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Capone’s Restaurant Doesn’t Discriminate, Except Against Miniskirt-Wearing Trans Women

“We have a great reputation, and we never, ever discriminated against anyone,” says Judy Pescione, the owner of Capone’s Italian American Restaurant in Peabody, Massachusetts. That’s not what the trans members of the group Sisters Family say they found when, on Jan. 29, a bouncer at the door refused to let eight of them enter because their photo IDs did not “match” their appearance.

After filing a complaint against the restaurant, Sisters Family appeared last night at a hearing before Peabody’s Licensing Board following an unsuccessful mediation in February. (State law forbids businesses from discriminating based on race, color, religious creed, gender, or sexual orientation.)

“We were denied, not because our licenses didn’t match, but because we’re transgendered,” says Ashley Bottoms, the group’s MTF founder (pictured below, center).

But for Pescione’s claims of non-discrimination, it sure sounds like that’s exactly the policy she personally implemented. The Salem News reports:

Pescione wasn’t there on the night in question, but she recounted her experience with Sisters Family during a night in December. “There were seven or eight very tall men dressed like women, and I had never encountered that before,” she said. Being unfamiliar with what transgender meant, Pescione questioned Bottoms about what the group was, at one point asking, “Why don’t you go into town where your dress code would be accepted?”

Pescione requested that the group use the men’s bathroom. She was not happy with the way they were dressed or their behavior. “Their skirts were very short,” Pescione said, “Ashley proceeded to go on the dance floor and show her cleavage, show her bottom.” Before leaving for a vacation, Pescione said she told her staff to scrutinize all identifications carefully, saying, “If they don’t match, they can’t come in.”

Pescione’s son, Christopher, was working on Jan. 29. He was called to the door after Bottoms asked to speak with whomever was in charge. Christopher said that some in the group were dressed “inappropriately.”

They were wearing miniskirts.

[photo via]

By:           JD
On:           Jul 27, 2010
Tagged: , , , , , ,
  • 9 Comments
    • Andrew
      Andrew

      Unless they are post op, they wouldn’t be covered under any of the terms queerty listed. Being transgender isn’t a sexual orientation. Although luckily, — many states do ban gender identity discrimination.

      Jul 27, 2010 at 10:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS
      PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS

      Ashley Bottoms????

      Jul 27, 2010 at 11:27 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hyhybt
      Hyhybt

      Still, unless they were unrecognizable on their IDs, there’s no excuse.

      Jul 27, 2010 at 1:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • L.
      L.

      Um. Apparently Ms Bottoms misbehaved rather badly on an earlier occasion where she was let in. Maybe, just maybe that’s the real reason why entry was barred? I enjoy cross-dressing exhibitionism as much as the next guy, just not while I’m eating pizza.

      Jul 27, 2010 at 4:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • missanthrope
      missanthrope

      {“Unless they are post op, they wouldn’t be covered under any of the terms queerty listed. Being transgender isn’t a sexual orientation.”

      In some federal circuit courts and states discriminating against trans folk is considered gender dicrimination. In a few local and state anti-discrimination gender identity is interpreted a “sexual orientation” as a catch-all in the wording of laws or court interpretations. It would depend on how the law’s written or interpreted in this locality.

      “Still, unless they were unrecognizable on their IDs, there’s no excuse.”

      I’m willing to bet that there were plenty of cisgender people with ID’s that didn’t look like them wearing miniskirts were admitted entrance on the night that these women were not admitted. It’s a pretty flimsy excuse based on a subjective judgment that is perfect to used very selectively.

      Jul 27, 2010 at 5:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew

      @missanthrope: Hence why I said post op, yes? But pre op no, Ive never heard of such a case. And even being post op, it’s still a bit catchy.

      If that were true, there wouldn’t be a huge fight over the GENDA bill here in New York. Being transgender simply isn’t a sexual orientation. There is nothing similar between the two. Nothing.

      I’m all for gender identity protections, but let’s not compare apples to oranges just because they’re fruits. Especially if the transgender community wants to be SPECIFICALLY protected.

      That came out fittingly enough. ;]

      Jul 27, 2010 at 7:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • missanthrope
      missanthrope [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Andrew:

      “@missanthrope: Hence why I said post op, yes? But pre op no, Ive never heard of such a case. And even being post op, it’s still a bit catchy.”

      I’ve never heard of trans person’s standing to file a case of discrimination under gender discrimination law being decided upon their op-status except in cases where marriage is concerned (Littleton v. Prange). Could you cite some cases for me? I’d really like to know about them because I’ve just never heard of that.

      “If that were true, there wouldn’t be a huge fight over the GENDA bill here in New York. Being transgender simply isn’t a sexual orientation. There is nothing similar between the two. Nothing.”

      Well, the reason that there is a huge fight over GENDA is because the trans exclusive version of SONDA (opposed to the version that did include trans folk SB S1985) was pushed through in 2002. And IRRC, the SB 1985 language had no sort of language labeling “gender identity” a “sexual orientation”, it had it’s own trans specific language along with a gay rights provision. But it was dropped because the lobbyists/politicians thought it would more likely to pass a vote without gender identity in it.

      The current (2010) fight over GENDA has to do with bathroom protections, which are completely unrelated to any to do with sexual orientation unless you’re talking about SONDA.

      I didn’t say I was advocating that that trans people should be protected under language of sexual orientation*, I was telling you what the precedent was in some localities over some badly worded bills. I never said anything about New York.

      *Though, if it helps me against discrimination, I don’t care what it’s called if it means I can get a job.

      Jul 27, 2010 at 7:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeffree
      Jeffree

      Any restaurant that wants to turn away 8 paying customers is stooopid. Cis-gender male here & I look *nothing* like my ID photo but I am and do look over21. Never had a problem getting into anywhere. My betterhalf is foreign,doesnt drive in the US–yet–, shows a passport & he gets into bars everywhere.

      So sad to hear that our Transfolk allies still face this prejudice.

      Jul 28, 2010 at 1:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Papa Jack
      Papa Jack

      If the ID doesn’t fit, you must NOT admit. Law says photos must match the person holding them.

      Feb 12, 2011 at 7:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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