Tunica, MS

     The allure of a casino always gives me a bit of an adrenaline rush. The ambient sounds sing like the call of the Sirens. Combine that with dressing up, and the excitement level soars. My first experience, several years ago on President Casino, was not particularly rewarding. It was Halloween, so I thought I wouldn't have any problems getting on. Wrong! I was singled out and taken to a room for what felt like interrogation--probably an illegal act on their part, since crossdressing is legal in St. Louis, but they had the upper hand. They then copied my I.D. and let me board, claiming someone who is banned from the boat may be trying to sneak on in disguise. Excuses, excuses.

     That was then, and now Presidents Casinothe tide has turned. Now they welcome me aboard President Casino. I have gone by myself, but am usually with a friend or my brother. The dealers, security, and people who make change are all friendly. I usually wear something that makes my presence known, and if any of the employees thought I was a GG, I am sure that thought is now long gone. Sharon DeWitt at Presidents CasinoThe attitude of the rest of the people is neutral to positive. I get a few questioning looks-- most are uninterested or slightly amused--a few positive comments or compliments, and once in awhile a somewhat negative look.

     Harrah's Casino in Earth city has a slightly different atmosphere. The mood of the employees is just the same; very friendly. Once in awhile an employee is caught off guard, and surprised when he or she catches on.Sharon DeWitt West Port

     Best instance was at a roulette table. The employee wasn't going to let me place a bet, because she thought I had used my brother's card when buying chips.DeWitt and Friends She said he would have to place the bets. When I told her the card was mine, she said she had never met a woman with that first name. She let me place the bets, but was a little puzzled. After a couple bets, I thought I should explain, so I showed her my dual-identity card. Upon seeing it, she seemed even more puzzled; I guess she wasn't familiar with the concept of being transgendered. It was a flattering mistake, but doesn't happen often.

     The players at Harrah's are a bit less accepting than at President Casino. There are more negative looks, and I don't recall any compliments. On the up side, one elderly man came up to me and introduced himself as a crossdresser that had just moved here from out of town. He even showed me some photos of himself dressed in a cheerleader outfit, and they were pretty good, especially considering he was at least 75.

     With the general acceptance I have received at the casinos in St. Louis, I was very curious how I would be received in Tunica. My trip consisted of one night in Tunica at the Grand Casino, then a week-plus in New Orleans with family, then another night in Tunica at Sam's Town. I was able to get out a couple nights in New Orleans, but that is another story, so back to Tunica.

     The Grand Casino has a small hotel attached, but no direct entrance from the hotel to the casino. Tunica I had to go outside and walk about a block, About the same distance as if I were walking from the parking lot. The Grand has a couple other hotels, a good half a mile away. (Warning: When making reservations, they call this "across the street.") A shuttle is provided to get from those hotels to the casino.

     I already had my points card. They are not necessary in Mississippi, as they are in Missouri, but the Grand will comp your meals if you have enough playing time on the card and if you ask about it. I picked an outfit that was not too bold and headed to the casino.Sharon DeWitt TunicaKeep in mind that the average female attire at a casino is t-shirt or sweatshirt, pants, shorts or jeans, and tennis shoes. If that sounds a bit like the average male attire, then I think you have the picture.

     Several players looked up as I walked in, and a few people even sidestepped me--nowhere near the reactions I get in St. Louis. The help was friendly enough, though. One gal, delivering drinks to nearby players, asked if I would like anything. When I turned to reply, she took a small step back, but was pleasant, even friendly when she returned with my drink. Security followed me for a while, but gave up watching me after they saw I was more interested in the slot machine than looking around.

     I played for several hours and moved around the casino with no direct negative comment, but some individuals did avoid me and even left their machine if I sat down by them. I also noticed, through out the night, several couples would stop about 20 feet away and whisper to each other. A few people were friendly and asked if I was winning. Well, I'm sure some of them will have something to talk about for the next couple of months.

Sharon DeWitt at Sams Casino     I wanted to take some pictures in the casino, but none seemed to permit cameras. I did get some photos at the entrance of Sam's Town Casino, because they had a photo op setup, advertising an upcoming boxing match. I wore a more conservative hairpiece with gray in it, to fit in with the average age of the customers, but the dress was a little flashier. Well, no one has ever accused me of dressing dowdy!TunicaThe people at Sam's Town were even more standoffish than at the Grand. I was beginning to wonder if I had forgotten to put on my wig or maybe my skirt was tucked up in my panties.

     Sam's Town has a very nice motel directly attached to the casino. The room I had was very spacious. If you get a card, you receive a discount on the buffet, but don't bother using the card to get comp time for meals because many of the machines do not add to comp time.

     My brother met me in Tunica on my second visit,which made it more enjoyable than being alone as at the Grand. I observed many insular people in Tunica apparently unable to comprehend alternate lifestyles, however, none appeared to be a threat. The employees were friendly enough, but as at the Grand, security kept a close eye on me.

     I keep wondering, if I were to go back, would they be more openSamstown Sharon DeWitt, seeing me a second time? The first time at the President wasn't a picnic. This is the twenty-first century, and some of the people visiting Tunica are still living in the nineteenth. Exposure probably will bring them around. It might be easier to get into the ring with Lewis. Maybe it is too late for most of them. If I had been with a group of friends, I'm sure it would have been more fun, but as far as going solo, I think I will stay with the big cities like St. Louis and New Orleans. There is plenty of work still to be done here.






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