Trans soldier to sue barber who denied haircut for ‘religious’ reasons
An army sergeant who identifies as a trans has described the moment they were refused service at a barbershop by the owner.
A trans man from California says they plan to take legal action against a barbershop after the owner refused to give them a haircut.
due to his religious beliefs, before asking Oliver to leave.
The US army sergeant – who uses the gender-neutral pronoun “they” – said The Barbershop in Rancho Cucamonga refused to give them a haircut this week, saying the shop doesn’t offer cuts to “women”.
Oliver said the rejection was an insult to LGBT people, with legal experts warning that the denial is a clear violation of California anti-discrimination laws.
“It did hurt my feelings, and I don’t want anyone else to experience that,” said Oliver.
“There is a separation of church and state. And if you have a public business, then everyone in the public should be entitled to access those services.”
The owner of the barbershop, Richard Hernandez, did not dispute the central facts of Oliver’s account.
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However, he claimed that he could not be accused of discrimination because Oliver did not make it clear to him that they identify as transgender.
“We’re definitely not targeting the LGBT movement,” said Hernandez – who in an interview with The Guardian repeatedly referred to Oliver as a “woman”, using the “she” pronoun.
“We simply don’t cut women’s hair. It’s a traditional men’s barbershop.”
Attempting to explain his reasoning, Hernandez said he is a member of the Church of God and said the Bible stipulates that women should have long hair.
“To cut a woman’s hair would be a violation,” he said, adding, “God teaches a very clear distinction between the genders.”
Oliver added that, despite increased recognition in the US, the fight for justice for LGBT people is not over, which is why they want to pursue some kind of lawsuit.
“If I have the opportunity to keep things advancing, I would like to try.”