I think the thing that gets me the most is the only difference between this bar owner and their previous bar's owner was the words "once a month." Would they have rather that he falsely pretended he wanted them in his bar only once a month, rather than try to be honest and plain with them, possibly feeling he OWED them an explanation for this after their being loyal customers for four years?
Think about it from his point of view. For four years he works hard to make sure that all people of all identies feel comfortable in his bar. He sees this group come in every Friday. Sometimes just a few of them, sometimes a large group (as it said they ranged from 8-40 on a given night). Maybe when just 8 of them were there, it wasn't so bad, but 40 makes the bar seem like it's having a "theme night" (sorry if this sounds offensive but I don't know a better term to explain what I mean). Around here, there are straight clubs that have one night a week that is "gay night" to cater to the lgbt crowd. The rest of the week, they are a straight establishment, and prefer to remain as such. And yes, would ask a large lgbt crowd to come back on what they call "their gay fetish night" (because apparently being gay is a fetish).
So when this owner notices that other customers are starting to take it as such and they are finding other establishments for their Friday night, he needs to decide what to do. His business is losing customers. So he asks around, and the response is that his bar has become a tranny bar and they would prefer to take their business elsewhere because it made them uncomfortable for x, y, and z reasons.
Now, to prove to the court that his business was in fact declining, would it be fair for him to attempt to track down some of these ex-customers, who may or may not still be friendly towards him after leaving his business, so that they can explain why they left?
Numbers don't show reasons, people do. But to ask this man to try and track down all or any of the customers who changed establishments, especially if he had an incompetent lawyer, seems to be asking an awful lot.
It isn't the trans* groups fault. Possibly. Again, without hearing testimony from the customers who left, it is hard to say if they were behaving in a way that wouldn't be acceptable regardless of their gender identity. But assuming it wasn't anything they did, because simply being trans* isn't offensive, and isn't a behavior nevermind an offensive one, it wasn't their fault.
However, neither is it the owners fault. He is watching his business slip through his fingers, and the only reason people are giving is that this is now a tranny bar. Not that he needs to renovate this, or change that. The reason he is being told that customers are leaving is that this establishment is no longer just a bar, but a bar that caters specifically to a certain crowd, and therefore those that don't fit into that category are finding somewhere else to drink.
Is it fair to the group? No. Is it fair to the bar owner? No. This is a lose-lose situation for the bar owner. He has to make a decision on whether this loyal group of customers is enough to keep his business running, and the answer he comes up with is no, they aren't. If he continues to cater to them, his business will decline to the point where he is forced to close.
So instead he feels forced to ask them to leave. Keep in mind, this is after 4 years of seeing them every Friday, of making sure they are happy there (because obviously if they have been coming for 4 years, they LIKED going there), and of providing them a safe place to be themselves.
But he feels like there is no longer an option, and he asks them to find somewhere else to go, because it is simply hurting his establishment too much to continue to allow them there.
Again, it is NOT fair to the group. However, I don't feel it is fair to the bar owner either. If he had a problem with them being trans* he wouldn't have spent 4 years providing them services.
As someone who has worked out in the world, I can say that 4 years of seeing a customer weekly, even just as a cashier, you get to know them. He could probably tell you what some of them ordered on a regular basis. They may or may not have had a "spot" that was theirs, that they always tended to gravitate towards. He was used to seeing them every Friday. I can't imagine that it was an easy thing for him to come to the conclusion that he needed to ask them to leave.
He did NOT do it out of malice, or hate, or anger. He did NOT do it to be hurtful. He didn't use slurs or derogatory accusations. He did NOT allow them to have violence done against them. He did not resort to one of many tactics that would have hurt them emotionally or physically. Instead he politely explained his situation and why he was doing what he was.
Did it hurt them? Of course it did. They are human beings and were told they were no longer welcomed in the place they have visited every week for 4 years. They were hurt. They were offended. And then they sued him.
And claimed trauma? I'm sorry, but for four years this man gave them a safe enjoyable place. How is that traumatic? Is it hurtful that he has asked them to no longer return? Yes, it is. But hurt is a human emotion that everyone feels at one time or another. It is a HEALABLE pain. If this group is that traumatized over one simple request, I do believe that it comes from a lifetime of judgement, not this one man.
So to make him responsible for all that pain added together seems unfair. For four years he welcomed them. That is not trauma. For four years he served them, kept his bar safe for them, gave them an enjoyable experience. That is not trauma.
For five minutes, he asked them not to return. THAT is trauma. But is that worth 400,000? One request after 4 years of fair and just treatment?
I don't think so.