Sort-of Transgender Army Reservist Threatens Suit over Haircut

The Washington Post reported that Kendall Oliver, a US Army Reservist, was turned away from a barber because the barber wouldn’t cut women’s hair:

Oliver is transgender. And with that, the Army reservist in the Los Angeles area became the latest citizen at the center of a recurring American debate: Where does freedom of religion end and discrimination begin?

That sentence just about summarizes the twisted world this has become.

Oliver is a woman who has decided she identifies “mostly as a man.” According to the article, she uses the pronoun “they” rather than he/she.

“They” is plural, for those who are losing track.

Oliver watched the barber turn another woman away — but that didn’t bother her:

Oliver said the owner told the woman that the shop doesn’t cut women’s hair. But Oliver still thought keeping their [sic] own appointment wouldn’t be a problem.

It was only when she was turned away that visions of lawsuits danced in her head:

Other customers were watching the encounter, Oliver said, and Oliver left the store with cheeks burning from embarrassment…

Peter Renn, a lawyer at LGBT rights organization Lambda Legal, is talking to Oliver about the incident and may pursue legal action.

And therein lies the great tragedy of American “liberty” today. The US Constitution is supposed to prevent the government from restricting the liberties of its citizens. The State did not embarrass Oliver, nor did it deny her service.

But she — and many others like her — would demand the State use its power to compel another to act against his will, even when that act goes against the religious beliefs of the citizen.

This is something the owner of the barbershop, Richard Hernandez, understands:

I value the Constitution that we have in this country and hope that it upholds for me as well as others.

Think about it: A private citizen is trying to use the power of the government to elevate her personal gender issue — which is not a protected liberty under the Constitution — while denying another citizen the right to behave in accordance with his religious liberty — which is a protected liberty under the Constitution.

That’s not the way the American government is supposed to work.

If Oliver wants to take her case to the court of public opinion, fine. She can plaster social media and boycott or what have you. Perhaps she’ll run the barber out of business or convince him to change his ways. Perhaps not. Either way, she has the freedom to behave as she chooses, to voice her opinion, and to patronize the businesses she wants to — just as the barber does.

But in a free market, and in a culture of liberty, it is an anathema for the State to compel its citizens to act against their protected beliefs in their private behavior.

Just as the government should not force a baker to cater events they oppose.

Just as the government should not force a Jewish grocer to butcher pork.

Just as the government should not force a Christian restaurant to serve alcohol.

Just as the government should not force a religious pharmacist to carry drugs that violate their beliefs.

A boy decides he wants to be a barber, so he learns to cut hair. Because of his religion, he doesn’t believe women should cut their hair, and he won’t cut a woman’s hair — but that’s not a problem, because he never learned to cut women’s hair. After all, he’s chosen to work in a barber shop, not a salon or beauty shop.

Then a tragically confused young woman comes in one day and wants a man’s haircut. He respectfully declines, just as he does for every other woman who asks.

And she considers suing him — to either force him to do what he believes is wrong, or to force him out of business in the process.

Where’s her “tolerance” for others who have beliefs different than her own? Isn’t it de rigueur to call such intolerance toward the barber “bigotry”?

Men and women are different — even the Department of Defense publicly admitted that recently, and the US Army even has different rules on how females are supposed to wear their hair — rules in AR 670-1 Oliver appears to be violating. Just because a private person or business does something for a man does not mean a woman is entitled to an equal outcome (and vice versa).

The day someone threatens to sue Kotex for discrimination because they don’t make male tampons, maybe then…

Repeated at the Stars and Stripes.