Sherry Donegan of Fresno, Calif., had never taken a cruise before when she joined 17 others last month aboard the Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas for a six-day vacation. But a comment from an anti-LGBT employee aboard the ship and being relegated to the back of a ballroom certainly didn't make a good first impression.
Donegan is transgender, and her group consisted of trans women, men, and allies. On her second night, a bartender turned her away, telling her, "We don't serve fags here," she told the Bay Area Reporter,
Donegan filed a complaint aboard ship and two days later was told that employee had been fired and put off the ship in Mexico.
She told the Reporter she doesn't believe Royal Caribbean, which recently scored a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index for the second year in a row.
And the bartender wasn't the only problem, she told the paper. The maitre d' seated Donegan and her group in a far corner of the dining room. "A table way, way in back of the room, like we are little kids not being seen," Donegan told the Reporter.
The Miami woman who organized the cruise, Stephanie Land, filed a complaint this with Royal Caribbean about the November 8 incident, according to the Reporter. Land is the founder of Transgender Vacations. Donegan told the paper she's also contacted the Transgender Law Center about how she and her group were treated.
Just two days before Donegan and her party left Florida for their cruise, there was another anti-LGBT incident aboard a Royal Caribbean ship. A Brazilian gay man plunged into the ocean from the Oasis of the Seas following an alleged altercation with crew members, who have been accused of taunting him and his husband with antigay remarks.
Royal Caribbean denied there was any physical altercation and said Albaz intentionally jumped over the side of the ship. His body was never recovered.
The cruise line did not respond to inquiries by the Reporter about Donegan's and Land's complaint by press time.