I'm From Driftwood is a 501(c)(3) non-profit forum for true lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer stories. Earlier this year, founder and Executive Director Nathan Manske and two companions successfully completed a four-month, 50-state Story Tour collecting LGBTQ stories from towns and cities across the country. They're pulling some of the most relevant, important and sometimes just enjoyable stories from their archives and sharing them with HuffPost Gay Voices.
Dru Levasseur, prior to coming out as a transgender man, was very active in the lesbian community:
It was a really scary time, when I was starting to realize I was trans. I had had a lesbian wedding -- two white dresses -- and was very visibly a lesbian. I was very much identifying with that culture, and gay bars were the place I could go to feel safe and feel like I could be myself.
In the summer of 2003, Dru's best friend suddenly died of a brain hemorrhage at age 29. The night he found out, he wanted to go to a gay bar to cope with the horrible news. While there he decided to use the men's bathroom for the first time:
This was a really scary, courageous step to take for me... Unfortunately, this bouncer came in after me and said, 'You're in the wrong bathroom.' Because of what happened with my best friend and what I was going through at the time, I responded, 'No, I'm not,' and I wasn't gonna leave.
The confrontation escalated, and the bouncer asked for Dru's ID:
Of course, I felt scared of him. I pulled out my ID and it had an 'F' on it. I felt very ashamed and embarrassed about it, and really degraded. I felt very powerless, handing him my ID. He looked at it and said, 'See? Get out.'
Following the interaction, Dru decided to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission:
The lesbians that own the bar said during the hearing, "We don't have to do anything for those people." That was my wake-up call that my community of 10 to 12 years was turning on me. After all of that was said and done, I never got an apology.
Years later, Dru and some friends decided to start New England Transgender Pride. A month before the rally, he got a call from the same gay bar, wanting to sponsor the after-party. When meeting with the two lesbian owners, he brought up the fact that he never got an apology for what happened. When reminded of the incident, one of the owners reached across the table, touched Dru's hand, and sincerely apologized:
I got my apology, five years later, because we took action and said, "We have this respect, and we deserve it."