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Allentown bar accused of discriminating against transgender patron

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

A small group of protestors staged a rally outside an Allentown bar Monday night over the ejection of a transgendered customer.

The protestors chanted, "Two, four, six, eight, Cathode does discriminate."  Their outrage stems from a recent incident involving Billie Matthews, a transgender individual.

Matthews was patronizing Cathode Ray with friends when she went to use the ladies room. Matthews claims she was fixing her makeup when a bouncer entered and told her she needed to leave, that men were not allowed in the women's bathroom. Matthews says she took her argument to bar's owner and was ultimately tossed out of the establishment.

Credit Mike Desmond/WBFO News
Billie Matthews was ejected from Cathode Ray

"I told him, hey, I just got kicked out of the bathroom," notes Matthews. "I don't know if you're aware that I'm trans, I'm telling you now. He said what do you want me to do? You're not a woman. You can't be in the bathroom. That's the rule."

Word of the incident spread quickly through social media and the rally was organized early Monday.

Cathode Ray attorney Neil Pawlowski contends the incident is all a misunderstanding

"The trans woman has frequented this bar for years," says Pawlowski. "She's used the female restroom in the past. This is not a shot at her. It was to protect the remaining patrons in the bar, not because she was in there but because of the other occupants that went in there with her."

Pawlowski contends the bar caters to a diverse crowd and is open to anyone in the community.

Credit Mike Desmond/WBFO News
Cathode Ray was the target of protestors claiming transgender discrimination

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.