Main | Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Butch Lesbian Wins Suit Against West Village Restaurant

Khadijah Farmer, the butch lesbian who was thrown out of a West Village restaurant after last year's Pride parade when she used the ladies room, has settled her suit against the restaurant. The bouncer had declared that Farmer was too masculine to be in the ladies room and refused to look at her identification, ejecting Farmer and her entire party.
"I was thrown out of the restaurant because of who I am and how I look," Farmer said at the time. "It was humiliating. No one should be subjected to that type of discrimination."

Represented by the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, Farmer's lawsuit stated that Caliente engaged in illegal discrimination on the basis of gender expression in violation of the New York City Human Rights Law. It also alleged that the restaurant engaged in illegal sex stereotyping in violation of the New York State Human Rights Law.

As part of the settlement Caliente Cab Restaurant agreed to add gender, including gender identity and expression, to its corporate non-discrimination policy and to amend its employee handbook to state "persons patronizing or employed at Caliente have the right to use the bathroom facilities consistent with their gender identity and expression."

The company also agreed to institute personnel training programs regarding its new policies; adopt a gender-neutral dress code for its employees; and to pay $35,000 in damages to Farmer. "I'm very happy that the restaurant has taken appropriate steps to ensure that all patrons, regardless of how masculine or feminine they appear, are treated with dignity and respect," Farmer said at a press conference on Tuesday where the settlement was announced. "People come in all shapes and sizes, and they shouldn't be discriminated against because they don't match someone's expectations of how masculine or feminine they should be."
After Farmer's ejection from the restaurant became news, the Queer Justice League and others protested weekly outside the restaurant.

UPDATE: Farmer's victory was due to the work of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund. Check out their recap of this story here.

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