Kia Franklin

Sex Discrimination/Stereotyping Lawsuit

A NY woman is turning to the civil justice system to fight against discrimination she faced for not looking the way other people want/expected her to look. She is suing a West Village restaurant for throwing her out of the women’s restroom, and then out of the restaurant, for not looking like a woman according to societal norms/stereotypes.

A bouncer responding to complaints that a man had entered the bathroom came into the women's room and knocked on the stall, ordering her to leave, Khadijah Farmer says. She told the New York Times that she experiences this mistake on a routine basis, and offered to show the bouncer her identification, which clearly lists her as female. But the bouncer simply told her that her identification was "neither here nor there" and forced her to leave, demanding that her party pay for their order and exit the restaurant.

She is suing the restaurant for sex discrimination based on gender stereotyping. New York city law protects people from this type of harassment, but her lawsuit will explore the extent to which state law protects people as well. New York City human rights law prohibits discrimination against city residents whose gender expression is different from their sex at birth. The state’s civil rights law does not include this protection, but the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund which represents Ms. Farmer argues that "state law should be interpreted as protecting New Yorkers against sexual stereotyping, in which people are expected to conform to gender-appropriate behavior," according to the New York Times.

One of the most fundamental things the law is supposed to do is to protect us from discrimination. This is a key case to follow as it may carve out and clarify an important area of anti-discrimination law and gender accomodation. We'll definitely stay updated on this.

For more on this case, see TLDEF's website, or visit here.

Kia Franklin: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 10:04 AM, Oct 10, 2007 in Civil Rights | In the News | New York State
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If you want to look like a man - be ready to be treated like a man

Posted by: Lee Morrison | October 10, 2007 12:56 PM

And how is a man supposed to be treated? With utter disrespect and bigotry?

Absolutely not.

Man, woman, girl, or boy, everyone deserves to be treated with dignity. She's not complaining that the bouncer mistook her for a man; she's not complaining that operating off of that mistake he barged into the women's restroom and stood so close to the stall that she could make out his face (a terribly scary and threatening experience for a woman, and probably especially for a woman whose appearance elicits ignorant responses such as yours on a daily basis).

Anyway she's not complaining about either of these things. No, she's complaining that after explaining that she is in fact a woman and after offering to provide government-issued proof thereof, the bouncer ignored the facts and acted on his bigotry alone--because the facts are apparently neither here nor there--discriminating not only against her but against her friends who were at the restaurant with her.

It's absurd, unacceptable, and runs completely contrary to principles of anti-discrimination.

Posted by: Kia | October 10, 2007 5:49 PM