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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Transsexual gets into scrape in Butte bar
By Thad Kelling
The Montana Standard

BUTTE (LEE)—Wearing women’s clothes and a brunette wig, transsexual Kyle “Tawnie” Riekena used the women’s bathroom like she usually does Monday night at the Party Palace, 1 W. Park.

Only this time, the event led to an altercation that left Riekena, 43, with a sprained neck, bruises on her head and without her wig and purse. Riekena moved to Butte two months ago from Missoula and is in the midst of a sex change.

She believes prejudice fueled the altercation, and she continues to defend her right to use the women’s bathroom.“It’s not like I’m in there for a tourist effect,” Riekena said Tuesday, still shaken. “If I want to see female body parts, all I have to do is take my own damn shirt off. I have them myself.”

Riekena has been taking testosterone inhibitors and estrogen supplements for a year and a half, and she has developed natural breasts, a slim waist and other female body traits.Party Palace owner Ted Deshner disputes parts of Riekena’s story, but they agree on a few points.

Riekena entered the bar with a male friend Monday night. They had a drink. Riekena made a request to sing a karaoke song, “Killing Me Softly” by Roberta Flack. Then she went to the bathroom.After Riekena entered the bathroom, she allegedly startled a female who promptly told Deshner a man was in the women’s bathroom, Deshner said.

Deshner then used a microphone to tell all men to stay out of the women’s room.“If you have a penis, you should not go into the women’s bathroom,” Deshner said Tuesday. “I don’t care if you have a doctor’s excuse.”Riekena always carries notes from her doctor and counselor. They explain her transsexual condition and give her the right to use the women’s bathroom, she said.

After Deshner made his announcement, Riekena and Deshner exchanged words. The next thing Riekena knew, numerous people pushed her out the door and onto the sidewalk. Then they hit and kicked her, she said.“Imagine being pushed out a door and to your car by a tidal wave of human beings,” Riekena said.

She quickly got into her friend’s car, and he drove her home. There, she took a bath, collected her thoughts and called numerous people - including her counselor and parents. After sunrise, she went to the hospital.

Deshner said he had no knowledge of a physical altercation because he did not go outside; he only knew that someone took Riekena’s wig. Deshner also said his actions were not motivated by prejudice.

“I don’t want to chase anybody out,” Deshner said. “I want to make money.”

Police were still investigating the case Tuesday, and Butte prosecutors could not say what charges might be sought. But Butte Sheriff John Walsh offered a warning.“Be careful. Don’t go to places that can be problematic for you. That goes for anybody,” Walsh said.

Meanwhile, Riekena plans to continue living in Butte, where she is seeking work. Only a few people in Butte have been rude; most people accept her lifestyle, she said“I’m treated great. I’m told I look good. I’m compared to Victoria’s Secret models a lot,” Riekena said.

Also unphased are her plans to complete her sex change, which is costing her thousands of dollars. Since she was in high school, she has cross-dressed, and she wants to become the person she has always felt like inside. “It will happen short of death,” Riekena said.

Reporter Thad Kelling may be reached at 496-5511 or


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8:38 pm  
Blogger rachel said...

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1:42 pm  

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