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Where do you pee at Cosmopolitan if you’re transgender?

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Around 4 a.m. April 11, a petite brunette who goes by the name Stephanie says she quietly dipped into the ladies room at the Cosmopolitan after having a drink at Vesper Bar. Upon leaving the restroom, she says, two security men whisked her out of the hotel, told her that she was trespassing on Cosmopolitan property and that she would be arrested if she did not leave. She says that they photographed her (and her driver’s license) and told her that she was banned from ever returning to the hotel.

Stephanie didn’t ask why. She knew. Where she lives, just outside New York City, the biologically male television producer is protected by Title 8 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York, which prohibits barring someone from a public restroom based on gender identity or gender expression. In Vegas, however, no such statute exists. The Las Vegas Strip sits in a giant cowboy town, making it a whole different animal—a place that markets itself as a wild, anything-goes destination, but only if you stay within the corporate-sanctioned norm.

Still, Stephanie says she was surprised, particularly because she was alone in the restroom and the hotel markets itself as progressive, right down to its slogan: “Just the right amount of wrong.”

"I'm very cautious. To the best of my ability, I try to slip in and out of the ladies room so nobody sees," Stephanie said last week via telephone. "I only did two things at that place. I went to the bar and then used the restroom."

The story, first posted by Julia Buckley, a writer for hotelchatter.com, has already generated outrage by readers.

When asked about the incident, Cosmopolitan officials told the Weekly they can’t comment on guests, but added that the hotel is a Travel Alternatives Group-approved resort and has gender-neutral (family) restrooms. They also released this statement:

“We regret that any guest may have had an unfortunate experience at The Cosmopolitan. All guests are welcome to experience the city’s newest luxury resort and our guests’ safety, comfort and enjoyment always remains our top priority.”

The website safe2pee.orgt lists 3,013 gender-neutral restrooms in 727 cities, including 161 in Las Vegas. So next time Stephanie comes to town, she’ll have plenty of other places to pee.

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Kristen Peterson

Kristen Peterson joined the Las Vegas Sun in 1998 as a general assignment reporter. In 2003, she turned her focus ...

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