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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Discrimination Against Those Different From Mainstream Citizens

Granny's post below this one is a perfect example of how citizens who are different from the mainstream suffer discrimination, bias, maltreatment, and yes, abuse by authorities as well as the public. (Please read her post).


This post is about an event that was much less tragic and yet was humiliating and degrading to the individuals involved. Whereas the bouncer was correct to investigate what he thought was a man invading the ladies room, he was far offbase to ignore the woman's effort to prove her gender and to evict her party.

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Bounced from the bathroom for being different

Woman mistaken for man claims eatery deaf to her explanation, protests

NBC News video
She was kicked out of a ladies’ room
Oct. 11: Khadijah Farmer was tossed out by a bouncer because he thought she was a man. She spoke with TODAY’s Meredith Vieira.

Today show




By Mike Celizic
TODAYShow.com contributor
Updated: 10:16 a.m. CT Oct 11, 2007

Khadijah Farmer doesn’t wear makeup, has close-cut hair and wears men’s business clothing, so she understands when she is frequently mistaken for a man. What she refuses to tolerate is being thrown out of a Manhattan restaurant for using the women’s bathroom.

That’s what happened to Farmer on June 24 when she, her girlfriend and another friend went to the Caliente Cab Company to eat after attending New York’s Gay Pride Parade. A male bouncer followed her into the women’s room, banged on the stall door and, when she came out, refused to look at her identification and demanded that she and her friends leave.

“I was in there maybe a minute” when the bouncer came in, she told TODAY co-host Meredith Vieira on Thursday.

“I replied from inside the stall, and I told him that I’m a woman and I’m supposed to be here,” she said. “I could see him through the crack in the stall door — that was really frightening. When I came out of the stall, I attempted to show him my identification to prove that I was in the right bathroom.”

The bouncer, she said, refused to look at the proof of her identity and gender. Instead, he took her upstairs to the seating area, made her party pay for the appetizers they’d already eaten, and showed them the door.

“Needless to say, that night was incredibly embarrassing and quite humiliating,” Farmer, a counselor for people with disabilities, said. “I didn’t do anything except go to the bathroom.”

Farmer says she called the restaurant manager the next day to complain about the way she was treated, and was offered a free meal.

She wanted the management to assure her that it would train the staff to deal with people who express their gender in unconventional ways, but said that she was ignored.

With the help of the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc. of New York City, she filed suit against the Caliente Cab Company.

Motivated by money?
The company did not send a representative to be on air, but issued a statement that said: “The complainant’s representatives would not discuss any issues nor consider the overwhelming evidence contradicting complainant’s allegations, without a prior promise of serious monetary compensation to the complainant. This is their primary interest.”

Farmer and Michael Silverman, a staff attorney with the transgender group, denied the charge.

“Anyone who knew how we struggled to keep our doors open every day as a nonprofit charity would know that we’re not in this for the money,” he told Vieira. “We believe in the cases that we take. We never charge our clients money; we don’t take money from them. We take cases because we believe it’s the right thing to do.”

The transgender defense group never accepts money from anyone it represents, he added.

New York City has a law that prohibits discriminating against people because of the way they express their gender through clothing and speech. Farmer and Silverman said they want similar laws passed on the state level.

“What we really want is to make sure this doesn’t happen to people elsewhere again,” Silverman told Vieira. “In this case, we believe the fundamental issue is, who gets to decide whether someone’s gender expression is appropriate? Is it Khadijah, or is it every bouncer in a restaurant? Is it every employer or manager who says, ‘Well, would you try a strand of pearls? Maybe that would make you look more feminine. Maybe we’d like you more in the workplace’?”

Although Farmer is asking for monetary damages, she said in a pre-interview with TODAY that she’d rather have one dollar and the assurance that businesses would institute training programs for their employees than a million dollars without the training.

“This has happened to me on many other occasions,” said Farmer in a soft voice. “Usually, people just say, ‘You’re in the wrong bathroom,’” she said. “I just make the correction because I don’t want anybody to be under the misconception of me being somebody that I’m not.”

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I am much opposed to discrimination against people because of various kinds of bias.

Comments:
Daniel said...

I blocked off the caption underneath and asked my 15 year old son whether the photograph was of a male or female. He said it was a male.

That makes it a tough call. Perhaps the security man was just trying to do his job? After all, there are some strange people around!

Cheers!

Sunday, October 14, 2007 4:59:00 AM


ThomasLB said...

Assuming the security guard honestly thought it was a man, I don't understand why he didn't think, "He accidentally went into the wrong restroom." He seems to have launched into full attack mode right from the start.

He cost that restaurant a table full of business that night. I'd fire him just for that.

Sunday, October 14, 2007 5:36:00 AM


Worried American said...

Many people of different gender-choices appear to be members of an opposite sex (biologically).

As I stated in the post, the security guard was correct to investigate what he thought was a man invading the ladies room.

However, he was incorrect to refuse to examine the woman's proof of gender and identity, and especially to carry it to the extreme of evicting the party from the restaurant.

I have a lesbian cousin twice removed who wears men's clothing and sports a masculine haircut. On the rare occasion that she accompanies family members to public facilities, she gets odd looks in the ladies room but has been challenged only once.

A ladies room attendent stopped her once, addressing her as "Sir". My cousin wordlessly settled the problem by raising her shirt and exposing her small but definitely womanly breasts. End of challenge.

Ofcourse this would scarcely be an option if confronted by a male bouncer.
Sunday , Oct.14, 2007. 1:45 PM


Granny said...

I said much the same thing in an email, WA.

I compared it to the times I've set off the shoplifting alarm in a store.

The security guard or whoever would be right to stop me. (Actually, I stop in my tracks when it happens). He would have been wrong to drag me off without even checking my receipt.

I wandered into the men's room at Barnes & Noble accidentally a couple of months ago. Didn't notice until I came back out - my mind must have been awol that day.

Fortunately, it was empty when I entered and when I left although there was one guy about to enter. I just put my face in my hands and then we both laughed.

Even giving the security guard at the restaurant the benefit of the doubt, his actions afterwards were inexcusable.

Sunday, October 14, 2007 1:54:00 PM


Daniel said...

I've decided to take being a security guard off my list of potential jobs given all the variations of human behaviour and dress. Cheers.

Sunday, October 14, 2007 4:14:00 PM

Worried said...
Probably a good idea, Daniel. One of my numerous cousins owns a Security business and takes shifts himself most of the time. Some of his tales of the trials and tribulations of a Security Guard are disturbing and discouraging.Our fellow humans can be a fractious lot.


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Labels:

5 Comments:

  • At Sunday, October 14, 2007 4:59:00 AM , Blogger Daniel said...

    I blocked off the caption underneath and asked my 15 year old son whether the photograph was of a male or female. He said it was a male.

    That makes it a tough call. Perhaps the security man was just trying to do his job? After all, there are some strange people around!

    Cheers!

     
  • At Sunday, October 14, 2007 5:36:00 AM , Blogger ThomasLB said...

    Assuming the security guard honestly thought it was a man, I don't understand why he didn't think, "He accidentally went into the wrong restroom." He seems to have launched into full attack mode right from the start.

    He cost that restaurant a table full of business that night. I'd fire him just for that.

     
  • At Sunday, October 14, 2007 1:42:00 PM , Blogger Worried American said...

    Many people of different gender-choices appear to be members of an opposite sex (biologically).

    As I stated in the post, the security guard was correct to investigate what he thought was a man invading the ladies room.

    However, he was incorrect to refuse to examine the woman's proof of gender and identity, and especially to carry it to the extreme of evicting the party from the restaurant.

    I have a lesbian cousin twice removed who wears men's clothing and sports a masculine haircut. On the rare occasion that she accompanies family members to public facilities, she gets odd looks in the ladies room but has been challenged only once.

    A ladies room attendent stopped her once, addressing her as "Sir". My cousin wordlessly settled the problem by raising her shirt and exposing her small but definitely womanly breasts. End of challenge.

    Ofcourse this would scarcely be an option if confronted by a male bouncer.

    .

     
  • At Sunday, October 14, 2007 1:54:00 PM , Blogger Granny said...

    I said much the same thing in an email, WA.

    I compared it to the times I've set off the shoplifting alarm in a store.

    The security guard or whoever would be right to stop me. (Actually, I stop in my tracks when it happens). He would have been wrong to drag me off without even checking my receipt.

    I wandered into the men's room at Barnes & Noble accidentally a couple of months ago. Didn't notice until I came back out - my mind must have been awol that day.

    Fortunately, it was empty when I entered and when I left although there was one guy about to enter. I just put my face in my hands and then we both laughed.

    Even giving the security guard at the restaurant the benefit of the doubt, his actions afterwards were inexcusable.

     
  • At Sunday, October 14, 2007 4:14:00 PM , Blogger Daniel said...

    I've decided to take being a security guard off my list of potential jobs given all the variations of human behaviour and dress. Cheers.

     

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