No Men’s Barbershops Allowed!

Men’s barbershops are a violation of human rights. Be thankful the government is here to save us!

Over a year ago, Mark Horne posted about a Colorado bar that catered to “bears”—a certain kind of hyper-masculine homosexual subculture. This bar allegedly turned away a homosexual male who was dressed as a woman. They said it was because his driver’s license didn’t match his appearance and they wanted to avoid trouble with the government. He claimed it was “discrimination.” Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) has a Civil Rights Division which agreed with the complaint. The bar was ordered to enter mediation with their “victim.”

Horne wrote:

And, of course, a pub for men only that catered to heterosexuals would be hammered even quicker and with greater penalties. Free association really is dead.

Which brings me to the headline at Reason.com: “We Must Prevent a Scourge of Sexist Barbers!

So the point of public accommodation laws was supposed to be that they would prevent widespread discrimination against people with certain characteristics (race, gender, religion) that had nothing to do with the services being provided, correct? To stop restaurants from refusing to seat black customers or hotels from letting single women rent rooms.

But we have yet another reminder that once a law is passed, the general public has little control over how it is enforced. John Interval, the owner of Barbiere barber shop in Washington, Pennsylvania found out the hard way. You think barber shops are designed to serve the needs of male clients and probably aren’t even set up to tackle women’s hair? What sort of bigot are you?

A woman came into the shop and demanded services that are not only not what the business offers, but for which the business doesn’t even have the equipment. Barbiere actually gives (virtually always male) customers a complimentary beer.

So the woman reported the business to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs. They fined Barbiere $750.

Phil Hodges comments on this insanity at the Last Resistance blog:

It’s a privately owned business. They should be able to turn people away for any reason they want. Have you ever seen those signs that read, “No shoes, no shirt, no service?” If you come in barefoot or shirtless, they reserve the right to tell you to leave.

Is it gender discrimination for a business to offer a ladies’ night discount? Is it age discrimination for a business to offer a senior discount? Should a girl be allowed to sue an all-boys school for not allowing her to attend? (What if she “identified” as a boy?)

Sadly, I don’t think those rhetorical questions are merely rhetorical anymore.