Image courtesy of Hawleywood Barber Shop - Long Beach.
A transgender male who was denied a haircut at a barber shop in Long Beach is suing the business, with representation by high-profile attorney Gloria Allred, along with Byron Lau. Allred is a civil rights attorney known for taking on cases involving women's rights, including representing Bill Cosby's accusers and voicing her support for SB 813, the Justice for Victims Act.
Rose Trevis claims that employees of Hawleywood’s Barber Shop voiced they did not cut women’s hair and that females are not allowed in the shop. The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit against the business alleges discrimination based on gender and gender identity and seeks unspecified damages.
The shop’s owner did not immediately return a phone message asking for comment. However, Hawleywood’s website describes the barber shop as a "men’s sanctuary." It goes on to state: "You all know how distracting a woman can be and who wants a straight-razor shave with a buxom blonde in the joint?"
Screenshot from Hawleywood's website. The chain has multiple locations, including its Long Beach and Costa Mesa branches.
According to court documents, Trevis, described in the lawsuit as having a “masculine gender expression,” and partner Laura Lozano came upon Hawleywood’s as passersby when the plaintiff decided to get a haircut. After Trevis asked for service, a barber said that an appointment was required.
When Trevis attempted to set a date, the barber stared and said, “We don’t cut women’s hair,” the lawsuit states.
Trevis responded, asking “Who says I’m a woman?” The barber allegedly responded with the statement, “Like I said, we don’t cut women’s hair,” according to the lawsuit.
A second barber appeared, “examined plaintiff from head to toe” and asked if he could help Trevis and then stated that the shop did not serve women—that it was an “old-school barber shop” and a business with the right to refuse service to anyone, according to the suit.
When both Trevis and Lozano noted the shop’s policy was discriminatory, the second barber replied, “We don’t care,” and also said, “women are not even allowed in the shop,” the suit alleges.
The lawsuit states that Trevis felt “ashamed and humiliated” by the denial of service.
A video posted Tuesday by Allred's firm, Allred, Maroko and Goldberg, summarizes the points of the lawsuit.
City News Service contributed to this report.
This story was updated on 03/30/16 at 10:35AM with information about Allred's work on the case and the firm's video.