Serena Freewomyn

Arizona Bar Bans Trans Customer

Filed By Serena Freewomyn | November 08, 2007 10:05 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: ENDA, human rights abuses, transgender

A bar in Scottsdale, Arizona is under investigation by the state Attorney General's office for banning a transgender customer from using the restroom. The customer, Michele deLaFreniere , filed the suit after she was banned from Anderson's Fifth Estate after attempting to use the women's washroom.

According to

DeLaFreniere said she was told by Anderson "I don't want your business or your kind here."

Anderson claimed that female patrons were "freaking out" and threatening to take their business elsewhere.

He also said he could not allow transsexuals to use the men's room because the transwomen were "at risk of getting beat up".

That's great that the bar owner was concerned for Ms. DeLaFreniere's safety and all (insert sarcastic voice here), but I'm not buying it, despite his claims that:

"I'm treating Michele like any other person that's been disruptive of my business," Anderson told the Tribune newspaper.

DeLaFreniere, who happens to be the chair of Scottsdale's human rights commission, told the paper that she is willing to drop her discrimination complaint if she gets a public apology from Anderson.

"If I get a public apology, I'll withdraw the complaint," she told the Tribune. "He can ban me all he wants."

Anderson has refused to comment on the offer.

First of all, how is going to the bathroom disruptive? Everyone pees, especially at a bar. Secondly, if filing a discrimination complaint is the disruption, then WTF is the point of having anti-discrimination laws if business owners can still refuse a patron service? It's not like Ms. DeLaFreniere was the source of a bar fight. If someone is busting up furniture and beating up the customers, then yeah . . . you should kick them out. But that's not the case here.

I think this case highlights just how disappointing it is that protections for the trans community have been removed from the ENDA. On NPR this morning I listened to Barney Frank delivering an impassioned speech in favor of the ENDA (go Barney!), but it's hard to get all excited about it knowing that a big part of our community is being left behind.

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