PORTLAND, Ore., Aug. 30 (UPI) -- A Portland, Ore., bar owner was ordered to pay $400,000 to a group of cross-dressers who were banned from his club last year, the state labor board said.
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries imposed the penalty Thursday against Chris Penner, owner of the Twilight Room Annex, formerly known as the P Club.
Penner told members of a cross-dressing group of transgender men, called the Rose City T-Girls, who met weekly at the P Club, to stop frequenting the bar, the (Portland) Oregonian reported Friday.
The bureau interviewed 11 unidentified members of the T-Girls, 10 of whom referred to themselves as cross-dressers. The leader of the group, identified in the report as "Cassandra Lynn," said a voicemail from Penner, advising the group his business was losing customers because the T-Girls' weekly meeting suggested to potential patrons the club was a transgender bar or gay bar.
"Cassandra Lynn" told an administrative law judge she could not sleep in the months after she received Penner's message. Other members said they stopped going out in public as women.
Investigators said they found no evidence to support Penner's contention the T-Girls disrupted business.
The penalty is the first imposed under the 207 Oregon Equality Act, which protects the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered residents of the state in employment, housing and public places, the newspaper noted.