A well-known gay bar in Denver, Colo. has lost a discrimination claim filed in the state’s division of civil rights because it denied entry to a gay man dressed in full-on drag who looked nothing like the picture on the identification he presented showing his age.
The winning complainant is Vito Marzano. He filed his claim because, he said, a bouncer at the bar refused to allow him inside. At the time, Marzano, 27, was wearing cosmetics, a wig, a dress, and glamorous high heels, The Denver Post reports. He had attended a drag show earlier that Saturday night.
Steven Chavez, the director of the Colorado’s Civil Rights Division, pronounced in his written opinion that the dress code at the bar discriminates against unmanly men.
Chavez emphasized that The Denver Wrangler is a notorious “bear bar.” In case you haven’t been to a gay bar lately, “bear” is a term meaning a burly, “husky, large man with a lot of body hair,” according to Urban Dictionary — sort of like the Brawny-brand paper towel guy.
The Denver Wrangler “caters to a gay subculture known as ‘Bears,’ which are bisexual or gay males which tend to place importance on presenting a hypermasculine image and often shun interaction with men who exhibit effeminacy,” the bureaucrat wrote, according to Reason. “This is evident from the pictures and statements made by employees regarding the ‘Bear’ culture of the club and several links on the Respondent’s webpage.”
“At face value, the (bar’s) policies appear legitimate and nondiscriminatory,” Chavez argued, according to the Post. “However, the evidence indicates that the (bar) uses its policies to select patrons whose appearance is masculine, whether or not they are male or female, for entry into its club.”
Incidentally, the last time The Daily Caller checked in on Chavez, he was ordering little girls at a taxpayer-funded public school to share their bathroom with a first-grade boy who likes to dress up in girls’ clothing. (RELATED: Transgender First-Grader Wins Civil Rights Suit After Girls’ Bathroom Ban)
Chris Dawkins, owner of the Wrangler, said Chavez got his ruling completely wrong.
Marzano looked nothing like the picture on his identification, Dawkins said, which presented a serious problem for the bar because it has a legal responsibility to refuse to serve alcohol to people who cannot prove they are 21 years old.
The gay bar had already been forced to pay a fine because it served alcohol to a minor in 2012.
“Their opinion has a lot of errors in it,” Dawkins also told the Post. “I mean, it says we don’t serve to women. There are women in all the time. Women love my bar.”
Pete Meersman, president of the Colorado Restaurant Association, said the ruling puts business owners in an very difficult legal position.
“It seems to me that you are between a rock and a hard place,” Meersman told the Post.
Meanwhile, Marzano is thrilled.
“For me, what I am taking from this is the vindication that Wrangler was wrong and does use its policies to discriminate against individuals,” the crossdresser told the newspaper.
Chavez’s ruling orders Dawkins, as the owner of the Wrangler, to enter mediation proceedings with Marzano.