Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-04-01
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Drag performers allege discrimination at beauty-supply store
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

[This item updated Jan. 27, 7:30 a.m.]

On Jan. 23 at around 5 p.m. eight drag performers with the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus entered Elim Wig & Beauty Supply on North Broadway in Uptown to shop for wigs for their upcoming drag show.

Brandon Trumfio, one of the shoppers, explained that they decided to shop at Elim because they had been buying wigs from the store for more than 10 years and had great experiences with the store staff in the past. He noted that he'd just bought a wig at Elim a week prior to the group's visit and was there to help his friends pick out their wigs.

"We started at the jewelry stores on Clark Street and had a great time purchasing accessories," said Trumfio. "We walked in and headed to the back, where two of the four employees in the store happily helped us pick out and try on some wigs. At the time, there were three other shoppers in the store.

"After about 20 minutes, this lady from the front of the store—whom I can only assume was a manager—came back and started yelling at us. She specifically said that there 'were too many of us.' What does that mean? Too many gay men shopping at once? She also said we 'were making the other customers uncomfortable' and finally the kicker—that 'this store was for women' and that 'you have to go.' We were all so shocked that we didn't even know how to respond and proceeded to leave without even putting up a fight.

"Personally, I have never experienced such blatant discrimination in my whole life. I've never been kicked out of a store and told that I wasn't allowed to shop there. I feel like we had just stepped back into a time machine—to a time when discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity was allowed. But this is Illinois, and we have protections against discrimination like this."

Reginald Owens and Mark Sherman were among the other individuals involved in the alleged incident.

"The associate asking us to leave 'because this is a store for women' is an absolute slap in the face," said Owens. "We were at a jewelry store on Clark Street an hour before we went to Elim and spent well over $500 at that store. I really can't comprehend the logic of asking eight repeat customers to leave because one customer has homophobic issues. Every day it becomes more obvious that there's a struggle we have yet to win. But I'm a proud Black gay man who does drag and I will continue to lift myself up and fight every day."

"We decided to go to Elim because, in the past, it's been known by us as a tolerant and welcoming place," said Sherman. "We were respectful to the merchandise, well mannered and polite customers looking forward to making some purchases. After trying on several wigs with employee assistance, a woman employee who was not previously assisting us loudly and aggressively told us to 'make our purchases and leave,' 'you have to leave,' 'you are making customers uncomfortable,' [and] 'This is a store for women, not men; you have to go.'

"We quietly gathered our belongings from the front of the store and left the premises without a word—shocked and in awe. Most of us had shopped at that store for wigs, jewelry and make-up for years. We felt comfortable there. That only added to how shocking it was to be asked to leave because we were 'men in a women's store.'

"Specifically, for me, I have been out of the closet since 1995. I have experienced hate, verbal abuse and discrimination my entire life for nothing more than the crime of existing just as I am, living as a gay man. Over the years, these types of incidents have lessened in number and the world has become a much more tolerant and accepting place to live as a social minority. However, there's nothing quite like the same knife cutting open the same wound. The pain and hatred of discrimination is just as raw and ugly as the first time it is experienced."

When asked about the incident in question, Elim Wig & Beauty Supply President Michael Yim said, "No customer was 'kicked out' of Elim Wig & Beauty Supply on Jan. 23, 2016. … If the customers who made this allegation to your publication were not fully satisfied with our service, we kindly extend our invitation for them to visit us again. We would be more than happy to assist them in any way we can."

Trumfio has also shared their story on social media and filed an official complaint on behalf of the group with the Illinois Civil Rights Bureau.

"At the very least this will be on their record so that if further complaints are filed against Elim, the city can take action," said Trumfio. "I will say that finding the proper place to report a civil-rights violation was kind of tricky, as city websites are a little hard to navigate. My first thought was the Better Business Bureau, but they do not handle discrimination claims. So, I continued searching and found a form for the Civil Rights Bureau at;

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Virtual reading of Terrence McNally's Mothers and Sons April 16 2020-04-03 - In honor of Terrence McNally, who recently passed away at age 81 of complications from COVID-19. Four actors, each participating from a remote ...

Gay News

FDA loosens restrictions on gay men who donate blood 2020-04-02 - On April 2, The Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) said it would loosen some of the restrictions that have blocked gay ...

Gay News

'All in Illinois' launched to reinforce message to stay home 2020-04-02 - Gov. JB Pritzker launched a new statewide effort April 2 called "All in Illinois" to reinforce the state's core message, backed by scientists ...

Gay News

Lightfoot names next police superintendent 2020-04-02 - Mayor Lori Lightfoot named former Dallas police Chief David Brown as the next leader of the Chicago Police Department at an April 2 ...

Gay News

Arts for Illinois launches with grants for artists, groups 2020-04-01 - Arts Alliance Illinois joined Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in launching Arts for Illinois—a collaboration between the State of ...

Gay News

STREAMING THEATER REVIEW Methtacular! 2020-04-01 - Playwright: Steven Strafford Via: 16th Street Theater, 6420 16th St., Berwyn. Tickets: 708-795-6704 or; . $12 per person/on your honor. Available through: ...

Gay News

Open Letter to Cook County on COVID-19, Cook County jail decarceration 2020-04-01 - UPDATE Correction: A previous version of this message was sent out in error without including the Chicago Community Bond Fund, a primary author ...

Gay News

Cook County commissioner urges census participation 2020-03-31 - Cook County Commissioner Kevin B. Morrison will wrap up "#2020Census at the Brookfield Zoo," a weekly video series featuring information about the 2020 ...

Gay News

Court Theatre reschedules The Gospel at Colonus to the 2020-2021 season 2020-03-31 - Chicago, IL - Court Theatre, under the continuing leadership of Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director, and Angel Ysaguirre, Executive Director, announces ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Lesbian bishop, iconic activist dies, military lawsuit, drag legend passes 2020-03-31 - Rev. Bonnie Perry was recently ordained as the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan—beconing the first woman and openly gay person ...


Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.