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A gay man was denied entry to a casino because 'men do not carry purses'

The casino staff claimed they were worried that a man carrying a "bag" may have explosives in it.

A gay man was denied entry to a casino because 'men do not carry purses'
Cover Image Source: Facebook/Jordan Kirk

An Arkansas man is calling out the discrimination he faced at a local casino after he was denied entry for carrying a bag. Jordan Kirk and his husband had been visiting Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, Arkansas, on August 7 when they found themselves barred at the entrance by a security guard who told them he couldn't enter with the bag. When Kirk pointed out that the rule wasn't being enforced on women carrying similars-sized and larger bags, he was told it's because "men don't wear purses." Sharing the incident on Facebook along with photographs of some of the bags he spotted inside the casino, he wrote: "Discrimination, Sexism, and Bigotry are real."



"Tonight while enjoying our first date night in quite a while, we visited Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort while following all Covid Safety Guidelines. I was denied entry because I was carrying a bag. I was told my 'bag' was too large, and I could put my wallet in my pocket, return my bag back to the car, and then I could come in. I informed the security guard that this is my man purse (murse) and I would not be putting it back in the car, to which I was told men do not carry purses they carry bags and because it goes over my shoulder it is considered a bag... and it would have to be returned to the car if I wished to enter for the second time," Kirk recounted. 



"A nice young lady behind us agreed that it was my purse and argued that her purse was much larger. She told the security guard that he was discriminating against me for having a purse. We requested a floor supervisor to come and 'resolve' the issue. The floor supervisor agreed men do not carry purses and I was not allowed on the floor unless I returned my bag to the car. We asked if a woman was to carry my bag through the door as a purse, would it be allowed? And they told us YES! I was just infuriated and determined to make my point that I was getting inside with my murse or going to cause a much larger scene," he continued.



Kirk revealed that when he pointed out at least 10 women carrying bags large enough to carry small toddlers and in some cases, backpacks, he was told that "women need their purses, yours is just a bag." Frustrated by the clear discrimination against him, he asked the floor supervisor if they would have a problem with his purse if he had a vagina. "He told me if I was a woman, I could carry a purse inside Oaklawn onto the Casino Floor. What is the difference between a man carrying a man purse (murse) and a woman carrying a purse? Is it any of your business? NOPE! So after a few minutes, we called a general manager down to get his view on the situation, it was determined that if I allowed the security guard to search my bag I could carry it in and on the Casino Floor," Kirk wrote.



The casino staff informed Kirk that they were worried that a man carrying a "bag" may have explosives in it. "You're kidding me? Because I'm gay, I'm carrying a man purse... now I may carry explosives? I agreed to have my bag searched because I have nothing to hide, but I did inform them how I felt unfairly treated because the women are not being searched as they enter with much larger bags which could be better at hiding explosives," he wrote. "Also, I don't even know where to get explosives!! Who is going to blow up their Louis Vuitton on purpose?"



Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort failed to directly address Kirk's concern in a statement provided to KARK. "In keeping with our policy and commitment to provide the highest level of safety precautions, our personnel reserve the right to inspect incoming bags, backpacks, satchels, etc. regardless of form or size. It is essential we reserve this right in light of Oaklawn being a large public venue. We've appropriately addressed Mr. Kirk's incident with the team members who were involved along with their supervisors. As an important point of clarification, the General Manager of Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort was not present during this incident but our regularly scheduled security team and casino floor manager were there and did permit Mr. Kirk to enter the facility with his bag. Finally, Oaklawn would like to apologize for any inconvenience this incident may have caused Mr. Kirk," said the statement. 



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