A little lipstick has caused a lot of backlash for one Corpus Christi bar.
On Thursday, Whiskey River, a country western bar in Corpus Christi, Texas, will face a protest on the sidewalk outside its door as activists protest what they consider a transphobic policy.
According to a May 9 Facebook post tagging the bar, potential patron Bobby Rodriguez was denied entry to the bar for wearing makeup.
“This homophobic security guard at the door told me I couldn’t come into Whiskey’s unless I wiped off my makeup because there is a rule which there are no signs stating that men need to dress like men and so on for women,” Rodriguez wrote. “I’ve never been so offended in my life WOW.”
The business’s owner, Angela Blohm, called the allegations “just a bunch of frivolous baloney” to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.
“Whiskey River has a standard dress code that states everyone must dress gender appropriate to the gender stated on their state-issued driver’s license,” Blohm said.
“The conversation that was held at the door cannot be verified.”
Now, local activists have taken the issue into their own hands.
Kathy Huff, a local transgender activist, told INTO that when she first heard about Rodriguez’s denied entry, she was “angry immediately.”
“My first reaction was ‘Oh hell no,’ basically,” Huff said in a phone interview. “Up until a year ago, that would’ve affected me if I had tried to go there,” Huff, who just got her gender legally changed last year, added.
Though Rodriguez, who was initially denied, is not trans, Huff jumped on the issue because of what a policy that relies on a gender marker on legal identification means for trans people.
According to Huff, who just went through the process of changing her legal gender, the attorney’s fees, doctor’s visits and court costs can total well over $1,000, not to mention plenty of time. A judge also has to sign off on the change and the judge doesn’t always grant it, even once a trans person has gone through all the requirements.
Federal law prohibits businesses from discriminating based on race, religion and national origin, but not sexual orientation. Texas does not provide additional protections to LGBTQ people, as some states do.
According to the Caller-Times, signs stating the “gender-appropriate” policy are not visible from outside the club.
Huff said that the policy is also a bad reflection of the city.
“I want people to know that this isn’t the way for people to act,” she said. “This isn’t what we want. We want our city to be welcoming and inclusive of everybody and that means every business, as well. We don’t want Corpus Christi to be seen as a place not to go if you’re LGBT or gender nonconforming.”
INTO contacted Rodriguez for comment and we will update if we hear back.
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