Pride Center of Vermont Responds to Bar Owner's Announcement

BURLINGTON, Vt. - Thursday, the Pride Center of Vermont responded to a bar owner's big announcement.

In a Facebook post Wednesday, Craig McGaughan, owner of Mister Sister, said he would be changing the bar's name.

The name struck a negative chord within the LGBT community, specifically transgender women.

Susan Hartman, the Pride Center's new executive director explains.

"In this situation, we had a phrase that has been used as a slur for a big part of our community. And while some individuals felt like the phrase was an innocent, funny little phrase, many people have been harmed deeply by it, and that was a message we needed to hear," said Hartman.

While the bar owner announced he would change the name this week, it's been an ongoing discussion those at the Pride Center of Vermont have been having for months.

McGaughan said the reason he'd changed his mind was a letter from a trans woman.

His Facebook post says the letter explained the problem was "much bigger than myself or the name of the bar."

He also said he wanted to work with the Pride Center to "create a solution to heal the wounds that have been caused and my hope is that we can figure out how to move forward. Together. "

Thursday night, the Pride Center's executive board took up the topic in an executive session after its regularly scheduled meeting.

Board treasurer Paul Sisson says the center is willing to meet with the owner in person to discuss next steps.

"We're very pleased that he has decided to change the name. We are very interested in helping the community heal from this entire episode," said Sisson.

He says the decision to work together was to stop a hateful rhetoric from continuing online.

"Goodness gracious, we've got everybody weighing in on both sides, and there's a lot of hate in that speech and discussion that's going on there and we want to see it end," said Sisson.

Currently, the bar's Facebook page has kept the name, but has changed its profile picture to "Working Title LGBTQIA Bar."

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