Vivien Houston says she was denied service at a barbershop in The Gap because she is a woman.
Vivien Houston says she was denied service at a barbershop in The Gap because she is a woman.

Barber refuses to give woman a haircut

UPDATE: CELEBRITY hairdresser Stefan said it was "sad" and "logic and common sense had been lost" in the decision by shopping centre management to place gender conditions on a barber's lease.

Brisbane woman Vivien Houston has lodged a complaint with the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commission, claiming Jimmy Rod's Barbershop at The Gap Village Shopping Centre refused her service because she was a woman.

The owner of The Gap's Jimmy Rod's Barbershop has told a media outlet his "hands are tied", because of a lease agreement which prevents his business from competing against women's salons in the complex.

He has since told the ABC that he was brokering a new lease with the shopping centre without the clause excluding women. 

Stefan said the shopping centre was likely to lose customers and for no reason, as a barber shop and a hair salon usually attracted different customers.

"It's very sad. I don't believe that it's right," Stefan said.

"It's where logic and common sense has become lost. The market for a barber's shop is almost a different to that to a ladies' hairdressing shop … and stopping the barber is going to help the other person's business.

"As if stopping him is going to make the other hairdresser's life any better, it won't. It will turn people away from the centre."

National Retail Association CEO Dominique Lamb said shopping centre management had the right to choose their leasees but not the right to instruct them who can serve.

"It's uncommon in my view that a lessor would try to prevent a leasee from interacting with consumer on whatever basis," she said.

"Landlord's get the right to pick who they have within their centres… but not how they run their business … and directing them to behave against the law or any compliance."

Jimmy Rod's managing director James O'Brien told the ABC the store does not discriminate and the rule was made by centre management.

"We are exclusively only to cut men's hair due to three other hairdressers being in the centre, and if we do cut women's hair there, we will be breached and it could cause our lease to get cancelled," he said.

"Unfortunately I can't negotiate. That's the centre's rules. In all our other stores - we have 13 shops - we cut women's hair."

Ms Houston posted on Facebook on the weekend that she was recently denied service because of her sex despite being attended to at Jimmy Rod's at The Barracks and at The Gap for about four years.

Her post attracted more than 100 comments within hours of being put up on The Gap Grapevine.

"I have a male's style cut from a barber. Female hairdressing salons do not cut my hair in align (sic) with what I feel comfortable with,'' she wrote in her post.

"So I've gone to several barbershops in Brisbane over the last few years with no problems.

"(On Saturday) I went into Jimmy Rod's at The Gap Village and was turned away.

"The reason, I was told, was that they have a clause in their lease that does not allow them to cut hair - the other hair salons in the centre don't want business taken from them.

"We rang centre management about this and they confirmed the lease and expressed quite an uneducated understanding of gender fluidity and LGBTQI (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Intersex) issues.''

Ms Houston said she subsequently went to another barbershop at Paddington which was happy to give her a haircut.

Jimmy Rod's was contacted for comment earlier this morning, as was the shopping centre management.

Staff at The Gap Village salon Transform Hair declined to comment and the manager of Gap Hair Design, the only other salon in the precinct, was "at a seminar'' and unavailable to speak.

EARLIER: A WOMAN who claims a barber refused her service because she is a woman has lodged a complaint with the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commission.

But the owner of The Gap's Jimmy Rod's Barbershop told a media outlet his "hands are tied", because of a lease agreement which prevented his business from competing against women's salons in the The Gap Village Shopping Centre, Quest Newspapers reports.

Vivien Houston posted on Facebook on the weekend that was recently denied service because of her sex despite being attended to at Jimmy rod's at The Barracks and at The Gap for about four years.

Her post attracted more than 100 comments within hours of being put up on The Gap Grapevine.

"I have a male's style cut from a barber. Female hairdressing salons do not cut my hair in align (ment) with what I feel comfortable with,'' she wrote in her post.

"So I've gone to several barbershops in Brisbane over the last few years with no problems.

"(On Saturday) I went into Jimmy Rod's at The Gap Village and was turned away.

"The reason, I was told, was that they have a clause in their lease that does not allow them to cut hair - the other hair salons in the centre don't want business taken from them.

"We rang centre management about this and they confirmed the lease and expressed quite an uneducated understanding of gender fluidity and LGBTQI (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Intersex) issues.''

Ms Houston said she subsequently went to another barbershop at Paddington which was happy to give her a haircut.

Jimmy Rod's was contacted for comment earlier this morning, as was the shopping centre management.

News Corp Australia


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