TLDEF Sues Over Gender Expression Discrimination
On October 9th, TLDEF filed suit against Caliente Cab restaurant in New York City on behalf of Khadijah Farmer, a 28 year-old lesbian who was thrown out of the restaurant because a bouncer thought that she was too masculine-looking to be in the women's restroom.
On the night of June 24, after New York's LGBT Pride March, Khadijah, her girlfriend and another friend went to Caliente Cab. When Khadijah went to use the women's restroom, the restaurant's bouncer followed her in, pounded on the door of the stall she was using and proceeded to throw her out of the bathroom and the restaurant, despite her attempts to show him her identification demonstrating that she is, in fact, female.
Many transgender and gender non-conforming people experience harassment and discrimination when trying to access sex-segregated facilities like bathrooms. Khadijah's case highlights the deeply interconnected nature of the struggle for transgender rights and lesbian and gay rights. Gender expression discrimination can affect anyone -- transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual or straight.
Indeed, Khadijah's case shows us that the so-called "gay only" ENDA that recently passed the House of Representatives is misnamed. It's "gay minus," missing essential protections from the gender-based discrimination that can sometimes be as debilitating to gay men and lesbians as it can be to transgender people.
The lawsuit, Farmer v. Caliente Cab Restaurant Company, Inc., includes claims under the New York City and New York State Human Rights Laws, and seeks a court order barring Caliente from continuing to discriminate on the basis of gender expression. It also seeks damages for the violation of Khadijah's civil rights, as well as punitive damages designed to punish the restaurant for its wrongdoing.
Demonstration flier (read about the demonstration here).