School closings

Allegation of transgender discrimination at former Horseshoe Casino

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CLEVELAND, Ohio – An alleged act of bias, caught on camera, inside a place where people press their luck.

Gerri Candice Hollowell, 50, who is transgender, lives in Las Vegas, but is in town visiting family.

Hollowell says it was just after midnight on April 23 when she and a group of friends tried to enter the then Horseshoe casino in downtown Cleveland.

"The security guard actually stopped me and said 'let me see your I.D.' Mind you, I’m with other people and she didn't ask for anyone else's I.D. but mine," Hollowell said.

What happens next is captured on her cell phone camera..

The audio in the video starts with a person believed to be a security guard saying "Casino has rules about you have to match your I.D., so hang on a second." "Okay, my face is matching my I.D., so I’m saying you're making a problem."

You can hear a security guard raising concerns about Hollowell's appearance not matching the gender on her Nevada driver's license, which says male.

The verbal altercation continues for another ten minutes.

“No, we're not going to fight. You're going to try and tell me because I’m transgender, I can't get up in the casino. She's going to tell me you have to match your I.D. I’m matching my I.D."

“And she told me, I don't know how you guys do it in Vegas, but here in Cleveland, we just don't let anybody into our casinos," Hollowell added.

Candice says she was eventually allowed to enter the casino, but was too angry to stay.

She did return the next day to file an incident report.

The casino, released a statement to FOX 8 which reads in part, "JACK Cleveland casino welcomes all guests regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. We intend to continue our investigation of this guest`s concerns."

Civil rights attorney Avery Friedman, said there is no law on the books that states appearance and license gender must match.

As for any violations on the casinos part, Friedman says, "Sex bias is unlawful. Is transgender bias unlawful? And at this point, congress hasn't answered that question."

As for taking any legal action, Hollowell is exploring all options.

But for now, says an apology and sensitivity training for staff would suffice.

“Because they can't have the proper training if this woman, actually genuinely thought that this was a problem. These people hurt me."

Google Map for coordinates 41.499320 by -81.694361.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.