Professional writer and television producer Shadi Petosky has spoken out after she was refused accommodation due to her being a transgender woman.
Ms. Petosky, who produces the animated television series ‘Danger & Eggs’ for Amazon, shared the incident on social media following the incident.
After applying to stay at one of the homes that Airbnb had on offer she made her trans status known to the host, wanting to be as honest as possible. She then received a response from the host telling her that she would not be welcome to stay, with the host citing the comfort of her teenage son as a factor in this decision.
Ms Petosky has said that she is used to people trying to use their children as a shield to hide their transphobia, with the apparent fear of children’s safety being a major argument in many of the anti-trans bathroom bills that are being enforced in America.
‘I think that she’s using some kind of coded language that is really affecting trans people right now.’ She said. ‘The idea that we’re negatively impacting kids or hurting children is a really hard thing for trans people. They don’t realise we’re parents too.’
Ms. Petosky filed a complaint with Airbnb about the incident in 2015, but she received no response from the company. What she did notice after her contact with them, however, was that the host was upgraded to ‘super host’ status, which awards the host with multiple five-star reviews. Whether this was due to happen anyway or not, the timing does, unfortunately, make it appear that Airbnb rewarded the host for their discrimination of Ms. Petosky.
Only after the issue was made public on social media and numerous people have spoken out about the incident and the lack of response from Airbnb was any action apparently taken, with the host in question being removed from their website.
Airbnb was taken to task for their pinned Pride Tweet
— Airbnb (@Airbnb) June 2, 2016
Nobody asked me but I don’t think @airbnb should have banned the host without notice — would rather see education / compromise.
— Shadi Petosky (@shadipetosky) June 8, 2016
The Public Affairs Director for Airbnb, Nick Pappas, has said, ‘Discrimination has no place in the Airbnb community. We are conducting a comprehensive review and examining what can be done to ensure we resolve these kinds of issues quickly and help make sure everyone is treated fairly.’
Whilst some people have been quick to defend the Airbnb host, claiming that as this is a person’s private property that is being offered as accommodation, and should be allowed to deny access to anyone that they wish. However, this is not the case when someone signs up to become an Airbnb host. As they are providing a paid service they must provide that service without discriminating against people, which was not done in this case.
Sadly Ms. Petosky is not a stranger to discrimination, last year she went public about the discrimination she faced as a transgender woman when she was held for questioning by the TSA after she was identified as trans by one of their body scanners, a scenario that many trans people have experienced.