A manager of a Dallas gay bar has been fired for refusing to serve a transgender woman.
The woman, identified by friend Daniel Heredia as Blair Jirousek, was visiting from New York, Heredia wrote on Facebook. They and another friend went to JR’s Bar & Grill Tuesday night. A bartender, who is also a manager, asked for their ID’s when they ordered drinks, and he refused to serve them and handed back their ID’s without explanation, according to Heredia. But he thinks the problem arose from her identification as well as transphobia.
“Her ID is real but has her boy name on it since she has not been able to legally change it yet,” Heredia wrote. “All of her cards have the same name on it. Everything in her wallet points to her being a real person.” The group tried to explain but the bartender wouldn’t listen, he wrote, adding, “It all felt like it stemmed from transphobia.”
The group decided to stay for a while anyway and watch a drag show. Then another friend of Heredia’s walked in, greeted him, and ordered a drink from a different bartender. The first bartender, identified in the post only as “Carter,” walked over to the other employee and told the friend, “I’m not going to serve you because you’re friends with her,” according to Heredia’s account. The friend “had no idea what had happened much less even knew Blair,” Heredia wrote. The first bartender then had a security guard escort the group out (see video below, via Dallas TV station KTXA), and the guard offered no explanation either, the post said.
Jirousek called the police to make a point, and they verified that her ID was valid, Heredia said. But they also said that any establishment has the right to refuse service for any reason, and said the group would have to be arrested if they entered JR’s again, he wrote.
“Transphobia is not okay,” he concluded. “This is pride month and we should be accepting of all genders and sexual preferences, uplifting our community not tearing it down. It’s sad that a place i have grown to love and appreciate is supporting people that have nothing better to do with their time than hate.”
The bar issued a statement Thursday saying the offending bartender had been fired and that JR’s will not tolerate discrimination.
“Early this morning, we were notified of an incident that occurred at JR’s Bar & Grill last night [actually Tuesday night, by Heredia’s account] involving a staff member and several of our patrons,” the statement reads. “While our employees take every measure to ensure the safety of both staff and patrons, any actions that are deemed contra to our beliefs and values as a company will not be tolerated.
“After reviewing the situation and gathering statements from the parties involved, the company has chosen to terminate the employee in question effective immediately.
“We are against discrimination of any kind, and work diligently with all employees to ensure that our bar is a welcoming space for everyone to celebrate. We respect and value people from all communities and will continue to advocate for diversity and inclusivity.”