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Author Topic: Oregon bar owner fined $400,000 for discriminating against transgender customers  (Read 6920 times)

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Offline Blythe

2) Evidence was presented about complaints he'd received about the group

This is valid; weren't some of those complaints about the state in which they were leaving the bathroom? I'm all for trans* folk like me getting access to the right bathrooms, but some of the complaints were about hygiene, right, among other things (from both stories I've read and from that document I read, if I'm recalling right)? I've seen people 86'd from places over things like that, and about being loud, etc. So why didn't Penner just ask them to leave based on their behavior alone, not the fact they made his business look like a "tranny bar" (thus singling them out just based on their trans* status)?

If he would have barred them due to a behavioral issue (which is within his rights), then that is a whole 'nother can of worms, because a business owner does have the right to bar anyone for inappropriate behavior. But that would have had exactly nothing to do with their gender orientation. It would have been a behavioral thing.

The way he asked them to leave made it clear he was asking them to leave based on their gender orientation. He could have just said, "There have been complaints about your behavior and bathroom hygiene and conduct, so I am asking that you do not return." And that would have been both legal and moral.

But singling them out as the reason his business was failing over being transgender was not moral nor legal of him.

Offline Kythia

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I would argue that it was more moral.

He wanted them gone because a transgender group was interfering with his business.  He could have done so in two ways:

1) Being honest with the "leader" about his intent and motivation
2) Making up some excuse - even if a justified one - to ban them in a fairly underhanded way

Would you prefer he'd made up some excuse or searched around for another reason to ban them?  Slipped round the discrimination laws?

Offline lilhobbit37

It's quite possible he thought he was being more polite than saying,

"You piss all over the seats and it's unacceptable so please go elsewhere."

But I totally understand what you are saying.

Offline Slywyn

I would argue that it was more moral.

He wanted them gone because a transgender group was interfering with his business.  He could have done so in two ways:

1) Being honest with the "leader" about his intent and motivation
2) Making up some excuse - even if a justified one - to ban them in a fairly underhanded way

Would you prefer he'd made up some excuse or searched around for another reason to ban them?  Slipped round the discrimination laws?

The fact remains that he asked them to leave for being trans*. Which is neither moral, nor right. Yes, if he had 'made up' a reason(If they were really being disruptive he wouldn't have had to do so), it would have been skirting the law. But the fact remains that he didn't, and he asked them to leave because they were trans*. Which is discrimination and breaking the law.

Offline Blythe

I would argue that it was more moral.

He wanted them gone because a transgender group was interfering with his business.  He could have done so in two ways:

1) Being honest with the "leader" about his intent and motivation
2) Making up some excuse - even if a justified one - to ban them in a fairly underhanded way

Would you prefer he'd made up some excuse or searched around for another reason to ban them?  Slipped round the discrimination laws?

I don't follow your logic. It is not moral to use a label regarding identity for a group and blame that label as the reason they are interfering with his business.

He does get kudos for at least being honest about why he didn't want them there. But I don't think being honest somehow makes his action justifiable.

Banning them based on behavior that would be agreed upon as unacceptable no matter who did it would not have been underhanded nor an excuse. It would have been a justified reason to bar individuals from his business in a legally acceptable way that would have had nothing to do with being transgender.

It's quite possible he thought he was being more polite than saying,

"You piss all over the seats and it's unacceptable so please go elsewhere."

But I totally understand what you are saying.

I'm willing to concede that he thought he was being polite. But again, his intent doesn't so much matter here as the way it was carried out. If he'd been forthright about whatever actual behavior (within the power of the T-girls to change, such as their decorum or their hygiene) was hurting the business (and not focusing on their transgender status), he could have had a very legal and moral reason to bar them entry.


But he didn't do that.


What I don't understand is that the P-club was portrayed as very LGBT friendly, and that acronym includes the T. Which he decided wasn't okay.

I don't think a business should be advertising as LGBT friendly if they want to bar the T part of LGBT. >.<
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 12:12:26 PM by Blythe »

Offline Kythia

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I'm not sure he advertised as that.  LGBT friendly has come from Slywyn, nowhere else that I can see.

My point is that the reason he wanted them gone isn't because of bathroom issues.  Sure, he could have claimed it was, but it wasn't.  What you seem to be saying is that if you have a group of transgender individuals affecting your business then do not in any circumstances be honest with them, just find some other reason to ban them. 

Offline lilhobbit37

I will agree with you completely on that point Blythe. IF he was advertising as lgbt friendly, and not T friendly, then there is a HUGE problem.

However, it seems that while he was lgbt friendly, it wasn't an advertised thing, he just chose to try to be kind to all individuals in his bar regardless of their identity or orientation.

Offline Slywyn

He is well known in the area for being a LGBT-friendly business owner. It's in one of the articles that I read. It was even used as part of his defense if I read it correctly.

My point is that if he wanted them gone for being trans* it is still discrimination no matter how he went about getting them banned. He just happened to ban them for being trans* in a way that got him in trouble with the law.

Quote
What you seem to be saying is that if you have a group of transgender individuals affecting your business then do not in any circumstances be honest with them, just find some other reason to ban them.

That is a ridiculous argument. And if you wanted someone gone for being trans*, almost no matter how you went about it, you could get hit for discrimination because that is what you are doing.

Yes, it would have actually been preferable if he had said something like "We don't want you to come back because you're destroying the bathrooms" or something similar because that is not discrimination. What he did was discrimination. This is not difficult to grasp.

Offline Blythe

I'm not sure he advertised as that.  LGBT friendly has come from Slywyn, nowhere else that I can see.

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2021731073_transgenderpenaltyxml.html

Penner made accomodations for gay patrons, even had a gay dance night:

Quote
Penner denied last year that he is biased. He said he had once hosted a weekly dance night for gays and that a gay pool team had practiced in the bar.

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2013/08/bureau_of_labor_and_industries_1.html

Quote
"We said at the hearing he was an idiot when he said that," said Jonathan Radmacher, Penner's lawyer. "But he has a track record of decades of being supportive of the LGBT community.

And there used to be escorts to take the T-girls out to their cars, which I'm assuming was something provided to other LGBT patrons. He was pretty clearly advertising himself as LGBT friendly. So yeah...there was a case made for Penner and his business being LGBT friendly.

Also, that court document you provided, Kythia. Page 11, number 4. Penner was displayed as LGBT friendly with his business as part of the case under "Findings of Fact: The Merits."

So yeah, he advertised LGBT events openly and was known for being LGBT friendly.

I will agree with you completely on that point Blythe. IF he was advertising as lgbt friendly, and not T friendly, then there is a HUGE problem.

However, it seems that while he was lgbt friendly, it wasn't an advertised thing, he just chose to try to be kind to all individuals in his bar regardless of their identity or orientation.

It does seem to be advertising. "Gay dance night" was an actual event he held, which I'm assuming the bar would have advertising to increase revenue on that night. That advertises to the G part, certainly.

So yes, LGBT friendly. The claimed to even hold "fame" nights in the court document for transgender people.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 12:27:10 PM by Blythe »

Offline Kythia

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He is well known in the area for being a LGBT-friendly business owner. It's in one of the articles that I read. It was even used as part of his defense if I read it correctly.

You don't.  His defence was rather laughable (that he wasn't banning them from the bar, simply asking them not to come on a Friday night any more) but it wasn't that.

Now.  Blythe is saying that if the reason he had banned them was because of toilet issues then that would be fine.  I agree with him up to a point.  The point where I leave, and what I'm getting at, is that the toilet issues were, apparently, not severe enough for a banning. 

He could have made them so, banned on that grounds, but that wasn't the issue he had with the group.

It seems from my reading of Blythe's comments that he's saying that the bar owner should have used the toilets reason to get a group he wanted gone, gone.

Blythe - you posted while I was typing.  The first two are LGB, the "T" has been inserted - your comment about him ignoring the T doesn't apply.  The final, Im not sure where you're going with.  His bouncers used to escort guests who felt unsafe to their cars therefore its LGBT friendly?  That seems a stretch.

Offline lilhobbit37

It also goes a long way in saying there is more going behind the scenes than we may be aware.

Someone who escorts patrons to and from their cars to keep them safe, is NOT someone who would randomly discriminate those same individuals.

I'm getting the idea there may be much more to this than meets the eye.

Offline Blythe

Now.  Blythe is saying that if the reason he had banned them was because of toilet issues then that would be fine.  I agree with him up to a point.  The point where I leave, and what I'm getting at, is that the toilet issues were, apparently, not severe enough for a banning. 

He could have made them so, banned on that grounds, but that wasn't the issue he had with the group.

It seems from my reading of Blythe's comments that he's saying that the bar owner should have used the toilets reason to get a group he wanted gone, gone.

Blythe - you posted while I was typing.  The first two are LGB, the "T" has been inserted - your comment about him ignoring the T doesn't apply.  The final, Im not sure where you're going with.  His bouncers used to escort guests who felt unsafe to their cars therefore its LGBT friendly?  That seems a stretch.

Gah, I was editing and then you posted. Sorry if my reply looks weird now. >.<

But he showed having LGBT events such as "gay dance night," "fame nights" for "gay, lesbian, and transgendered" persons according to that court document. How is that not advertising as LGBT friendly?

It also goes a long way in saying there is more going behind the scenes than we may be aware.

Someone who escorts patrons to and from their cars to keep them safe, is NOT someone who would randomly discriminate those same individuals.

I'm getting the idea there may be much more to this than meets the eye.

Exactly. I have nothing against Penner. In fact, I think if he found the ruling unfair, he should appeal, which is his right. But I think there's something we're not seeing here, because he was displaying his business as LGBT friendly and suddenly had problems with the very customers he was trying to attract.

Makes no sense to me.  :-\

Offline lilhobbit37

And for that very reason is why I question the whole case.

Because it is so obviously not adding up. And it makes me wonder what is being covered up and by whom and for what reason.

Offline Slywyn

I think there's something else going on too, but unfortunately for him he decided to focus on the trans* aspects of the individuals he chose to ban, rather than any other problems they might have been causing. If they really were being disruptive and causing giant messes in the bathroom he should have banned them for that, rather than ban them for being trans* as he did.

Unfortunately for us, all we're seeing is "He banned them for being trans*".

Offline Kythia

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And for that very reason is why I question the whole case.

Because it is so obviously not adding up. And it makes me wonder what is being covered up and by whom and for what reason.

I did notice - and this verges into conspiracy theory - that Penner won a case a few weeks before these charges were lodged against BOLI.  Then the commissioner of the department brought charges against him; which is specifically stated as not the usual way to proceed.
 
Penner said he thought that the two were related, I remain unconvinced.

Offline gaggedLouise

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There are lots of ways a person, or a group of people, can act obnoxiously or make others feel stared out, pushed to the sidelines or kind of uncomfortable without bumping into what would be legally offensive. Pointing at others - strangers in the same room - and cracking jokes about them, burping and making gestures, talking so loud that the rest are forced to listen to the conversation three tables away, or regularly bringing in people who are being a bit difficult socially while they (the hangarounds) are not ordering more than a beer or two over the whole evening. Any bar owner dreads that kind of thing.

We don't know enough about what went on for the plain reason that journalists refrain from giving any specific details in this kind of story (as pointed out by myself earlier in this thread). If it's a sensational murder you may get a lot more detail, but in this kind of thing it's very rare for news media to offer much detail even though they may have picked up a good deal. They don't want to risk getting pulled into new lawsuits or bad publicity, or they want to give a certain spin to the story - the Huff is a fairly liberal news source, but not  infallible.

Okay, I suspect the real reason Penner became disenchanted with the T-girl group could be that he considered they hijacked the place on friday nights. Took some of the best seats, acted up, cracked mean jokes at the expense of the other guests and really outstayed their welcome. I've seen that kind of thing happen on social occasions nd at clubs a couple times and it's almost impossible to counter if there isn't a backstage area where both sides agree to talk and find a solution, to make a deal out of sight of the others. If it's a couple acquaintances or guests whom the host doesn't really know personally, I mean privately, it's near impossible to solve the issue by saying "look, you shouldn't do this, do that, talk so loud" and so on - it will only trigger replies along the line "but I saw this other guest doing the same thing three weeks ago and they didn't get kicked out!"

Yeah, maybe the discomfort to the other guests had something to do with this group being trans. The bar man was honest enough, or non-shrewd enough, to imply some of this when he told the T-girls they would have to make their visits a bit more scarce (he may not have flatly banned them for good at first; I think that's a grey area in what we get to know). But the unease, or transphobia (again, a grey area: feeling uneasy or weary about somebody's attitude or the jokes they make in your presence doesn't mean one is transphobic) seems to have been on the side of some of his guests, not part of his own outlook. And it's likely that it was more centered on somebody's actions and attitudes - those of the T-girl group, of the people they brought along, or interactions between the transwomen and the other guests - than about their being TGs. If the idea is that he had a duty to keep running the bar and hold it open to them as a charity operation, even though what wnet on was seriously hurting his business, then I beg to differ.

Maybe the T-girls felt they had a right to push others to the sidelines because they had experienced being pushed aside and snubbed in the past. IMO that doesn't hold water, one is not entitled to make other people extras in your own show just because they are straight white men or whatever.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 03:34:20 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Kythia

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I think there's something else going on too, but unfortunately for him he decided to focus on the trans* aspects of the individuals he chose to ban, rather than any other problems they might have been causing.

Huh?  So what you're saying is he should have found some other reason to ban them, not them being trans?  Is that not the very argument you dismissed as ridiculous?

Offline Blythe

I did notice - and this verges into conspiracy theory - that Penner won a case a few weeks before these charges were lodged against BOLI.  Then the commissioner of the department brought charges against him; which is specifically stated as not the usual way to proceed.
 
Penner said he thought that the two were related, I remain unconvinced.

Weird....what was that case about? I'm kind of curious.  ???

(Also, much kudos to you for debating with me. And any apologies to you if I'm stepping on toes while we do so; it's been pretty enjoyable reading what you post and having a chance to talk about it. ^^)

Offline Slywyn

Huh?  So what you're saying is he should have found some other reason to ban them, not them being trans?  Is that not the very argument you dismissed as ridiculous?

He should not have banned them for being trans at all. IF there was another problem they were causing, he should have banned them for that. Because he did not and we have not seen anything to the contrary in a statement from him or by him, all we can conclude is that he said the equivalent of 'yo trannies, get out'. IF they had been causing a problem, he should have said "Yo T-Girls, you are being distruptive and making a giant mess of the bathroom, so don't come back".

One of those is discrimination. One is not. He used the one that is discrimination. That is where the problem lies.

Offline Kythia

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Weird....what was that case about? I'm kind of curious.  ???

(Also, much kudos to you for debating with me. And any apologies to you if I'm stepping on toes while we do so; it's been pretty enjoyable reading what you post and having a chance to talk about it. ^^)

Back taxes from a previous owner

And you're certainly not stepping on my toes.  I'm sat at work with nothing to do because someone who "urgently" needed to speak to me three hours ago still hasn't got back to me.  I have nothing else to do ;D

EDIT:  Wages, sorry, not taxes.

Offline Blythe

Back taxes from a previous owner

And you're certainly not stepping on my toes.  I'm sat at work with nothing to do because someone who "urgently" needed to speak to me three hours ago still hasn't got back to me.  I have nothing else to do ;D

EDIT:  Wages, sorry, not taxes.

Huh. Yeah....I do think it's a stretch for Penner to claim his ruling was somehow influenced by the events of that other case, which had nothing to do with the T-girl one. I just don't think he has any evidence beyond pointing a finger and saying the equivalent of "Well, Avakian has a grudge against me!" Er....I don't think it's a grudge if commissioner Avakian is just doing his actual job.

I did notice - and this verges into conspiracy theory - that Penner won a case a few weeks before these charges were lodged against BOLI.  Then the commissioner of the department brought charges against him; which is specifically stated as not the usual way to proceed.
 
Penner said he thought that the two were related, I remain unconvinced.

So....I think I agree with you. I'm not convinced those cases are related, either.

And you're certainly not stepping on my toes.  I'm sat at work with nothing to do because someone who "urgently" needed to speak to me three hours ago still hasn't got back to me.  I have nothing else to do ;D

3 hours wait for "urgently" needing to speak? Geez..... T_T I'd be dying of boredom in there. /end derail.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 12:59:26 PM by Blythe »

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Basically, 'making a mess of the bathrooms' is a complaint that has nothing to do with gender.  If he found out that a certain cis-gendered individual was making a mess of the bathrooms, then that person could be banned from the establishment as well (although it would be hoped that a quiet word with the individual would be enough to ensure proper manners.)

Note that I am not singling out people with penises here.  I've been in plenty of ladies rooms that have been visited by the dreaded 'hover plague' or the habit of putting toilet paper on the seats and then forgetting to dispose of it when 'business' was complete.  (And yes, there were times when there was no possibility that the offender was other than a bio-female.   :-X Raised in a barn, I tell you.)

Offline lilhobbit37

Or the feared monthy visitor needs.

I was a janitor and *shudder* women can be pigs. Dirty and disgusting pigs. *nods*

Offline Kythia

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Huh. Yeah....I do think it's a stretch for Penner to claim his ruling was somehow influenced by the events of that other case, which had nothing to do with the T-girl one. I just don't think he has any evidence beyond pointing a finger and saying the equivalent of "Well, Avakian has a grudge against me!" Er....I don't think it's a grudge if commissioner Avakian is just doing his actual job.

So....I think I agree with you. I'm not convinced those cases are related, either.

3 hours wait for "urgently" needing to speak? Geez..... T_T I'd be dying of boredom in there. /end derail.

Yeah, and its not like it was Avakian who would have got that money.  Doubt he gives a toss whether he won or lost.

I did some filing and am now making a giant paperclip chain.

Offline Blythe

Basically, 'making a mess of the bathrooms' is a complaint that has nothing to do with gender.  If he found out that a certain cis-gendered individual was making a mess of the bathrooms, then that person could be banned from the establishment as well (although it would be hoped that a quiet word with the individual would be enough to ensure proper manners.)

Note that I am not singling out people with penises here.  I've been in plenty of ladies rooms that have been visited by the dreaded 'hover plague' or the habit of putting toilet paper on the seats and then forgetting to dispose of it when 'business' was complete.  (And yes, there were times when there was no possibility that the offender was other than a bio-female.   :-X Raised in a barn, I tell you.)

The hover plague is an epidemic that appears to have no cure. O_o

Much sadness. T_T

Or the feared monthy visitor needs.

I was a janitor and *shudder* women can be pigs. Dirty and disgusting pigs. *nods*

*shudders along with her*

I used to clean both restrooms and the unisex one when I worked at a fast food place. I can safely announce that a little bit of my love of humanity died after realizing what state of the bathrooms were in after 10 p.m. I think we can all agree that no matter whichever group one is a part of, if the bathroom looks like a hurricane hit it after a person used it, then that is a problem which has nothing to do with what group one falls into....just has to do with basic hygiene.

There were walls hit by the splatter where I used to work....the horror....what was seen cannot be unseen.... *shudders*

Yeah, and its not like it was Avakian who would have got that money.  Doubt he gives a toss whether he won or lost.

I did some filing and am now making a giant paperclip chain.

*nod* Pretty much my thoughts exactly about Avakian, so Penner's claim there about it affecting the T-girl place is really invalid. We definitely agree on this.

Intensely off topic but relates to paperclip chains


Do you have time to make some paperclip staircase coverings?  ;D


*cough* Well....I derailed quickly.... >.<  Sorry about that, everyone.

*carefully flees the thread*
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 01:21:01 PM by Blythe »