Last Saturday, a transgender woman was denied access to Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg because a park security guard deemed her skirt a costume, according to the following report shown on WTKR, CBS 6 as compiled by Tribune Media Wire.
According to Bria Gibson, her girlfriend identifies as a woman and the couple went to Busch Gardens last Saturday for Howl-o-Scream. As the couple entered the park, a Busch Garden’s security guard confronted the couple and would not allow them entry as per the park’s costume policy. Apparently, the park has a policy against guests wearing costumes inside the park and is enforced to protect costumed performers.
According to the WTKR report, Gibson said, “He very slowly looked her up and down, shook his head, and was like, ‘You can’t come in here because you are wearing a costume,'” Gibson recalled. “After saying, ‘What costume do you think she’s wearing?’ he completely ignored us and shooed us away and nothing more to say on the subject and there was nothing more we could do about it.”
Following the confrontation, the couple went to guest relations and were told they could not enter the park unless Gibson’s girlfriend changed out of her ‘costume’. The couple swapped clothing and entered the park.
In response to the incident, Busch Gardens issued the following:
“We are committed to providing an enjoyable experience for all guests. We respect the rights of people to dress as the gender with which they identify and in a way that enables them and others to safely experience our parks.
We welcome transgender guests in our parks. On this particular occasion, our security professionals interpreted the attire to be a costume, especially given the time of year when our Howl-O-Scream event is occurring.
Unfortunately, we misapplied the park’s policy of not allowing costumes in the park. We will take steps to evaluate future application of this policy. We have been in contact with the guests and have invited them to visit again soon.”
According to the WTKR report, Gibson said that park management has contacted the couple multiple times about the painful incident.
“I had to comfort her. She was going to cry over this. It’s basically saying your identity isn’t real,” Gibson said.