Gay man turned away from restaurant because his leopard print trousers were ‘too much’

Brandon Rogers, an LGBT+ 21-year-old who was turned away from 20 Stories Manchester over his leopard print trousers

A gay man was turned away from a Manchester restaurant because he was wearing leopard print trousers, which the door staff deemed “too much”.

Brandon Rogers, 21, from Cheadle Hulme, visited 20 Stories Manchester on Monday (8 November) with his family to celebrate his sister’s birthday.

But according to his other sister, Paris Osborne, he was the only one in their party of six that was turned away from the restaurant, which has a “smart casual” dress code.

Osborne wrote on Twitter: “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 20 Stories Manchester.

“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.

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

Osborne said she was “absolutely shocked and horrified” by the incident, and added: “Homophobia still exists and very, very strongly.”

She followed up her tweet with a post collating various photos tagged at 20 Stories Manchester, showing multiple women, all wearing leopard print.

According to Manchester Evening News, Rogers, who has autism, said he found the situation “infuriating” and added: “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.

“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.”

He continued: “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.

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

20 Stories Manchester has previously come under fire for its treatment of LGBT+ customers

D&D London which operates 20 Stories Manchester, later apologised to the young gay man and said it has a “zero-discrimination policy”.

It told Manchester Evening News in a statement: “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.

“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.”

However, just last year the restaurant faced criticism for its treatment of a transgender customer, who was misgendered both by door staff and the manager of the restaurant.

The CEO of the LGBT Foundation, Dr Paul Martin, wrote on Twitter: “What’s happened to Brandon is disgraceful… Whilst it’s true LGBT Foundation have begun working with them this incident has clearly highlighted that much more work needs to be done.”

Carl Austin-Behan, LGBT+ adviser to the mayor of Greater Manchester, also wrote on Twitter: “I am angry and disappointed to read this as I spent a lot of time and energy working with them pre-Covid, to look at all staff LGBQ+ training… I will be speaking with them to see what’s going on.”