Eli Orzessek is Travel's Digital Content Producer.

Airbnb bans host for transgender discrimination

Shadi Petosky was turned down for a Minneapolis Airbnb rental because she was a transgender woman. Photo / iStock
Shadi Petosky was turned down for a Minneapolis Airbnb rental because she was a transgender woman. Photo / iStock

Airbnb is facing new accusations of discrimination after a transgender woman was denied a rental property by a host.

TV writer and producer Shadi Petosky's experience went viral after she tweeted: "I was denied @Airbnb because I disclosed that I'm trans. Airbnb did nothing. Had I not disclosed I'd be "dishonest"".


She shared a screenshot of her host's rejection of her booking, which said: "I really appreciate your honesty.

I'll have to pass though, but thank you. I have a 13 year old boy going through puberty. I don't want him to feel any discomforts in his own home. Again, thanks for your inquiry & your honesty!"

While Petosky had complained directly to the company when she tried to book the Minneapolis property last year, the host was later upgraded to "super host status", before being removed when the complaint was made public this week.

"This notion that people have that trans people are dangerous to children is just awful," Petosky told Forbes. "I work in children's entertainment, and the idea that I could be harmful to children is upsetting and potentially career-ending."


Airbnb said it was reviewing its discrimination policy in wake of the accusations.

"Discrimination has no place in the Airbnb community. We are removing this host from Airbnb," a spokesman for the company told Fox News.


The complaint followed other reports of discrimination from African-Americans using the holiday accommodation service.


Earlier this year, 25 -year-old US man Gregory Selden said he was turned down for an Airbnb rental in Philadelphia due to his race.

The host was caught out after Selden set up two fake profiles as white men and tried to book the property for the same dates. Both profiles were accepted.

Many other similar experiences were shared on social media under the hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack.


A 2014 study from Harvard University that found Airbnb "requests from guests with distinctively African American names are roughly 16 per cent less likely to be accepted than identical guests with distinctively white names."

Two rival start-ups have since launched - Noirbnb and Noirebnb - both offering an Airbnb-like service for African Americans.

Tech entrepreneur Rohan Gilkes told USA Today he started Noirebnb after an Idaho host declined his request, but accepted one from his white friend for the same dates.

The founders of Noirbnb, Ronnie Cherry and Stefan Grant, started the service after neighbours at their Atlanta Airbnb rental mistook them for robbers and called the police.

After taking a selfie with the police, Airbnb offered them free bookings and flew them to San Francisco to hear their story.

- nzherald.co.nz

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