News

Tranny-Gate

Talk about The Crying Game! For the past month, Scottsdale club owner Tom Anderson of Anderson's Fifth Estate and local "diversity activist" Michele De Lafreniere have been engaged in an epic donnybrook of penile proportions. Seems De Lafreniere has been kickin' up a shit storm after being tossed out of Anderson's on Saturday, November 25. De Lafreniere, who claims to be a transsexual woman, says she and five other transsexual buds were 86'd permanently that night.

"He [Anderson] came up to me and my friends and said, 'We don't want your kind here anymore,'" screeched De Lafreniere to this woodpecker. "He's got a lot of apologizing to do."

The catty clubbinista insists she's a longtime Anderson's devotee, and has been hitting the nightspot every weekend for five years, even before assuming a female identity. Since Anderson's turned her out, she's been on the warpath picketing across the street from the club on Saturday nights; sending e-mails to promoters; calling up local station Mix 96.9 to demand it stop hosting events at Anderson's; e-mailing Clear Channel (which owns Mix 96.9); petitioning the local ACLU in hopes it'll pick up her much-threatened "class action lawsuit"; and tweeting to any local media outlet that'll listen, including this malevolent magpie.

Yet Anderson coos a different tune, one not unlike Aerosmith's "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" or Ray Davies' "Lola."

"I never said 'I don't want your kind in here,'" Anderson assured this avian. "I'm tired of being made out to be some Aryan Brotherhood bigot. I have no problem with different ways of life at all."

So if Anderson ain't no Mr. Homophobic, why tell trannies to hit the bricks? According to Anderson, De Lafreniere and her faux female friends were constantly using the chicks' loo, and not just for potty. They were also hanging at the sinks as female patrons applied eyeliner, etc. Anderson said he was so overwhelmed with complaints from female customers that he had no choice but to ban the brokeback bitches.

"I'm protecting the security and the rights of the women who come into my club," squawked Anderson. "These are not small, feminine 'women.' They look like men in dresses, with beard stubble and stuff like that."

Truly, De Lafreniere's a real bruiser, standing 6'2" and weighing more than 200 pounds. Still, she says she and her "transsexual" friends are as femme as Cameron Diaz, and as such, have a right to use the gals' bog. Here's the prob: De Lafreniere may not be transsexual, as far as this canary can determine without eyeballing the goods. Same for her clubgoing cohorts. They're more likely transgenders — people who feel like one gender, but are trapped in the body of another, so they dress and act like their "inner genders." Transsexuals are people who've had sexual reassignment surgery to physically change their sex organs.

See, this crafty cardinal discovered De Lafreniere'd popped up in the local media before, in a June 12, 2005, East Valley Tribune story titled "Diversity activist switches genders." De Lafreniere was going by the name Michele Culver then.

The Trib revealed De Lafreniere was born Kenneth Culver. The guy was married for 20 years, has two teenage children, and used to own a Scottsdale shop called the Bike Emporium.

Asked by this inquiring egret if she or any of her club buddies still has a tallywacker, De Lafreniere hissed, "It doesn't matter. It says on my driver's license I'm female."

But De Lafreniere admitted to the Trib in 2005 that she hadn't had sex-change surgery, that she was "saving money" for the procedure, which costs from $7,000 to $24,000.

"I know people who know these people," Anderson asserted, referring to De Lafreniere and her posse. "They have their male parts. Hell, if Michele's penis is fat and 13 inches, I'll buy it from her! If she's not using it, I will."

By the way, this filthy finch did ask to see De Lafreniere's naughty bits, but she refused. So the mystery endures.

Hold on to your headfeathers, chickadees, it gets nuttier.

Before Ken Culver started taking female hormones and doing his impersonation of Wesley Snipes in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, he was elected to Scottsdale's Human Relations Commission. Culver changed genders and names in '05, but as Michele De Lafreniere, still serves on the Commission as Chairwoman, er, Chair-man — oh, forget it.

Indeed, she told The Bird she's working on a petition for a bill that'd outlaw discrimination against transgenders and transsexuals in any Scottsdale club. Her tiff with Anderson's Fifth Estate provides the perfect springboard.

"She's trying to be the Rosa Parks of the transsexual world," Anderson told this talon-bearer.

Thing about it is, Rosa Parks just wanted to sit down. But De Lafreniere, she can likely still do her business standing up.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons