeup or nail polish.”

Well, they need to tell their doormen that.

h/t: Daily Xtra

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this is horrid , and so out of touch - i don't know many people who would mind a few random people in the crowd dressing in this way - if they aren't interested they would just ignore them- are they afraid they're going to be taken over by drag queens - lol 

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I don't go to this kind of places but reading the story I get the impression the man in question seeks attention by wearing makeup and dressing like a woman and I'm pretty sure most men who go to these steams bath are in search for masculine men too...

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I agree

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Their apology is fake as shit. I worked here a loooong long time ago and there was a shit load of hatred against anything even hinting femininity. They do have policies to exclude transgender people and drag queens, straight up. They will kick you out for wearing any sort of women's clothing, they have very explicit rules in the check in area on a poster that says drag isn't allowed, and all the staff are deliberately trained to exclude anyone "not male" enough. The only thing that surprises me is that it took this long for them to get called out for it properly.

CastleSF's picture
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Don't businesses have a right not to serve customers they deem disruptive? Men who wear makeup and nail polish in public are most likely troublemakers. I despise gay bathhouses and hope that the cities will shut them all down but in this case Steamworks didn't do anything wrong. 

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Steamworks is trying to frame this as a single rogue employee "misinterpreting" company policy. When I worked there it was a shift manager who trained me to not let anyone one in wearing makeup, wig, nail polish or female clothing. They had to remove it before being admitted. Fetish clothing was allowed but not any form of cross dressing. I saw it done several times - once reducing a customer to tears. This was presented as company policy, supervisors and clerks alike were aware of it. I was also told by the shift manager that it could potentially get the company in trouble. Well it has. It's the owners and managers that need the sensitivity training.

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