Portland bar owner accused of bias against transgender customers

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The Oregon labor commissioner has filed discrimination charges against a Portland bar owner accused of telling transgender patrons to stay away.

KATU reports Commissioner Brad Avakian filed the charge this week against the Twilight Room Annex, formerly known as the P Club.

Bar owner Chris Penner is accused of asking a group of transgender patrons known as the Rose City T-Girls to stop visiting because he didn’t want it to be known as a “tranny bar.”

The complaint against Penner said he called at one regular customer and left a message saying don't return to the bar. In another message, Penner allegedly said, "I’ve done some investigating why my sales are declining and there’s two things I keep hearing: People think that a) we’re a tranny bar or b) we’re a gay bar. We are neither. People are not coming in because they just don’t want to be there on a Friday night now."

At the time he was accused last August, Penner said he was shocked and baffled by the discrimination allegation. He said he has gay and lesbian staff, and the bar has hosted same-sex wedding receptions and Pride events.