Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Transgender Man Says He Was Stalked, Threatened by Employee at Magic Springs Water Park

"I ditched work to come to Magic Springs today. I knew I would not be welcome back here, but...."

 

Magic springs theme and waterpark is located in Arkansas. A transgender man said he was made to feel unwelcome there by an employee of the park.

Yesterday, whilst at my trip to Magic Springs, I was repeatedly harassed /by an EMPLOYEE/, and I've never been more hurt and embarrassed in my entire life. Let me start out by introducing myself. My name is Dane; I live over in Hot Springs Village, and I'm female to male transgender. This means, I was born a girl, but have been living as a man for the past several years. However, I pass and live fulltime as male, have had multiple surgeries, and years of hormone replacement therapy. This is my first season of coming to Magic Springs as well.

I met Cheyenne when she was working a few weeks ago; she told me she liked my tattoos. She asked me for my phone number, which I gave her as I'm always willing to expand my circle. A bit of small talk later, and then she's demanding answers to 'Am I a boy or a girl?!' I chose not to respond, because I already know what line of questioning leads nowhere good. We never spoke again - either via phone or in person, nor had I come back for a few weeks - I was a little embarrassed.

Yesterday, I hear her behind me as I'm walking through the water park. I see Cheyenne getting in line for the lazy river, so I make sure to take my time finding a place to put my shoes and bag, and going to get my tube. I think I'm safe as I don't see her as I jump in my tube.

I'm floating around, and I hear her saying to someone; she's pleading with them, "Go ask him if he's a boy or a girl!" I assumed she was just talking trash, and paid her no mind. A few minutes later, a young boy swims up to me, and of course, he's asking. I have a line for this, so I tell him, little kid or not, that, "I'm more of a man than you'll ever be, and more of a woman than he'll ever get," and quickly swim away. A few minutes later, these two little boys are flanking me - asking if I want to go out with them or kiss them. I keep trying to brush them off - pointing at little girls, saying, "Oh, she's more your type." I don't really engage, as I don't think they're worth the time; it's been a long time since I was in third grade. When I start ignoring them and trying to get away, they're splashing me in the face on purpose, and yelling at ME to get away from THEM. That's when I see that Cheyenne is the puppet master of the boys. I overhear that she is their older cousin. By the time I'm at the exit of the lazy river, I get out -- I'm not going to put up with that sort of thing period.

I gather my belongings and begin to leave Crystal Falls; they're all in bathing suits, so hopefully, they're not riding rides over at Magic Springs. I jump on the carousel, and take a spin, but to my horror, there they are, and Cheyenne is pointing at me, as she walks down the hill. They get into the line, as I grab my bag and escape. I run down to Rim Runner, and luckily, I have a few minutes to ride alone. I take a deep breath; I know folks can be cruel. By the time that ride was over, the little boys are in the entrance line, and they sidle up next to me, but at this point, I ask the ride operator not to let them ride this go, but she just shrugged. Whilst we're riding, these little boys called me a b!tch, asked if I recognized their 'big cousin, Cheyenne,' and told me that I should leave the park and never come back. At this point, I ask them if they even know what a b!tch is. I do admit that at this point, I did call them twerps, but I think that pales in comparison to the way they treated me. I also wouldn't say calling them twerps stoops to their level either. After telling me that it was me, I ask them if they even know what transphobia is, ask them why they're asking this way, trying to use simple words -- "Why are you guy being mean?" THEN, THE TRUTH COMES OUT. These little dudes admit that they've been following me around all day, harassing me, under Cheyenne's direct instructions! At this point, I tell the boys that this is harassment. My heart is heavy, and I just want to get away from them.

Once the ride stops, I literally begin running to get away from them, but they're still ACTIVELY FOLLOWING ME AROUND. I can hear Cheyenne shouting, "WHERE ARE YOU GOING?!" A short time later, somehow by the grace of god, I get stuck on the Big Bad John ride. I had an entire half hour without being taunted by children. Despite being stuck in a rollercoaster, this part was a blessing. After I get off, I move toward the car ride, but alas, there is Cheyenne, and at this point, now she's started telling the cousins to apologize. She's yelling at them, "JUST TELL HIM YOU'RE SORRY!" I try to escape again; this time jumping on the Mine Cart ride. The little boys are right behind me in the cars, alternating between calling me a b!tch and sarcastically apologizing. Luckily, this ride is short, so I can just ignore them, but after this ride is over, I'm done. I couldn't take it anymore.

I have never, EVER in years dealt with such blatant transphobia in my entire life - not just in a public place, but at someone's place of employment no less. Regardless of whether Cheyenne herself said anything to me -- she didn't, she did orchestrate this entire thing, using literal children, against someone who did nothing wrong, a paying customer, who never deserved anything like this. I'm both appalled and disgusted with the way I was treated.

Since this happened, she has called me a few times as well; I assume to apologize or try to persuade me from sending this, but alas, her obvious disregard for my feelings and disrespect was just too much for me to handle. She asked me to call her back, but I haven't spoken to her, and I assure you, I hope to never see her or hear from her again. Not only did I leave the park early, I don't think I will ever be coming back again. NOTHING she could say or do could prevent me from being this to the attention of not only corporate, but the entire world.

Heavy-hearted, but here's the update.. This is what happened when I thought I'd give them another chance. If I thought things were bad before, I literally had no idea.

I ditched work to come to Magic Springs today, but now I wish I hadn't. They didn't deserve a second chance at all! I KNEW I would not be welcome back here, and they would find some way to make that happen.

One of my favourite parts of going to Magic Springs alone is that no one is rushing me around. I'm afraid of heights, so I try to keep things pretty low key, both wet or dry. Being a single rider has its perks though - both by allowing me to wait until the next time to allow parties to stick together, or occasionally slipping me onto another family's cart when there's extra space. This also means no one gets mad at me when I have to turn back for a slide being too scary, or when I ride the same few rides over and over. Ride operators joke that I rode Rim Rummer six times today, and frankly, I probably did.

The water park closed, but I still wanted to hit my trio of rides for the last hour - Diamond Mine, Big Bad John, and Rim Runner. I rode Rim Runner a few different times. When there's no line, (because there are literally never any here -- BUT NOW I KNOW WHY..) you just stand off to the side, then they allow you back on. Nothing out of the ordinary here.

I sidle down the hill toward the Diamond Mine, and jump into my cart. As we're waiting for the ride to start, three kids show up. Now, I do want to point out, at this point, it's probably 6:35 PM. The young man operating the ride allows the first two on, and I gesture to the other gal to sit next to me. NORMALLY, TWO 'adults' should have never been in one Diamond Mine cart in the first place. Did a sixteen year old ride operator make a dumb mistake by putting two 'bigger folks together? Nope - he was a tired kid, and he is definitely not a part of this story. She sits next to me on the left side. I'm not even sure I greeted her I was so drained; I'd been riding since the park opened nearly eight hours early at this point. Now, if you've never ridden Diamond Mine, it's a short track that loops around twice, but all turns go to the left. We do a double loop, including stopping at the station in between. A few riders get off, and we're back around a few more times. I ride it a few more times; it's even fun when you're the only person riding.

A few more minutes til closing though, and I try to make every trip as worthwhile as I can, so I get in line for Big Bad John, and ride this one twice more without any issues. However, when I get off, I'm lagging behind a little bit -- my water shoe's inner sole has folded in upon itself. I bend down on the stairs to fix it, and I look up, and chuckle. One of the employees was singing a bit, and this other employee has joined in. By the time we're at the bridge, all of us - employees and guests alike are singing the same song. [THAT'S WHAT KILLS ME ABOUT HAVING TO WRITE THIS, because aside from this NONSENSE, majority of my times ever have been FANTASTIC and fun, even BY MYSELF!]

I know that it's a long ride back, so I go to the bathroom right as you enter. Of course, I use the men's, but I'm out in a flash. When I get out, there is the manager of guest relations and a massive dude flanking me. "Sir, we need you to come over here.." I follow, and they start off by saying that the girl on the Diamond Mine said I TOUCHED HER. I'm gobsmacked, but I don't know what to do. Not only does Jayson know EXACTLY who I am, he knows exactly what I've been through. He knows that I have been a victim of someone ACTUALLY trying to harm me in his park, first of all. Not only did I offer this girl a space on a ride she wanted on at the park's closing, so she could sit next to her friends, I don't even think I spoke to her, and I certainly didn't, or would I ever have touched her. Not only did I relay this to them, it didn't really seem to matter. I tried to talk to Jayson and the other dude, but it seemed like their minds were made up. I don't even feel like they listened to what I had to say. The girl is saying not only did I look at her, but I touched her. The bigger dude is saying she may be misconstruing me leaning into her as the ride goes around curves -- he doesn't want things to blow out of proportion. Neither do I, but I'm literally trying not to cry.

Yes, I am a transgender guy, and yes, I have had the same MALE partner since 2000 -- longer than this little girl has been on this earth! Yes, my body may look a little bit different than what you're used to, which is why I try to protect myself from both sun and harmful comments by wearing a large t-shirt when I swim. If I would have looked less ambiguous or androgynous, would we even be here...? JUST CURIOUS.

Two more security guards show up - including one woman, Temeka, who was singing with us on the bridge. I ask her if she knows what's going on, but she doesn't have much to say. Eventually, Jayson leaves me with the bigger guy and Temeka.. It's kinda cute, because this giant teddy bear talked about bottle feeding his little puppies. [Not all bad, I TOLD YOU!] When they return, everyone's circling me. They want me to /give them my season pass/, because they're apparently revoking it. Under no circumstances am I going to allow someone to do this, but they begin to tell me the other party is apparently calling the police.

There's no one advocating for me, I'm guilty automatically, and there seems to be no rationally talking about this situation. Things start to get more troublesome. I KNOW my ride sitting in the parking lot has a totally unrelated warrant, and I'm not going to let some little girl yell RAPE, because I bumped into her on a sixty-second ride. I'm just curious why she didn't say something to the ride operator -- or get off on the first go around if there was an issue. If I'd been there EIGHT HOURS without a problem, why did this suddenly happen? I saw the same exact ride folks all day. If this is how I'm being treated by people who said they would keep me safe in their park, cops are gonna be even worse.. Time to escape. They left me with the teddy bear, and told me to JUST STAND RIGHT THERE, so I hopped the turnstiles and left - much like Cheyenne did when she was there yesterday. At least she's got spunk -- she might be growing on me. I will say I'm super grateful I didn't get tackled by that guy -- that would have been an even worse time, but I didn't look back, so maybe he couldn't give chase.

Magic springs theme and waterpark is located in Arkansas. A transgender man said he was made to feel unwelcome there by an employee of the park.

So, here's the bottom line.. Despite the fact that my white whale of concerts is coming in two weeks, with bring a friend already planned, plus acquired another comp ticket, there is NOTHING you can do or say to bring me back. I really thought I was going to be okay here, that I would be able to have a good time by myself, that the Cheyenne drama was not going to stain my new favorite place.

No need to revoke me, I'll dispose of it all myself. Y'all ruined my summer anyhow. Not only did Cheyenne and Co proceed to make me feel terrible about the way I look -- THIS MADE ME FEEL HORRIBLE ABOUT SIMPLY EXISTING!!! You didn't deserve another penny from me, and you certainly won't be getting another one.

I can't even put into words how it feels to be falsely accused of something like that, but the feelings echo long after I've left. I suppose I spoke too much about staining my new favourite place. At this point, it feels like maybe I don't belong anywhere. I don't what else to say. I'm sorry for coming again. I won't come back

--

 
 

Reader Comments
(3)

Buck writes:

It sounds like you had a really terrible time, and I'm really sorry to hear it. I just thought you might be warmed to hear a positive trans-related Magic Springs story that happened today. There's a comment limit, so I'll be brief. A woman followed my trans friend into the bathroom and harassed her until she ran out of the stall. After a heated exchange of words between me and the woman's family, one of them hauled off and punched me in the face. Magic Springs staff was super supportive of us, allowed my friend to change in a private bathroom, kicked those people out of the park, and treated us very kindly. They asked my friend what the best way to react to a situation like that was to avoid distressing a trans woman in the future, and they had our backs when the police came and threatened that if we pressed changes, the other party would counter charge. It was terrible, but we left the park feeling loved and hopeful. I hope the way we were treated becomes the norm.

amandaj1207 writes:

This is my dear friend Zane. I find this shocking and it breaks my heart he was treated this way.

Arkansasguy writes:

Adding insult to injury, Magic Springs has blocked Dane, as well as others who have commented on this when he posted it as a review on their Facebook page, effectively trying to sweep it under the carpet and hide it from public view and commentary. This place will never get a penny of my money and I hope word spreads of their poor handling of this situation. They supposedly have security cams everywhere almost, if that is the case, they should have pulled the footage and reviewed it with the accuser and with Dane (separately) to verify or debunk the accusation. In private, In An office, not just begun questioning him in public.

 
 
 

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2018