A salon owner in Michigan banned certain LGBTQ customers, referring them to pet groomers instead, officials said. Now, the establishment faces a discrimination charge.
“If a human identifies as anything other than a man/woman, please seek services at a local pet groomer,” Christine Geiger, the owner of Studio 8 Hair Lab, LLC, wrote on Facebook in July.
“You are not welcome at this salon. Period. I am not willing to play the pronoun game or cater to requests outside of what I perceive as normal.” Geiger, whose salon is in Traverse City, about 140 miles north of Grand Rapids, wrote in a separate post.
The Michigan Department of Civil Rights responds:
After investigating several certified complaints filed against a Traverse City salon, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) today filed a formal charge of discrimination against the Studio 8 Hair Lab LLC.
In the charge, MDCR asserts that after an investigation of at least three complaints filed with the agency, they have found that statements published by Studio 8 Hair Lab LLC on social media and elsewhere denying services to individuals based on sex is a violation of the state’s primary civil rights law, the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA).
ELCRA prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, which includes businesses that provide goods or services to the public. The business does not have to bar someone from entering on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression to be in violation of the law.
Under ELCRA, it is a violation to print, post, or publish a statement or notice which indicates that the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services and facilities of a public accommodation will be refused an individual because of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, or marital status, or that an individual’s patronage of a place of public accommodation is objectionable, unwelcome, or undesirable because of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, or marital status.
Since July of this year, MDCR has received a total of 21 complaints of discrimination against Studio 8. Of those, 3 are part of the current charge, another 3 are currently under investigation and 2 are being evaluated to determine if the department has jurisdiction.
In the July video report below, Geiger refers to Michigan’s governor as “Gretchen Witchmere.”
Hair Salon Owner Allegedly Told Trans Clients To ‘Seek Services At A Local Pet Groomer’ https://t.co/16GO4LDDao
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) November 16, 2023