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A gay man was refused entry to a casino because ‘men do not carry purses’. Yes, really

Nick Duffy August 11, 2020
Jordan Kirk wearing his Louis Vuitton bag

Jordan Kirk and his husband had been trying to enter Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Facebook)

A gay man has spoken out after he was denied entry to a casino because he was carrying a “suspicious” purse.

Jordan Kirk and his husband had been visiting Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, Arkansas on Friday (August 7) when they were stopped by a security guard.

In a Facebook post, Kirk explained that the guard informed him he would not be allowed in while carrying his Louis Vuitton purse — despite women carrying purses and handbags being allowed to enter unchallenged.

He wrote: “Tonight while enjoying our first date night in quite a while, we visited Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort while following all COVID Safety Guidelines.

“I was told my ‘bag’ was too large, and I could put my wallet in my pocket, return my bag back to the car, and then I could come in.

“I informed the security guard that this is my man purse (murse) and I would not be putting it back in the car, to which I was told men do not carry purses, they carry bags.”

Jordan Kirk and his husband had been trying to enter Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, Arkansas
Jordan Kirk and his husband had been trying to enter Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, Arkansas

A supervisor and manager were called to the incident after Kirk and another female patron complained, but according to Kirk “the floor supervisor agreed men do not carry purses and I was not allowed on the floor unless I returned my bag to the car”.

Kirk adds: “[The supervisor] told me if I was a woman, I could carry a purse inside Oaklawn onto the Casino Floor. What is the difference between a man carrying a man purse (murse) and a woman carrying a purse? Is it any of your business? NOPE!”

Casino staff were worried Louis Vuitton purse was full of explosives.

The staff then raised concerns that the purse may be full of explosives. Kirk wrote: “EXPLOSIVES? You’re kidding me? Because I’m gay, I’m carrying a man purse… now I may carry explosives?

“Who is going to blow up their Louis Vuitton on purpose?”

The couple were eventually allowed into the casino after a search of the purse revealed no explosives. No women had their purse searched.

In response to the story, Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort has made clear it “did permit Mr Kirk to enter the facility with his bag where Mr Kirk stayed for almost an hour” — a fact that was not in contention — while failing to address the actual allegations about its handling of the incident.

The casino also issued an “apology” which fails to acknowledge wrongdoing.

It says: “In keeping with our policy and commitment to provide the highest level of safety precautions, our personnel reserve the right to inspect incoming bags, backpacks, satchels, etc. regardless of form or size. It is essential we reserve this right in light of Oaklawn being a large public venue.

“Oaklawn would like to apologise for any inconvenience this incident may have caused Mr Kirk.”

More: Arkansas, casino

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