Lesbian Kicked Out of Women's Bathroom Sues New York Restaurant
By Gerri Elder
We live in a society which people can choose to tailor their personal looks however they choose. Men and women have always come in all shapes, sizes and colors, but it has only been in recent years that such diversity has finally gained acceptance. Or has it?
Khadijah Farmer is a 28 year old lesbian. She says that she was a victim of gender discrimination recently and has filed a personal injury lawsuit because of it.
In June, Farmer and her girlfriend went to a Greenwich Village restaurant, Caliente Cab Company, after attending the gay pride parade in New York City. When Farmer used the ladies room at the restaurant, another patron of Caliente Cab Company thought she was male and reported to the management that there was a man in the ladies restroom.
A bouncer removed Farmer from the ladies room and then forced her to leave the restaurant because he also thought she was a man.
Farmer was made uncomfortable, embarrassed, hurt and humiliated by the incident. Her hair is closely cropped, she does not use feminine cosmetics and she wears clothing that is traditionally worn by men. Indeed, Farmer's look is decidedly masculine. However, underneath it all she is still female. She is a gay woman in New York City and reasonably expects to be accepted as such.
In her lawsuit, which has been filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Farmer is demanding that Caliente Cab Company provide its workers with sensitivity training. She is also seeking an unspecified amount of money for damages.
Farmer says that what happened to her should not ever happen to anyone. She says that when the bouncer confronted her in the ladies room she produced her ID, which clearly is proof that she is a woman. According to Farmer, the bouncer would not even look at her ID and decided to eject her from the restaurant solely based on her looks.
Michael Silverman, who heads the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, is Farmer's personal injury lawyer. He is outraged and offended by the way the restaurant handled the incident. He says that in response to Farmer's complaint, they have offered her a free meal, which is clearly a slap in the face.
The restaurant has responded to Farmer's lawsuit and claim that she is bringing a lawsuit against them because she sees it as a chance to get some money from them. They deny that they acted inappropriately or did anything wrong and accuse Farmer of not being interested in the truth.
So, does a woman have to wear a skirt and heels to use a ladies room? While Farmer may choose to look masculine with her hairstyle and clothing choices, in our society should she need to wear a pink tag to alert people that she is female? She thought that her identification, which proves her gender, would be enough and still feels that it should have been. She thinks the jury will agree with her and punish the Caliente Cab Company for their insensitivity and the humiliation they put her through.