Corona Tavern Accused Of Discrimination Against Trans Patrons

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A Medicine Hat, Alta. bar is being accused of discrimination after allegedly barring a trans woman from the women's washroom.

In early July, 21-year-old Calgarian River Rising visited the Corona Tavern.

Rising wrote in a Facebook post that when she went to use the bar's washroom, staff asked her inappropriate questions about her gender transition and told her that if she tried to use the women's washroom she would be removed from the bar.


“It made me feel hurt, isolated…they couldn’t kick me out of the bar for being trans because it made them feel uncomfortable, they made me feel uncomfortable so I would leave," she told Metro News.

Rising later learned that shortly after her visit, management had posted a sign reading "You must use the bathroom of your birth gender."

"I am disgusted they think this degrading and archaic behaviour is acceptable or even legal," she wrote on Facebook.

New sign put up

The bar's management initially defended the decision.

"If somebody is transgender and they are living the life that they are living they wouldn't make a big deal about it... transgender people do not make a big deal about being transgender," the bar's owner Lorraine Schmaltz told Medicine Hat's Community TV.

Listen to Schmaltz's interview with Community TV:

Now, the sign has been removed and replaced with a sign alerting customers to a "gender neutral washroom."

Schmaltz released a statement saying that the bar was simply trying to prevent men from entering the women's washroom, and says she hopes the new sign will address that problem.


However, some feel the bar is continuing to discriminate against trans patrons.

"Creating a gender neutral washroom and forcing people who they feel don’t fit what society says a girl should look like is very discriminatory," activist Marni Panas told Global News.

“Our laws … both explicit in Alberta’s Human Rights Act and through case law protects our right to use facilities that correspond with our gender identity."

"I think a lot of people are going to take their business elsewhere, whether they're transgender or not," bar patron Kaitlin Whitney told CBC News.

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