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Court: Bar Owner Must Pay Trans Customers $400,000 for Banning Them

Court: Bar Owner Must Pay Trans Customers $400,000 for Banning Them

P CLUB

A court in Portland, Ore., ruled that a man who told transgender customers to stay away from the bar he owned must pay them $400,000 in damages.

Lifeafterdawn

Closing up shop wasn't enough for a Portland man to escape a very hefty bar tab he's been dodging for two years.

The Oregon Court of Appeals today upheld a ruling that Chris Penner must pay approximately $400,000 in damages to transgender patrons he told would not be welcomed back to his Portland bar, as reported by theAssociated Press.

As The Advocate previously reported, state investigators concluded in 2013 that Penner violated Oregon's nondiscrimination law the previous year when he left a voice message for a group of transgender customers who frequented the bar Friday nights.

The Rose City T-Girls had frequented the P Club for more than two years, each Friday bringing between eight and 54 members to the bar.

In his message, Penner said he had noticed a drop in business on Fridays, and blamed the group for the downturn:

"People think that (a) we're a tranny bar or (b) that we're a gay bar. We are neither. People are not coming in because they just don't want to be here on a Friday night now."

Penner made it clear he wanted the trans women to stay away, but in his voice message he denied any responsibility for his ban:

"Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I'm going to have to ask for you, Cass and your group, to not come back on Friday nights."

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries ruled in 2013 that the bar violated a law that prohibits discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Penner shut down his bar in April 2014 rather than pay the $400,000 fine, but given that the Appeals Court Wednesday upheld the ruling that he violated state law, that will not be enough for Penner to continue to avoid making restitution.

Lifeafterdawn
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Dawn Ennis

The Advocate's news editor Dawn Ennis successfully transitioned from broadcast journalism to online media following another transition that made headlines; in 2013, she became the first trans staffer in any major TV network newsroom. As the first out transgender editor at The Advocate, the native New Yorker continues her 30-year media career, in which she has earned more than a dozen awards, including two Emmys. With the blessing of her three children, Dawn retains the most important job title she's ever held: Dad.
The Advocate's news editor Dawn Ennis successfully transitioned from broadcast journalism to online media following another transition that made headlines; in 2013, she became the first trans staffer in any major TV network newsroom. As the first out transgender editor at The Advocate, the native New Yorker continues her 30-year media career, in which she has earned more than a dozen awards, including two Emmys. With the blessing of her three children, Dawn retains the most important job title she's ever held: Dad.