A 21-year-old Texas man said that a bouncer denied him entry to a nightclub because he was wearing makeup.
Bobby Rodriquez told the Corpus Christi Caller Times that the bouncer at the door of Whiskey River nightclub said he couldn’t wear makeup because their policy was “men need to dress like men.”
“I approached the door I handed my ID to the security at the door (and) his words were and, I quote, ‘unfortunately, you cannot enter because you are wearing makeup and we have a rule here that says men need to dress like men,'” Rodriguez said.
Though he was upset, Rodriguez said he followed the bouncer’s instructions because he wanted to dance.
“I literally had to walk back to my car and rip my false lashes off and wipe off my lipstick,” he said.”
The owner of the nightclub, Angela Blohm, told the newspaper that Rodriquez’s allegations were “just a bunch of frivolous baloney.”
Blohm said the club has a “gender appropriate” dress code in place, but said there was no way to prove Rodriquez’s story.
“Whiskey River has a standard dress code that states everyone must dress gender appropriate to the gender stated on their state-issued driver’s license,” Blohm said. “The conversation that was held at the door cannot be verified.”
The Caller Times noted that there were no signs detailing a dress club visible outside of the club. Blohm declined to say if there are any signs posted inside.
Rodriquez posted on Facebook that he had never been “so offended” in his life.
Federal law prevents discrimination by private businesses based on race, color, religion, or national origin, but it does not prevent businesses from denying services to customers based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Texas does not provide any protections under the state legislature, The Caller Times reported.
Chuck Smith, CEO of LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Texas, said the dress code was discriminatory.
“If it’s the intent of the business to refuse entry to gay or transgender people, it’s not illegal but I would certainly see they are seeking to discriminate,” Smith said. “If the purpose of the dress code is to exclude LGBTQ people from entering then the dress code is not any different than putting up a sign that states ‘we don’t serve your kind.'”