"I tried to tell him, 'I’m just like you. Why can't I use the restroom?'"
Two transgender siblings have accused Coachella festival organisers of denying them access to toilets that correspond with their gender identities.
Donavion “Navi” Huskey and Taiyande “Juice” Huskey allege that they were stopped from using the restrooms and were instead directed to use gender-neutral facilities.
The American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Southern California branch sent a letter to the festival organisers on behalf of the siblings on Tuesday (February 26) claiming that Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and Goldenvoice, Inc., failed to comply with the law.
Lawyers Amanda Goad and Stephen Hicklin allege in the note that Coachella flouted the state’s discrimination law that requires business establishments to provide equal accommodations to facilities.
Part of the letter read: “Refusing people access to the restroom which corresponds to their gender identity constitutes a denial to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privilege or services of a business establishment.
“California law is clear across various contexts that individuals have the right to access restrooms (and other gender-segregated facilities) in accordance with their gender identity.”
Navi and Juice, who identify as a transgender woman and transmasculine respectively, said they were refused entry into festival bathrooms by security staff.
Navi claims that she was stopped from trying to use the women’s restroom on the first night of the festival, while Juice was asked to leave the men’s toilets and told to use a gender-neutral bathroom.
Desert Sun reports that during the alleged incident, Juice asked the guard about the refusal.
“I tried to tell him, ‘I’m just like you. Why can’t I use the restroom?'” he said. “[The security guard] led me to the back of the restrooms and made it seem like he was going to show me where the gender-neutral bathrooms were but, as I got outside, he just shut the door behind me.”
Elsewhere in the letter the lawyers claim that no attendees in either restroom objected to neither Navi or Juice’s presence.
ACLU says it is willing to take AEG and Goldenvoice to court though ACLU Legal Fellow Ariana Rodriguez said the organisation would rather to work with festival organisers to ensure there are no repeats of the apparent incidents.