Ban a female face tattooed PNG nightclub in Brisbane: The Project

A young woman who was refused entry to a nightclub because of her cultural face tattoos says having her ink on is her “human right”.

Moale James, 23, who has Papua New Guinean heritage, was celebrating his partner’s birthday by heading to the Brisbane nightclub in Fortitude Valley on Sunday morning.

But she soon found herself turned away from popular Latin American club Hey Chica! after security guards challenged his traditional tattoos.

Ms James then took to Facebook to speak out against the ‘racist and discriminatory’ treatment she received.

Now, speaking to The Project, she explained why her brands are so important to her.

“There are so many diverse groups of people here that I live with and a very large Pacific Islander population in Queensland, and a lot of us want to practice culture, including marking our skin.

“We need to review policies and legislation that do not reflect our community. We shouldn’t have to assimilate, it’s our culture and we should be allowed to practice it freely.

“It’s a human right to do this, so the laws we live in should also reflect that, and they should reflect the community.”

Ms James had gotten the traditional tattoo (pictured) to celebrate her Papua New Guinean heritage

Speaking to The Project (hosts Waleed Aly and Sarah Harris pictured), the clubber explained why her brands are so important to her

Speaking to The Project (hosts Waleed Aly and Sarah Harris pictured), the clubber explained why her brands are so important to her

Ms James says she “wants to make some noise” for people who want to represent their cultural heritage.

“We crossed the road to another place and the security guard there, all my friends said, are you going to let her in? Look at her license, look at her.

“She looked at me and said, ‘Why don’t I let you in?

“And so we went and we spent the rest of the night in this place.

“Now we’re trying to make noise for anyone who might also proudly wear the marks of their ancestry, change legislation and liquor laws that might try to stop us from practicing our culture.”

Moale James (pictured), 23, was refused entry to Hey Chica!  for her traditional facial tattoos, that she must honor her Papua New Guinean heritage

Moale James (pictured), 23, was refused entry to Hey Chica! for her traditional facial tattoos, that she must honor her Papua New Guinean heritage

Mrs. James says she

Ms James says she ‘wants to make some noise’ for people who want to represent their cultural heritage

On the Hey Chica! website, its outline strict dress rules.

‘Dress to impress, casual style is best, closed toe shoes are a must. No tattoos on the face, neck or hands. Entrance is at the discretion of the door host or management, dress code may vary for special events. For more information on dress regulations, please contact us before your visit,” it reads.

Ms James took a stand saying she will speak with her local member about the ‘rule’ that facial tattoos are gang affiliated, and how this needs to be changed to reflect the diversity of the community.

She also said she was expecting a written apology from the venue.

In a private message to Ms James, which she shared on Facebook, the club apologized for the “unintended distress” it caused, but stood by their policy.

‘Thank you for sharing your experience and understanding that the staff at Hey Chica! were following procedure,” the message read.

Ms James took to Facebook calling the rule 'racist' and 'discriminatory' and is now set to meet her local MP to try to change things.

Ms James took to Facebook calling the rule ‘racist’ and ‘discriminatory’ and is now set to meet her local MP to try to change things.

In a private message to Ms James, which she shared on Facebook, the club apologized for the

In a private message to Ms James, which she shared on Facebook, the club apologized for the “unintended distress” it caused, but stood by their policy.

“While we appreciate that our rule has caused you unintended distress, we operate a general policy that prohibits head and face tattoos at Hey Chica! as well as other entry requirements. While we understand this is a strict policy, we will continue to enforce it under the Liquor Act.

Under Queensland liquor laws, venues face penalties if they fail to take reasonable steps to deny people wearing items associated with criminal organizations, including motorcycle gangs.

Talk to ABCMs James said the tattoos are marks passed down from generation to generation and originated from her great-grandmother dating back to the founding of her village.

She went on to say that the village chief had asked his daughters to wear the marks and their stories on their skin, a request that has resonated through the generations.

“They have great spiritual and ancestral value to me and my community,” she said.

Ms James said she always planned to get the face marks as they held

Ms James said she always planned to get the facemarks as they hold ‘great spiritual and ancestral value’

Hello Chica!  say on its website that people with face, neck or hand tattoos will be refused entry

Hello Chica! say on its website that people with face, neck or hand tattoos will be refused entry

After being turned away from the club, Ms James said she went to members of her community who are lawyers and found the club could refuse entry and service to people – but as long as it wasn’t not discriminatory.

“The fact that I was lumped into a group of people who are thugs, gang members, dangerous criminals, that’s not my story,” Ms James said.

‘I came back and said, ‘it’s cultural and what are you going to do about it?’ And no answer.

Ms James says she is asking people to hear her story and change their views on face tattoos.

She also hopes the venue revises its policy, but at the very least educates those who set the rules to change the way they think about the people who wear their brands with pride.

Hello Chica! has been contacted for comment.

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