Trans siblings Donavion “Navi” Huskey and Taiyande “Juice” Huskey are taking legal action after being denied bathroom access at last year’s Coachella, reported the Desert Sun.
According to a letter released Tuesday (February 26) by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California, the siblings were refused access to gender-specific bathrooms by security guards at the famous music festival, held in April of 2018.
Navi, who’s a transgender woman, said she was stopped by a security guard from using the women’s toilet. She said not only had no one complained about her being there, but the guard didn’t offer an explanation.
The next night, Juice – who identifies as transmasculine and uses they/them pronouns– had a similar experience. Juice was prevented from using their preferred men’s restroom and was instead instructed to use a gender-neutral bathroom by a security guard.
“No one should be treated the way Navi and Juice were at Coachella 2018, either at a future Coachella festival or at any of the other converts and venues,” the letter said, calling for “clear, legally sound policies regarding restrooms and other gendered facilities.”
The letter expressed fear of misinformation about Coachella’s inclusion polices among other LGBTQ patrons.
“We are concerned about the high likelihood that… other patrons will be misled by Coachella’s marketing as a safe place for the LGBTQ community only to find that, in fact, these representations are untrue, and to endure hurtful confrontation and exclusion like our clients and others have,” the letter read.
Coachella currently offers “male, female, and all-gender restrooms” as part of its “Every One” initiative to ensure “persons of any gender identity or expression, sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, age or ability are welcome at Coachella.”
According to the ACLU’s letter, the treatment the siblings faced is illegal under California’s Civil Rights Act and Civil Code, which states: “All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal, and no matter what their sex . . . are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever.”
While the letter made it clear the ACLU was willing to take AEG and Goldenvoice – the companies behind Coachella – to court, it may not be necessary, as Coachella organizers issued a statement to the Desert Sun calling the siblings’ treatment “intolerable.”
“This is not reflective of the safe and inclusive festival culture that we strive for, and this behavior is intolerable,” the statement said. “We are reaching out to invite both Navi and Juice to our offices to help us perfect this program for 2019 for all patrons of any gender identity or expression, sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, age or ability.”
Coachella has received anti-LGBTQ criticism in the past. The owner of the festival and head of AEG, Phillip Anschultz, faced backlash in 2017 for donating $190,000 to anti-LGBTQ groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom, National Christian Foundation, and Family Research Council. Anschultz denied claims that he was homophobic to the Advocate, saying: “Recent claims published in the media that I am anti-LGBTQ are nothing more than fake news — it is all garbage. I unequivocally support the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation.”
According to Gay Star News, supermodel Cara Delevinge posted on her Instagram story last year that she refused to go to a festival “owned by someone who is anti-LGBT.”