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Salon Owner Who Told Trans/Queer Customers to Visit ‘Pet Groomer’ Facing Discrimination Charge

Salon Owner Who Told Trans/Queer Customers to Visit ‘Pet Groomer’ Facing Discrimination Charge

Christine Geiger Salon Owner Discrimination Charge
Image: Instagram @christinegeigerhairstylist

The salon owner is fighting back with a lawsuit of her own.

A small-business owner in Michigan is facing discrimination charges for social media posts advising potential queer and transgender customers to visit a pet groomer instead of her boutique hair salon.

Michigan’s Department of Civil Rights filed a charge Wednesday claiming that Christine Geiger, the owner of Studio 8 Hair Lab in Traverse City, unlawfully discriminated against three claimants in a series of posts to social media in July on the basis of their sex, according to the Associated Press. Michigan law bans discrimination on the basis of sex, age, color, familial status, height, housing, marital status, national origin, race, religion, or weight for employment, housing, and public services. The state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act was amended earlier this year to include sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, but the changes won’t take effect until next year.

Related: Hair Care Company Jack Winn Pro Pulls Products from Transphobic Michigan Salon

Last month, Geiger stood by the posts and filed a lawsuit against the city and the three claimants saying they violated her free speech rights under the First Amendment. Her attorney, David DeLaney, told the AP the posts reflected her protected “religious beliefs” and that she had not physically prevented anyone from entering her storefront.

In a series of posts to Facebook in early July, Geiger disparaged the trans, queer, and nonbinary communities and told them their patronage was unwelcome in her salon.

“If a human identifies as anything other than a man/woman please seek services at a local pet groomer,” Geiger wrote in a since-deleted post to Facebook. “You are not welcome at this salon. Period. Should you request to have a particular pronoun used please note we may simply refer to you as ‘hey you.’” She also likened LGBTQ+ people to pedophiles.

In another post to social media explaining whether her salon was LGBTQ-friendly, she replied “LGB are more than welcome however the rest of it is not something I support.”

Geiger will next face a hearing with an administrative judge, who will issue a recommendation and advance the case to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission for a final determination.

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