Barbershop Refuses to Serve Transgender Patron, Army Veteran | NBC Southern California

Barbershop Refuses to Serve Transgender Patron, Army Veteran

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination by privately-owned places of public accommodation on the basis of race, color, religion, and national origin. In addition, California's Unruh Civil Rights Act covers gender and sexual orientation

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    A barbershop is under scrutiny for refusing to cut a transgender man's hair. Mekahlo Medina reports for NBC4 on March 9, 2016. (Published Wednesday, March 9, 2016)

    When Kendal Oliver booked an appointment at a Southern California barbershop to have his hair cut, the Army veteran who served six years in Afghanistan didn't expect to be turned away.

    Oliver, who said he identifies as "more of a man than a woman, was refused service by The Barbershop in Rancho Cucamonga.

    "I have religious convictions that prevent me from cutting women's hair," said owner Richard Hernandez.

    Hernandez said he belongs to the Church of God and his religious beliefs do not allow him to cut any woman's hair, even if they identify themselves as a man.

    "I identify as male, I just feel more comfortable with that way... They said, 'It doesn't matter ma'am, we still won't cut a woman's hair,'" Oliver said.

    It's the reason why every customer in the barber chair at the shop is a man, according to Hernandez. 

    "People go against what God has created, you start getting everything all out of whack," he said. "It's a shame for a man to have long hair, but if a woman has long hair, it's her glory and it speaks to being given to her as her covering, and I don't want to be one who is taking away from her glory."

    Oliver didn't agree with Hernandez's decision.

    "I don't see how that should affect a business. I'm a customer here, you provide a service, and everyone is entitled to that service," Oliver said.

    Oliver said the barbershop owner's policy is wrong.

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination by privately-owned places of public accommodation on the basis of race, color, religion, and national origin. In addition, California's Unruh Civil Rights Act covers gender and sexual orientation.

    Hernandez and Oliver had a civil discussion outside of the business, but disagreed.

    "These are my religious convictions and they would violate my conscience," Hernandez told Oliver.

    "It's hurtful, it's embarrassing," Oliver said in response. 

    NBC4 contacted the Church of God, and there are several variations across the country.  Hernandez's church in Upland did not return NBC4's calls, however the church of God in Garden Grove did return calls and said there was no doctrine that does not allow a man to cut a woman's hair in their church.