Kendall Oliver, a gender-nonconforming Army reservist and Afghanistan veteran, was just trying to get a haircut in the Los Angeles suburb of Rancho Cucamonga. Instead, Oliver was denied service by the shop’s Christian owner, who says the Bible dictates that women shouldn’t cut their hair.
Oliver told Los Angeles TV station KNBC that he identifies as male, but that didn’t make a difference at The Barbershop.
“They said, ‘It doesn’t matter ma’am, we still won’t cut a woman’s hair,'” Oliver recounted to KNBC.
Oliver told KCAL TV he was “very offended” by the shop’s refusal of service.
“I don’t think that’s how someone should be discriminated against, whether they identify as male or female or transgender,” Oliver said. “A person is a person.”
Oliver returned to the store and was once again refused a haircut.
The Barbershop’s owner, Richard Hernandez, said he didn’t intend to discriminate against LGBT people, but stood by his policy against cutting women’s hair.
“People go against what God has created, you start getting everything all out of whack,” Hernandez told KNBC. “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.”
Noting that he is a member of the Church of God, Hernandez told KNBC that his faith does not allow him to cut any woman’s hair, “even if they identify themselves as a man.”
KNBC reached out to the Hernandez’s congregation in Upland, but did not receive a response by press time. A Church of God in Garden Grove, however, did respond to KNBC’s inquiries, stating that that particular congregation has no doctrine against cutting women’s hair.
It is illegal in California for businesses to discriminate against customers because of their gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.