Discrimination Suit Filed Against West Village Restaurant

An NYC lesbian was discriminated against in a West Village Mexican restaurant.

Khadijah Farmer, the Hell’s Kitchen resident who previously alleged that the West Village Mexican restaurant, Caliente Cab Company, discriminated against her on Gay Pride Day in June, filed suit against the eatery in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Oct 9. The lawsuit, filed on her behalf by the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, charges that the restaurant discriminated against her because her appearance did not confirm to social norms concerning gender expression. An amendment to the city’s human rights law in 2002 protects residents whose gender expression is different from their sex at birth, but the state’s civil rights law does not include a similar protection. According to Michael D. Silverman, the executive director and general counsel ofTLDEF, Farmer’s case could set a precedent against sexual stereotyping.

In its lawsuit, TLDEF seeks to apply a section of the state’s employment law concerning sexual stereotyping to a public accommodation, such as the restaurant where Farmer claims she was the victim of discrimination.

“We are asking the state to extend that employment protection to public spaces, particularly to protect women who have been told they look too masculine,” Silverman told GO in a telephone interview.

Farmer, 28, was born a woman and has identified as female throughout her life, although she has a masculine appearance.

Allegedly, on June 24, Farmer left her table to use the restroom, where soon after a male bouncer barged in to announce that there was a man inside the women’s restroom, and that she had to leave. She emerged from the stall to explain that she was female and offer to show her identification, but the bouncer reportedly refused. He demanded that she, her girlfriend and their friend pay the bill for their appetizers, and promptly leave the restaurant.

Caliente Cab Company has not yet responded to the lawsuit or commented publicly on it.

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