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The Non-Trans Woman Thrown Out Of A NY Women's Restroom Sues

The New York Times reported in their article Ejection of a Woman From a Women’s Room Prompts Lawsuit:

Khadijah Farmer[W]e had not heard of a woman being thrown out of a women’s room — by a worker who didn’t believe she was really a woman — until now.

The woman, Khadijah Farmer, a 28-year-old who lives in Hell’s Kitchen, says she was at the Caliente Cab restaurant in the West Village after the Gay Pride Parade on June 24, when she left the table to go to the women’s room. While she was in there, the male bouncer burst into the bathroom.

“He began pounding on the stall door saying someone had complained that there was a man inside the women’s bathroom, that I had to leave the bathroom and the restaurant,” Ms. Farmer said. “Inside the stall door, I could see him. That horrified me, and it made me feel extremely uncomfortable. I said to him, ‘I’m a female, and I’m supposed to be in here.’ After I came out of the bathroom stall, I attempted to show him my ID to show him that I was in the right place, and he just refused to look at my identification. His exact words were, ‘Your ID is neither here nor there,’ which means that my ID didn’t matter to him.”

Ms. Farmer, who is lesbian, describes herself as “not the most feminine,” but she has been a woman her entire life. Her New York State non-driver photo identification card clearly lists her sex as female.

…Today, on Ms. Farmer’s behalf, the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court in Manhattan against Caliente Cab, asserting that she was the victim of gender discrimination.

When we discuss ENDA, we shouldn’t be naive. Emasculate women and effeminate men get discriminated against because of their gender expression. The story above, while in its extreme circumstances is unusual, is indicative of a more common experience of people being discriminated against because they don’t conform to societal gender norms.

My own U.S. Navy experience of being sexually harassed for effeminate behavior is documented on the HRC’s website. I was in the U.S. Navy and living as a male at the time of my harassment — the harassment was considered male-to-male sexual harassment.

Khadijah Farmer’s story is important in and of itself because it’s a test on New York City’s law on public accommodation — how well does NYC’s law protect against discrimination based on gender identity or expression. But, it’s not a big mental leap to realize that if discrimination occurs in the area of public accommodation, it’s also likely happening in the area of employment.

Farmer’s story tells us one doesn’t have to be transgender to be discriminated against because of gender identity or expression.

* Diary: How Ignoring Gender Harms Lesbians
* Lesbian booted from NYC bar for looking too masculine

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Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen