barriers to entry

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]