02 February 2013

A Thorn In The Side Of The Rose City T-Girls

One thing any trans person can tell you is that there are some things that even the most trans-friendly communities and the strongest anti-discrimination laws can't prevent.

They include, among other things, plain-and-simple bigotry.  Such is the case in Portland, Oregon.  

The Beaver State passed its Equality Act, designed to protect the rights of LGBT people, in 2007.  This week, the State's Labor Commissioner, Brad Avakian, filed the first complaint submitted under the law.

The complaint alleges that Chris Penner, the owner of the Twilight Room Annex (formerly known as the P Club), asked the Rose City T-Girls, a group of transgender patrons, to stop patronizing his establishment.  According to them, he said he didn't want his place to be known as a "tranny bar."

Penner described himself as "shocked and baffled", saying that he's not "against gay or transgender people" and has LGBT employees.  He also says his bar has even hosted same-sex weddings and Pride events.

However, he claimed that that the Rose City T-Girls were driving patrons away on Friday nights, when the T-Girls were congregating there, because they left the stall doors open and toilet seats up in the women's rest rooms.

Investigators reported that they could find no evidence that the T-Girls were "disrupting business", as he claimed, and concluded that he did not talk to them about their behavior before barring them.

A hearing is set for 19 March.

(I couldn't help but to notice this irony: The bar owner shares the same last name with an award-winning sportswriter who came out as trans, lived and worked as female, then quietly returned to living as male and committed suicide.)

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