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Oklahoma City restaurant’s transgender bathroom sign causing controversy

OKLAHOMA CITY - A controversial sign at a popular metro restaurant is raising eyebrows and concerns.

For about 10 months, a sign has been posted at the Steak and Catfish Barn that tells patrons they do not have a transgender bathroom “so don’t be caught in the wrong one."

Paula Schonauer, a transgender woman, was just recently made aware of it.

“I was disturbed,” Schonauer said. “It was really a let down.”

She said the message is discriminatory and the last sentence scares her.

“That sign has an implied threat and a threat that’s very real to me,” Schonauer said.

“You’ve got this sign implying a threat of potential violence against somebody for going to pee. That’s not the Oklahoma standard. That’s not what it means to be American. That’s just wrong,” Troy Stevenson, with Freedom Oklahoma, said.

Restaurant owner Bob Warner told NewsChannel 4 his sign is not a threat, just a warning.

“We have a lot of redneck guys that come in here. Truck drivers and everything. They’re big husky guys and I said ‘man alive!’ If their wife or their little girl walked in that bathroom and a man followed them in there, I wouldn’t have a restaurant,” Warner said.

He said the intent of his message is to protect his property and customers, including those who are transgender.

“I don’t want to see nobody hurt,” Warner said.

Schonauer clearly does not view the sign the same way and hopes it can be used to educate people.

“It’s an opportunity to show what transgender people deal with on a daily basis, unfortunately, but it’s also a time to put out the word and rally our support,” Schonauer said.

We asked Warner if the sign means transgender people cannot use the bathroom at all at his restaurant, and he said no.

He said as long as they are dressed appropriately they can go in.