Coastal: Trans member denied, but still fighting

News Notes: Carolinas

by Lainey Millen  Special Assignments  specialassignments@goqnotes.com
Published: July 24, 2010 in Carolinas News Notes

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. — Discrimination is not new to country club-styled or private social communities. Jews faced this for decades, as well as African-Americans.

Now, there’s a new group to enter the arena.

At the Hanover Seaside Club it seems that transgender applicants are being treated the same. Rachael Gieschen, 69, whose grandfather co-founded this coastal club in 1898, was recently given the nay-nod with regard to her membership status.

This Air Force veteran, twice married and father of five children, transitioned from male to female three years ago. She had been a part of the club since her birth. Her childhood was spent there, as well as time as an adult. Many of the members were long-time friends, reports Boston’s Edge. The story also stated that she was “the happiest she has ever been in her life. And she just wants to be allowed to go back to the club — the place she said she created her own memories with her family. Two of her children are still members with her grandchildren.”

It seems that the board, which also includes her sister, expressed claims that both they and members were uncomfortable with her gender reassignment. The Advocate reported that bathroom and locker rooms were some of the main areas of contention.

The Wilmington Star-News said that she received a letter from the club in 2009 stating that her membership had been revoked and that she would be refunded the remaining dues for the term. The club’s president and legal representative have refused to comment on the matter.

Geischen has engaged to services of the New York-based Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund attorney Michael Silverman to help her regain her membership status and explore options, the Edge said. The report further stated, “Silverman sees this as an opportunity to teach an important lesson — to learn to deal with differences. And Gieschen agrees.”

She just wants the Club members to get to know the new person she has become. “‘They remember the old me,’ she said of the club members. ‘They don’t know the new me. I’m still the same. I want them to see I’m the same person they knew five or six years ago. It’s time to do the right thing and reinstate my membership. I’m hoping the club will do the right thing,’” the Edge concluded. : :