Kendal Oliver booked an online appointment with a Southern California barbershop hoping to get his hair trimmed like anyone else. But when he arrived at The Barbershop in Rancho Cucamonga, the owner, Richard Hernandez, said he couldn’t do it because of his faith.
“I have religious convictions that prevent me from cutting women’s hair,” Hernandez told the local NBC affiliate. The barber said he belongs to a local Church of God and according to his understanding of the faith: “It’s a shame for a man to have long hair, but if a woman has long hair, it’s her glory and it speaks to being given to her as her covering, and I don’t want to be one who is taking away from her glory.”
“People go against what God has created, you start getting everything all out of whack,” he said.
Meanwhile, Oliver, who served for 6 years in Afghanistan and identifies as a male, just wants to get a hair cut.
“I don’t see how that should affect a business. I’m a customer here, you provide a service, and everyone is entitled to that service,” Oliver said.
Federal law, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, does not protect transgender people from this kind of discrimination, but California does have a specific law protecting LGBT citizens from this kind of discrimination. There’s no word yet if Oliver will seek to prosecute the barbershop owner.
NBC Los Angeles managed to catch both Hernandez and Oliver in the parking lot in front of the barber shop.
“These are my religious convictions and they would violate my conscience,” Hernandez told Oliver, defending his stance.
“It’s hurtful, it’s embarrassing,” Oliver said in response.