'I would never spend a dollar in that business again'

'I would never spend a dollar in that business again'

PORTLAND, Ore. - Three transgendered women called out the owner of a North Portland bar Thursday, saying he left voicemails telling them to stay away.

The voice on the phone identifies himself as the owner of the P Club Bar, and it sounds exactly like owner Chris Penner. While he declined to speak about the controversy Thursday, his former customers spoke out.

"I would never spend a dollar in that business again," said Cassandra Lynn.

With their feelings hurt, the transgendered women say Penner's voicemails violate state law by discriminating against their gender identity.

"If businesses are allowed to do this, my world where I can go starts shrinking, and (I'm) pretty sure I don't have choices where to shop, where to socialize," said Victoria Nolan.

Lynn said she just wants "other businesses to know it's not right, it's not fair."

The caller in the voicemails identifies himself as Chris and blames the transgendered women for declining sales at the P Club saying, "I am going to have to ask for you ... and your group not to come back on Friday nights. I really don't like having to do that but unfortunately it's the area we are in and it's hurting business a lot."

On Wednesday Penner said, "It's not true. We're not a homophobic bar by any means."

But when Penner spoke to KATU News at that time, he refused to address the specifics of the complaint that he discriminated against the transgendered.

"We're a neighborhood bar that's open to everybody," he said.

On Thursday, Penner declined to speak at all, citing his lawyer's advice.

The transgendered women aren't buying that the P Club welcomes all or that their group of 15 to 20 Friday night regulars cost Penner business.

"They were doing so bad on Fridays – they got wind that we were looking for a place to go and they asked us to come there to help their Friday business."

Oregon state law protects anyone from discrimination because of sexual orientation, but that's not just about sexual preference. It also covers gender identity, and that's why the Bureau of Labor and Industries is now investigating.