A transgender person who identifies as masculine was denied a haircut at a Long Beach barbershop after being told the establishment does not cut female hair and women are not allowed, according to his civil rights lawsuit.
Rose Trevis says he was with his domestic partner Laura Lozano when the incident occurred March 4 at Hawleywood’s Barber Shop, 2234 E. Fourth St., Long Beach. (There are also Hawleywood’s shops in Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach.)
The couple says they were told Hawleywood’s only provides services to customers with appointments, but when Trevis asked if any appointment times were open that day, a barber looked at him as if examining his appearance and said, “We don’t cut women’s hair.”
“Who says I am a woman?” Trevis says he said. (He is described in the lawsuit as having a “masculine gender expression.”)
“Like I said,” the barber is claimed to have replied, “we don’t cut women’s hair.”
After a second barber looked Trevis over and repeated they don’t serve women, according to the would-be customer, he accused the shop of gender discrimination. Trevis claims the second barber replied that the business has “the right to refuse services to anyone” and that the business “is an old school barber shop” and therefore does not service women.
Lozano, who is not transgender, is then said to have asked if her presence was the problem, and she claims to have been told by the second barber, “We don’t cut women’s hair and women are not even allowed in the shop.”
Trevis says he later examined Hawleywood’s website and found the shop advertises itself as a “men’s sanctuary,” pointing out, “One thing you won’t see at Hawleywood’s is a woman. You all know how distracting a woman can be and who wants a straight razor shave with a buxom blonde in the joint?”
At a news conference Tuesday, Trevis and Lozano’s lawyer, Gloria Allred, said businesses that exclude women, refuse to serve women and that confirm a discriminatory policy in its advertising are in violation of the law. Furthermore, a business that refuses to serve a customer based on gender identity or perceived gender identity also violates that customer’s or potential customer’s civil rights, Allred added.
That lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on the couple’s behalf alleging discrimination based on gender in violation of California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act. Unspecified damages are sought.
“We are seeking an injunction (a court order mandating that Hawleywood’s barber shop eliminate its policy and practice of illegally discriminating on the basis of gender or perceived gender and mandating that it stop refusing to provide accommodations or services for those reasons in their place of business),” the couple says in a statement.
The shop’s owner did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
Here is video from the press conference:
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.