Man refused entry to 20 Stories restaurant because leopard-print trousers were ‘too, too much’

A gay man was refused entry into a restaurant in Manchester city centre after a bouncer said his outfit was “too, too much”.

Brandon Rogers, 21, from Cheadle Hulme, visited 20 Stories on Hardman Square in Spinningfields on Monday night (November 9) as part of a group of six to celebrate his sister’s birthday.

Upon arriving at the venue for cocktails, the bouncer told Brandon that his leopard print trousers were “too, too much” and he would not be allowed inside, but the remaining members of the party could enter if they wanted.

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Posting on Twitter, Brandon’s sister Paris Osborne wrote: “We’ve just been out for my sister’s birthday and my brother, who is the best dressed out of all of us and is extremely expressive and proudly gay, was denied entry to @20storiesMCR.

“The bouncer looked him up and down, said his ‘pants are too too much’, ‘the leopard print, no.’

“But then let a man who was seen as more “male” who wore jeans that were discoloured, dirty and wore worn out trainers straight in.

Brandon Rogers in his trousers

“Absolute discrimination and homophobic. This needs to be seriously addressed.”

D&D London, which operates 20 Stories, apologised to Brandon and said the company operates on a ‘zero-discrimination policy’.

But Brandon, who has autism, told the M.E.N he felt the bouncer’s comments were “infuriating” as he did not see a problem with the way he was dressed.

“When we arrived, my sister went into the building and asked if they had a table for six and the bouncer said yes,” Brandon said.

“When I walked up behind them, he looked me up and down three times and it felt like he was looking at me judgmentally.

“The bouncer said everyone else could come in but there was an issue with what I was wearing. My dad asked why and he said what I was wearing was too casual, gesturing towards my pants.

“We asked what the dress code was and he said it was smart casual. He said jeans were allowed but what I was wearing was ‘too, too much’.

“Queer people are suppressed and made to feel different our entire lives. I’m personally not a very confident person so the way I present myself with dangly earrings and patterned clothing makes me feel that little bit more confident and happy within myself.

Brandon’s trousers

“Having autism as well makes it really difficult for me to find ways to express myself and feel comfortable within my own skin, so businesses discriminating against me like this could potentially tear down all of that.”

Following Paris’ original post, which has now been shared by hundreds of accounts, Brandon’s sister posted a photo from Instagram showing a number of women tagged at 20 Stories wearing similar leopard print clothes.

“I don’t understand why me wearing leopard print pants doesn’t fit their dress code but they let women with the same print in,” Brandon added.

“It was clearly subconscious homophobia – something which I am used to.

“My family were more angry at the situation than I was because I’m used to brushing off situations like this but we shouldn’t have to.

“I’m sick of people having this rose-tinted view of the world being so much more equal and better now, but these high-end venues don’t cater to people like me because I’m not their target audience.

“We need to get past the idea that male-presenting people wearing what is viewed as “feminine” clothing is detrimental to their reputation. Their policies are the problem.”

Brandon Rogers was told his leopard print trousers were “too, too much” by staff at 20 Stories in Spinningfields

Brandon, who is studying psychology at university, said the incident will not stop him from dressing the way he does but could have caused real hurt to others.

“I’m at a point where I know I want to dress like this and be like this,” he explains.

“I’m not going to change that just to be accepted by a certain place or certain people.

“If going out in animal print means that I get denied because it’s too much, then I will just go to a more queer-friendly space without the added toxic masculinity.

“But there’s others who are in a fragile state where it could really be detrimental to them and affect their self-worth.”

The incident comes after two transgender customers were left ‘humiliated’ after being misgendered and turned away from 20 Stories in seperate events last year.

At the time, the venue said they were ‘committed to learning from’ the incident and were ‘relooking’ at their procedures as a result.

D&D London statement

A spokesperson for D&D London apologised to Brandon and said the company operates on a ‘zero-discrimination policy’.

“We would like to apologise to Brandon, Paris and their party for the upset this incident has caused and that the group were refused entry from 20 Stories.

20 Stories in Spinningfields
(Image: Manchester Evening News)

“Since opening, we have implemented a dress code policy at 20 Stories. On this occasion, our door team, reception desk and manager did not believe that the dress code had been adhered to and made the decision to refuse entry.

“We operate a zero-discrimination policy at 20 Stories and across D&D London and have been doing a great deal of work to implement this by training and educating our staff across the group.

“We have been working with the LGBT Foundation to develop a training programme for all D&D employees which is now a standard as part of their ongoing training and development.

“Some venues across the group have been trialling this programme, providing feedback to all management via focus groups and webinars ahead of the programme being rolled out to all 43 venues by the end of December.

“Over the last year we have put a number of measures in place to improve awareness and processes and a great deal of work has taken place behind the scenes to ensure 20 Stories and other D&D venues are inclusive for all with management training, our partnership with LGBT Foundation and the donation we have made over the last year to support the incredible work the foundation is doing.

“Our external security team has gone through mandatory training in LGBTQ+, Effective Communication, and Mental Health Awareness, in the past year.

“We have contacted Paris and her family in order to discuss this incident and we look forward to hearing back from them soon.”

In a tweet, Dr Paul Martin OBE, CEO of LGBT Foundation, said: “What’s happened to Brandon is disgraceful & @20StoriesMCR need to apologise immediately and acknowledge that they got this very wrong.

“Whilst it’s true @LGBTfdn have begun working with them this incident has clearly highlighted that much more work needs to be done.”

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