Southampton licensee faces criticism from civil liberties groups

Related tags Discrimination

A Southampton licensee is facing criticism from civil rights groups after banning transvestites from his pub.Simon Dawson, who took over the tenancy...

A Southampton licensee is facing criticism from civil rights groups after banning transvestites from his pub.

Simon Dawson, who took over the tenancy of the Hampshire Ram in the February, has decided to reposition the pub as a city centre local rather than actively promoting it as a gay venue.

The pub, owned by brewer Young's, has previously been featured in gay listings magazines and websites by previous tenants, and used to hold events such as strip shows aimed at the gay community.

Mr Dawson has written to the magazines informing them that the pub no longer actively caters for the gay community and should not be listed as doing so. He has also declined to serve men dressed as women, claiming it deterred other customers.

However civil rights groups say Mr Dawson's decision is discriminatory against transvestites.

A spokesman for Liberty said: "This appears to be out and out discrimination and is probably challengeable in law."

The pub had been through three tenants in quick succession and Mr Dawson is understood to have believed the change of focus was necessary to make the business viable. When contacted by The Publican, Mr Dawson said he did not want to give any more interviews on the matter.

The Hampshire Ram's change of policy follows a recent court ruling that Northampton landlord John Gawthorp had not discriminated against five transsexuals who were asked to leave his pub, the Red Lion. The group had wanted to use the ladies toilet.

Related articles:

Transsexuals lose discrimination case (15 August 2003)

Transsexuals take landlord to court alleging sexual discrimination Published (23 July 2003)

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