Transgender Group Banned from Portland Bar, Owner Must Pay $400,000 Fine for Sexual Orientation Discrimination (VIDEO)
By Maxine Wally | Aug 30, 2013 01:57 PM EDT
A bar in Portland must fork over a $400,000 fine for reportedly turning away a group of transgender customers.
State officials claimed that owner of The P Club Christopher Penner told a group of transgender patrons that they were not allowed to come back to his bar.
Investigators on the case ruled Penner violated Oregon law barring discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation or gender identity when he told a customer named Cassandra and her party "not to come back on Friday nights", local news service KATU reported.
Cassandra and company comprise a group known to folks around town as the "T-Girls," which includes a handful of transgender people. According to a statement released by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, Penner claimed that the bar was losing money due to T-Girl attendance-people were under the impression that The P Club was a "gay bar" or a "tranny bar," and weren't hanging out there as a result.
But for Deputy Labor Commissioner Christie Hammond, this explanation was not legitimate.
"The P Club's decline in Friday night sales between January 2011 and June 2012 is not a defense, and no evidence was presented to show that the T-Girls had caused any other problems at the P Club that might have justified Penner's decision to ask them not to return on Friday nights," Hammond stated.
The bar, located on N. Lombard Street, has since changed its name to The Twilight Room Annex.
Penner's attorney Jonathan Radmacher said that his client didn't have a public comment, but did mention that the two were "not surprised in the least," on the court's ruling.
"We think it's wrong, but we thought it was wrong from the get-go," Radmacher maintained, admitting that the T-Girls had frequented the bar for almost four years.
"He's not anti-LGBT," the defense continued. "He doesn't want to be a poster child for somebody who is going to oppose all races, genders, etc. from coming into places of public accommodation."
Cassandra reported that she'd received voicemails from Penner warning her friends not to come back to the bar, which Radmacher admitted his client left in a "stupid way."
The patron was awarded $50,000 for "emotional, mental and physical" suffering she went through following the ordeal.
Penner was also slapped with a $5,000 charge for civil penalties.
Other members of the T-Group apparently suffered physical issues after the stand-off with Penner.
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