Barbershop agrees to change advertising, pay damages to settle discrimination lawsuit by transgender man
A barbershop accused of denying service to a transgender male will, as part of a settlement of a lawsuit filed by the man, remove potentially discriminatory advertising from its website and its locations in Long Beach, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach and Australia.
The lawsuit, filed in March, claimed that employees at the Long Beach location of Hawleywood’s Barber Shop & Shaving Parlor denied service to Rose Trevis, saying, “We don’t cut women’s hair.”
Hawleywood’s website formerly described the shop as a “men’s sanctuary” and included the statement, “You all know how distracting a woman can be, and who wants a straight-razor shave with a buxom blonde in the joint?”
The website currently reads: “Hawleywood’s Barber Shop attracts people from all walks of life.”
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Frederick Shaller issued an injunction Aug. 16 that barred Hawleywood’s from denying service based on gender or perceived gender, according to the settlement, which was reached Friday.
As part of the settlement, Hawleywood’s also agreed to pay damages and attorney fees.
Trevis’ attorney, Gloria Allred, and Hawleywood’s attorney, Paul Sink, declined to reveal the amount of the payment.
Allred said Tuesday that her client is happy the lawsuit is over.
“It’s 2016,” Allred said. “That a business in California would so blatantly discriminate both by excluding women from their service and in their advertising in such a stereotypical manner … it’s unacceptable.”
Sink said Tuesday that the decision to settle the case was not an admission of wrongdoing on Hawleywood’s part.
“Sometimes it’s more economically feasible to settle than to fight,” he said.
According to the lawsuit, Trevis and his female domestic partner walked by Hawleywood’s in Long Beach and Trevis decided to get a haircut.
A barber told Trevis he would need an appointment, but when Trevis asked to make one, the barber said the shop didn’t cut women’s hair, according to the lawsuit.
“Who says I’m a woman?” Trevis said.
According to the suit, another employee looked Trevis up and down and said, “We don’t cut women’s hair.”
Though Trevis said he was denied service, Sink said there were simply no immediate openings that day.
“They booked her for the next day,” Sink said. “She never showed.”
Sink also said his clients were confused as to who was requesting service.
“It was a mix-up on whose hair was going to get cut,” Sink said. "[Trevis] came in with a female friend who had long hair, and my clients thought they were talking about the long-haired woman. They’re not beauticians. They don’t know how to cut women’s hair.”
Trevis said in a statement Monday that he was upset by the shop’s treatment of him.
“I never would have thought I’d experience the humiliation of being discriminated against as a transgender man,” he said. “What began as an unfortunate event has ended in justice.”
Sink said the shop wants to move forward.
“They’re still going to cater to men,” he said. “But if you want a man’s haircut, women can get it.”
Fernandez is a Daily Pilot staff writer. Evans writes for the Los Angeles Times.