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Controversey Turns Foe Into Ally

Jim Burroway

May 10th, 2008

For 25 years, Scottsdale, Arizona’s Anderson’s Fifth Estate was an ordinary rock and new wave dance club whose popularity was waning. That popularity took a dive in 2006 when club owner Tom Anderson asked a transgender woman, Michele de LaFreniere, to leave because of complaints from other patrons.

That incident brought on a year of controversy as Scottsdale residents grappled with a reputation for hostility to the LGBT community. Following that incident, another gay couple was assaulted outside a Scottsdale restaurant and Mayor Mary Manross refused to observe GLBT month in June

But now, things couldn’t be more different. Anderson got to personally know a lit of gay and transgender residents during discussions with the LGBT community, and in the process Anderson underwent a huge transformation. Today Anderson’s Fifth Estate is now called Forbidden, and it is one of metro Phoenix’s hottest gay clubs. And Anderson and his wife are now staunch LGBT allies and good friends of Michele de LaFreniere.

Sometimes all it takes is some conversation and getting to know real people.

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