We consider ourselves a lesbian/trans bar that welcomes all who respect what we offer here. (Rated E for Everyone)
The Egyptian Club opened in 1995 as a lesbian bar. A place for women to meet women. Portland did not have a venue committed 100% to this purpose.
We have been working with individuals from the trans community since we opened. The e-room is actually the first bar (that we know of) in Portland to do regular fund-raisers to help those that are transitioning FTM. The "Gender Bender Variety Show" was started in the 90's by Lisa L to benefit someone near and dear to her heart that was transitioning. Lisa (who was a manager of the e-room) ran the show a few times a year, and put her heart and soul into it. This variety show continues, and has become an annual part of our Pride celebration. (Always on the Thursday before Pride) In the beginning, this show was billed as a drag show. Pretty much only the performers knew that it was a fund-raiser. Now, it is pretty well known as a fund raiser and who the show is being put on for.
Back in the day, many of our trans friends wanted to stay in the closet, and we showed respect and did not "out" them. It was hard for me when a female customer would come up to me and say, "This is a women's bar! Why is that guy here?" I guess I still get that question, but not as much. I guess our community is becoming more accepting, which makes me very happy.
Personally, I have many friends who have transitioned or are transitioning. I should even mention that one of my bestest friends in the whole wide world used to be a girl. He is one of the best things that has ever happened in my life (you know who you are...just thought I would mention you!). While I don't completely understand what is going on inside as far as the need for transistion (I think I would actually have to climb inside for that), my understanding has blossomed through the years. Meeting so many new people and hearing so many stories has given me an insight that others, without a little education may never have to opportunity to grasp. My hope is that someday we come to a place where the lines in our community are blurred, and we all see others as family. Not bi, or trans, or lesbian or gay, or even old, young, educated, geographic location, or any other "label". I would like the e-room to be the place where everyone is accepted. The place where we can all come together. I would like to call a halt to the segmenting the segments of our community! Anyone with me?
I would like to write more...perhaps I will write more later. I have an awful lot of feelings not expressed here. (About 14 years worth) I am not a writer, I am a bar owner, so putting all my feelings into words that all sound good together is pretty tough for me. I would actually like to get some stuff up here to help educate the community. Any suggestions?
But here is what I would like to say:
Our trans community is not only welcome to hang out at the e-room...but we expect it! You are not a "guest" at the lesbian bar...this is your bar too. The e-room is a lesbian/trans bar that also welcomes everyone who respects what we offer here. I want our trans community to feel at home at the "e-room". You don't have to mark the calendar and wait for monthly events to be you. We are committed to you 7 days a week, 365 days a year.