Nevaeh Love is a man who identifies as a woman. In September 2017, the ACLU of Florida filed a lawsuit on his behalf alleging he had been “ejected from a place of public accommodation because [he] is transgender.” Specifically, Love alleged he was “singled out and asked to move from [his] seat at an adults-only fundraising event.” The event was advertised as open to “ladies only” and featured male exotic dancers who allegedly “expressed objections to performing their show, which involved some degree of disrobing and mingling with the patrons, if a person they considered to be male was in the audience.” Event organizers allegedly asked Love to sit further back in the audience.
The case was presented to Judge Edward P. Nickinson of the First Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, who apparently distinguished Love’s case from similar cases alleging discrimination in which sexual acts were not a factor. According to Judge Nickinson, “No person should be required to perform body-contact sexual or sexually suggestive acts with another except by consent. The court believes that a judgment in favor of Ms. Love, in this case, would violate that basic premise.”
Further, Judge Nickinson wrote:
“Here, the dancers clearly did not consider Ms. Love to be a ‘woman’ for purposes of their performance, and the court sees no reason why, for that limited purpose, Ms. Love should be able to force those dancers to think otherwise.”
(emphasis added). He also noted that “the Court does not take issue with any of the multitude of cases finding that statutory prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of sex extend to transgender persons” in concluding that Love should not prevail on the claims alleged in the complaint.