Atlanta restaurant apologizes after transgender guest wearing skirt denied service

A metro-Atlanta customer says a restaurant denied them service for wearing a skirt. (Source: Contributed video/WGCL)
Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 7:48 AM CST
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ATLANTA (WGCL/Gray News) - An Atlanta restaurant apologized on social media after a customer said a that restaurant denied them service for wearing a skirt.

As the metro area is home to a large LGBTQ community, the guest considered it shocking and humiliating.

“I identify as he, she, they. So all pronouns are OK,” Pako Zolanski said.

He just wanted to join his friend’s birthday dinner at The Monticello on Jan. 14. He showed up but did not make it in, WGCL reported.

“I went ahead and showed my ID. And he was saying, ‘Well, it’s not what it looks like on your ID. I’m like ‘What do you mean, I just took that picture. I know it looks like me. I may have gained a little weight, but it’s still me,’” laughed Zolanski.

It was no laughing matter what happened next. He said the photo was not the problem; it was his attire that night.

TikTok video of the incident shows him in a red skirt, black shirt and a jacket on top. In the video, a man who appears to be Monticello staff explains their issue, saying, “We are not denying him service. What we’re saying is he must dress his gender. If he dresses his gender, he is more than welcome to come inside.”

The video has been viewed thousands of times.

Monticello Management issued a public apology via its social media on Jan. 17, saying in part the incident does not represent its policies and procedures.

In its social media post, management added staff will undergo sensitivity training and that the employee involved received disciplinary action.

“I’m Black. I’m gay. It’s just like no matter where I turn, I feel like there’s always going to be a target on my back,” Zolanski said. “I should be able to walk in this world and not be scared that because I’m wearing a dress, people are going to treat me differently.”

Monticello’s public relations team declined additional comment on Tuesday.

“I just really want to make sure they know this situation can’t happen. It can’t be OK. It can’t be continuous. It’s wrong. No one should have to deal with that,” Zolanski said.

Zolanski’s friends started a fundraiser to hire legal representation.

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