Transgender customer denied restroom access

Transgender customer denied restroom access

Transgender customer denied restroom access

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by Tim Gordon, KGW Staff

KREM.com

Posted on September 17, 2012 at 7:39 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 17 at 7:43 PM

VANCOUVER – A transgender customer who identifies herself as a woman says she is being discriminated against by some Hazel Dell area bars because they won’t let her use the women’s room.

Norma Bellhorn recently changed her name from Norman, and is taking hormone therapy medications.

But anatomically, Bellhorn remains a man.

The retired steelworker has filed a complaint with the Washington State Human Rights Commission, against Legends Food and Fun, and is considering filing complaints against two other establishments.

“What they’re doing, by me not being able to use the ladies room, is discriminating against me,” said Ballhorn.

At Legends, server Sabrina Brenneise said they have no problem with Ballhorn’s transgender identity.

“It’s the fact that she’s still a boy and she wants to go in the woman’s restroom and use the woman’s room with the stall opened, with her skirt hiked up and standing up, like a guy would, and that makes it kind of an issue,” Brenneise said.

Brenneise said Ballhorn became aggressively upset when told not to use the women’s room. Ballhorn denied that claim, and said she even tried to comply.

“But I was not comfortable going into the men’s room because I don’t trust some of these guys in the bars, they get to drinking — they might think I look good and want to try something,” said Ballhorn.

An analyst with the Human Rights Commission said there is no specific state law regarding transgender individuals and restroom use, but the commission will look at broader freedom from discrimination laws as it investigates the case.

Investigations can take from four months to a year to complete.

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