Thursday, May 15, 2008

Black Lesbian Khadijah Farmer Settles For $35,000 In Suit Against New York Restaurant Which Mistook Her For A Man

A restaurant located in the West Village section of New York City has agreed to pay a black lesbian $35,000, her legal fund $15,000, and implement a series of changes in their workplace practices in order to settle a suit filed by the lesbian because the restaurant ejected her from the women's restroom because she looked too much like a man. Full story published in the New York Times and the Village Voice. Here's a June 2007 story from the New York Daily News to provide some background.

Khadijah Farmer was ejected from a women’s restroom because, she was told, she looked too much like a man. Self-described as “not the most feminine" (Ed. Note: NO SHIT, SHERLOCK, look at the picture!!!), she went to the restaurant, the Caliente Cab Company, with her partner, Joelle Evans, after the Gay Pride Parade on June 24th, 2007.

While she was in the women’s bathroom, a male bouncer burst in and told her that she had to leave. Although Ms. Farmer showed him her state non-driver photo identification card, which identified her as a woman, the bouncer insisted that she leave the bathroom, and subsequently her entire group was ejected from the restaurant. [Ed. Note: There's only one reason why her entire group was ejected from the restaurant. Can you say "mass chimp-out"?]

The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund filed suit in October in State Supreme Court in Manhattan against Caliente Cab, asserting that she was the victim of gender discrimination. While Ms. Farmer has always identified herself as a woman, the defense fund took up the case because it touched upon many issues that transgender people commonly face and could set an interesting legal precedent, representatives of the group said.

Caliente Cab decided to negotiate, and the settlement was signed last Friday. In addition to the $35,000 paid directly to Farmer, the restaurant will also pay the Transgender Fund $15,000. The restaurant admits no guilt.

Among the workplace practices that Caliente Cab agreed to adopt in the settlement, as outlined in the Trangender Fund's press release, was to add gender identity and expression to its corporate nondiscrimination policy; to adopt a gender-neutral dress code for its employees; 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.”

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