The Iowa Civil Rights Commission helped rural Humboldt County resident Charlene Adams win the right to use a restroom that corresponds to her gender identity.
Charlene Adams says she was blocked from using the women’s restroom at a small-town bar and was sexually assaulted by people outside the business during a festival.
The incidents took place in July 2010 during a celebration in Rolfe, roughly a 20-minute drive from Adams’ Humboldt farm.
Adams said she was alone and sitting at a picnic table outside Wes’s Place, trying to participate in karaoke, when she was approached by three or four men who asked her profane questions about her anatomy and felt her breasts to try to determine if they were real.
She said one of the patrons made fun of her while she sang her first song. After that, she thought the attitude toward her in the bar turned uncomfortable. She said that the taunting escalated and that law enforcement was ultimately called to escort her from the bar. Before she left, she said, she was prohibited from using the women’s restroom.
Adams said she did not report to police the alleged fondling of her breasts.
The owners of Wes’s Place could not be reached for comment, but a summary of the settlement shows they denied wrongdoing. Nonetheless, bar owners agreed in August 2012 to allow Adams or any other patron identifying as female to use the women’s restroom and to allow anyone identifying as a man to use the men’s restroom.