A masculine-looking lesbian who was thrown out of a New York restaurant bathroom when staff did not believe she was a woman has settled her lawsuit against the establishment.
Khadijah Farmer, her girlfriend and a friend were having dinner at Caliente Cab Company, a Mexican restaurant, after the city’s June 24 2007 Pride Parade, when she went to the women’s bathroom.
While using the bathroom, she was harassed by the restaurant’s bouncer who reportedly burst into the toilets claiming that another customer had complained that there was a man in the female restroom.
She has claimed that despite her protestations and attempts to show the man her identification, he refused to believe that she was a woman.
He then threw the 28 year old Farmer and her party out of the restaurant.
Represented by the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF), she filed a lawsuit against the restaurant seeking to bar Caliente from continuing to discriminate on the basis of gender expression.
The suit also sought damages for the violation of Farmer’s civil rights, as well as punitive damages designed to punish the restaurant for its wrongdoing.
A settlement was however reached last week between the parties. According to the agreement, Caliente will:
Add gender, including gender identity and expression, to its corporate non-discrimination policy; amend its employee handbook to allow persons to use the bathroom consistent with their gender identity and expression; and institute personnel training programs regarding its new policies.
The restaurant also agreed 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 of the settlement in a statement issued by TLDEF.
“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.”