Thursday, January 24, 2019

Billie Lee Explains Why She Felt Excluded From Katie Maloney’s ‘Girls Night’ Event!

Billie Lee has taken to her personal blog to address all the drama  that went down on Monday night's episode of Vanderpump Rules. If you recall, Katie Maloney threw a girls night event at SUR and Billie was not included, which many accused Lee's co-workers of being "transphobic" for excluding the hostess, elevating the drama to a whole new level.

Now, Lee is setting the record straight and is sharing her side as to why she felt being excluded from the event.

Billie writes:

"We hear the word trigger a lot. My great friend Jesse Møntana is always saying it. “You know when you’re on that fab diet and you walk past a pizza joint? Trigger!” Or, on a deeper level, you smell an old lover’s fragrance and a deep pain rises up from the smell — trigger!

Trigger (verb) – to cause (an event or situation) to happen or exist

Never in my wildest dreams would I think as a grown woman I would be in this situation, where a work event would be the deepest trigger I’ve ever felt.

Growing up transgender, you deal with a lot of exclusion. So many girl sleepovers I couldn’t go to because I was physically a boy, or all the fun things my girlfriends would talk about in the girls’ locker room that I would never get to hear. As a child, I would dream of being on the girls’ team or getting invited to the all-girls pizza party. Instead, I would keep my head down and pray the boys wouldn’t pick on me. Time after time, I felt left behind and alone.

After years of therapy, spiritual ceremonies, and more self-help books than I can count, I really thought I had it all figured out. I was on this path to self-love, and nothing was getting in my way. Then, at 34, I found myself drowning in a puddle of tears. Every feeling of exclusion I ever had as a child came rushing to the surface. Deep wounds that I thought had healed were now bleeding out all through my apartment.

On the afternoon of July 21st, I opened up my Instagram and saw several post about an event called “girls’ night” at SUR. I immediately went to SUR’s page and found the girls’ night flyer—but I was not tagged or included anywhere. An immense feeling of sadness and shame rushed over my entire body. I franticly checked everyone’s page who was tagged on SUR’s post and saw I wasn’t tagged or mentioned even once.

Everything around me faded away; it was just me and my phone, alone in a darkened world. I was in a social media black hole. I started reading the comments, hoping to find myself tagged there somewhere.

There it was—my name. People were commenting, “Why isn’t Billie Lee included in this?” to which someone else responded, “Billie isn’t a real girl. That’s why she’s not included.” Troll after troll let their real feelings be known, and it ripped right through my heart.

The sadness started to pour out of my body as tears began spattering my phone. I was hysterical. I started texting and calling my coworkers, asking why SUR would have a night for girls and not include me. This wasn’t someone’s birthday party. This was a work event at my place of work. On the nights I’m scheduled. AND it’s called “Girls’ Night”!

No one got back to me, and pretty soon the sadness turned into rage. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I went to Twitter to see if I was tagged there, and sure enough I wasn’t. With my feelings rushing from my fingertips, I tweeted, “When yo coworkers don’t include the only trans girl in GIRLS night at your own job! On the night you work! #rudeAF #TransIsBeautiful”

After that tweet, people started getting back to me. I was told by several people that it was Katie’s doing and not SUR. Still, I didn’t personally call out Katie. My fury was directed squarely at SUR—my workplace. I finally put my phone down and rolled out my yoga mat. I sat there for a long time, crying and wondering why I felt so upset. Billie, it’s just a work event. Calm down. Just breathe, Billie. That’s all I could manage in that moment anyway.

A few hours later, Ariana and I had a chance to talk it out. She explained how they’d mentioned me during the planning, but since Katie and I were not on the best of terms (because of Kristen and James), they decided it would be best if Scheana and Ariana invited me. However, both of them forgot, leaving me to find out on Instagram. I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of work drama getting in the way of an invite. How often do we attend work events with coworkers we don’t like? Every day! It’s work!

And that’s what upset me so much about girls’ night. It was a work event. She could have at least sent me an email or tagged me. I never did anything to harm Katie; she just didn’t like the fact that I stood up for James. James enjoys SUR—he brings the party and he brings the money. That doesn’t excuse his foul words towards the people we work with, but what I can’t wrap my head around is how the very people who wanted him fired have done the same ugly things to each other in the past. It’s work! And at a restaurant! We’ve all been pissed and said fucked-up things. Didn’t Lala call Katie fat like two years ago? Didn’t Kristen sleep with her best friend’s BF? Didn’t Jax cheat on Britney? SUR is known for some crazy drama, and it’s not going to stop by firing James. And not including a trans woman in a work event called “Girls’ Night” is not going to get back at James. It does not give you the right to not include me. Again, this is not Katie’s birthday. This is a work event and might I add that trans people are excluded from theme events all the time. I had so many trans people message me with their own stories of being excluded at school and work. What’s more frustrating is that we’re on TV! Trans kids all over the world are watching! I don’t care if you like me or not—you are obligated to include trans people at the workplace. Period.

What was shocking to me is how fast and furiously Katie, Kristen, and Sassi jumped in to defend their loyalty to the LGBTQ community but never once asked how I felt. Never once reached out to me. Never once thought about how this will effect trans kids watching. Lisa my hero May be the fairy godmother to the gay community, but just because our boss is pro-equality does not mean everyone at SUR is. Trans women in America see and hear things that offend us every day. Not everyone at SUR walks around with rainbows and butterflies.

All of this is coming from my personal experience, which happens to be as a trans person in America. You can call it the trans card if you want."

What are your thoughts on Billie's blog? Sound off in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Bravo

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