WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- Changing from man to woman brings on another change: member to outcast. The Hanover Seaside Club is tight-lipped over allegations it would not renew a transgendered woman's membership.
"It was sad when they did it, and I'm sad that it's gone through like this, and I just wish that they would do the right thing and let me have my membership back," said Rachael Gieschen by phone as she vacationed in Yellowstone Park. Her quick comments reiterate why her attorney Michael Silverman is fighting to get her membership to the Hanover Seaside Club back.
"One of the things that struck me about Rachael's story is when she told me about her feelings for this club, and what she told me was, 'I love this club. I've been a member my whole life. It's been in my family. My children are still members,'" Silverman said.
Gieschen, who now lives in Raleigh, contacted Silverrman a year ago. He said Hanover Seaside Club sent Gieschen a letter saying members were uneasy about her transformation to a woman, particularly when it came to the restrooms.
"The clubs position has been that Rachael makes other people feel uncomfortable, and as a result don't want people to be there," Silverman said. "And they've been firm about their postion. So so far, they've been unwilling to reconsider."
According to Silverman, Gieschen's family helped found the private Wrightsville beach club on South Lumina Avenue. A friend from Greensboro, who's also been recognized by the Human Rights Coalition for his advocacy for the transgendered community says the situations been difficult on Gieschen.
"This really is not right to exclude her from this organization when her family has been so actively involved for so many years," David Parker said.
When we went to go find answers about the alleged revocation of Gieschen's membership, we were directed to the club's president, who over the phone said, "The club is not going to make any comment." Members and board members we ran in to, also refused to make a statement.
Gieschen and her lawyer are hoping they can avoid a lawsuit by coming to an agreement with the club. We were promised a phone call from the Hanover Seaside Club's attorney. Instead, the club's president called to say no comment.