A Florida woman has filed a complaint alleging she was discriminated against because she wasn’t allowed to stay at an all-male resort that was clothing-optional for gay and bisexual men.
The Island House Key West resort’s owners and attorneys say that they have units for women, but that the specific woman wasn’t allowed to stay because of prior negative behavior, according to Keys Weekly.
The outlet reports that the woman, Amina Chaudhry, had previously been invited to a fundraising event at the resort, but the resort said she had been disruptive.
Chaudhry made the complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations. Rather than seeking monetary damages, Keys Weekly reports she aims to end the resort’s allegedly discriminatory policies and to recover court costs.
Chaudhry’s attendance at the Island House during Key West’s Pride celebration in June 2022 is the basis of the complaint. No restrictions apply to women or guests attending the annual party. And clothing is mandatory around the pool from 5 to 9 p.m.
In 2021 and 2022, Chaudhry went to the Pride kickoff party at the resort.
Chaudhry represented herself via Zoom at an administrative hearing early last week, while two lawyers represented Island House and its owner Bobi Lore.
Lore testified that in 2021 Chaudhry asked him why she couldn’t stay at the resort and why women were not allowed to stay. after the kickoff party ended.
In 2022, Chaudhry also attended the party. This time, she put flyers on the resorts’ tables that said the all-male policy went against the state’s anti-discrimination laws.
In their testimony during last week’s hearing, Lore and resort manager Jeffrey Smead said Chaudhry told them she planned to sue the Island House for discrimination against women, according to Keys Weekly.
“I felt affronted by the fact that there was someone who was invited to the space and enjoying it, but while passing out literature to the detriment of our property and aggravating our guests,” Lore said in court. “We eventually had the police escort her off the property.”
Judge John Van Laningham told Charudhry that she needed to base her case on how she was discriminated against, not solely that the resort’s all-male policy.
“I’m not here to decide in the abstract whether that policy is illegal or discriminatory,” Van Laningham told her. “This is about whether the business individually discriminated against you.”
Chaudhry told the court that after her and nonguests were asked to leave the resort following the 2022 party, she requested a room at the resort from its staff. She said the staff said was fully booked.
Testimony from the hearing included information that the resort had been renting out units since 2003.
“Female guests are not admitted to the main, clothing-optional facility. But, Lore testified, Island House has agreements with Alexander’s Guest House across the street, which allows female guests from the Island House access to its pool and amenities. The Island House also has an agreement with Key West Fitness on Caroline Street for their rare female guests,” Keys Weekly writes.
The outlet reports that attorneys said women only call about twice a year to stay. Another attorney said that the women who call will sometimes mistake the resort for a more family-friendly venue.
“In no way do I want this to be an attack on gay men. I fully support them having safe spaces that are welcoming. I don’t want to go to outer space either, but if someone suddenly said no women were allowed in space, I’d be first to join the protest,” Chaudhry told the outlet.
One of the attorneys said women only call about twice a year about staying at the resort, and those instances are typically errors.
The judge is expected to issue a recommendation within 60 to 90 days to the commission.