The Arizona Republic
Scottsdale bar owner Tom Anderson believes he was doing the right thing when he banned several transgender patrons from the club after women complained about cross-dressing men using the women’s bathroom.
But one of the banned patrons, Michele deLaFreniere, has filed a discrimination complaint against Anderson’s Fifth Estate.
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office is investigating and a hearing is set for Aug. 7.
DeLaFreniere is chair of the Scottsdale Human Relations Commission and employed by the city, repairing bicycles through its Handlebar Helpers program.
Anderson denies that he discriminated against the transgender patrons. But he said he had to take a stand late last year because female patrons were “freaking out” and threatening to take their business elsewhere.
“It looked like a man trying to get the ladies drink special,” Anderson said of the cross-dressing patrons.
It did not work to have the cross-dressing patrons use the men’s room, either, since some of the men chastised them and they were at risk of getting beat up, Anderson said.
Chuck Kelhoffer, Anderson’s attorney, said the disruption “was starting to have an impact on business.”
In his response to the Attorney General’s Office, Kelhoffer said the complaint is an attempt by deLaFreniere to gain publicity for herself and her cause.
He also questioned whether deLaFreniere is a “pre-operative transsexual, post-operative transsexual or transvestite.”
DeLaFreniere did not return calls seeking comment.