Trans soldier settles lawsuit against barber who denied haircut for ‘religious’ reasons
An army sergeant who sued a barbers which refused to serve them because they are trans has settled in their lawsuit.
The trans sergeant from California Kendall Oliver took legal action against the barbershop after the owner refused to give them a haircut.
The owner said the refusal was due to his religious beliefs, before asking Oliver to leave.
Oliver has now settled in the lawsuit. The settlement amount has not been disclosed.
But as part of the settlement, the barbers is now required to serve anyone who walks through their doors, and to stop discriminating based on religious belief.
The barber shop owner Richard Hernandez, admitted he had broken the law by refusing to serve Oliver.
The US army sergeant – who uses the gender-neutral pronoun “they” – said The Barbershop in Rancho Cucamonga refused to give them a haircut last March, 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 Hernandez, did not dispute the central facts of Oliver’s account.
However, he previously 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.
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“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.”