NEW YORK – A woman filed a civil rights lawsuit against a popular Greenwich Village neighborhood restaurant Tuesday, claiming a bouncer chased her out of the women's bathroom because she looked too masculine.
Khadijah Farmer, who was at the Caliente Cab Company after New York's gay pride parade last June, said the bouncer ran into the bathroom, pounded on the stall door and demanded that she leave. He told her a customer complained a man was in the women's room.
"I told him I was a woman, and I tried to show him my I.D.," Farmer said at a news conference. "He refused to look at it. I was extremely uncomfortable and quite humiliated."
Caliente Cab Company released a statement denying the discrimination claim and said Farmer's "primary interest" was money.
"There has been no discrimination or violation of anyone's civil rights or human dignity by Caliente Cab Company or anyone employed here," the restaurant's statement said.
Farmer's lawyer, Michael Silverman of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, says his client is asking for unspecified damages and demanding that the restaurant train its staff not to discriminate on the basis of gender identity.
Farmer said she knows she looks like a man with her closely cropped hair and male clothing. She said people usually apologize after making the mistake, but the bouncer told her, "I want you out of this restroom and out of this restaurant."
Farmer, a counselor at a residential program for people with disabilities, said she was suing under city and state human rights laws to prevent other people from having to endure similar humiliation.