In the great metropolis of New York City, there is a lesbian woman who is suing a restaurant for using the women's room. Yes, the women's room. Why you ask? Because she looked like a man.
When someone else mistook her to be a man and complained to the bouncer, he returned to the woman's room and began pounding on the stall door saying someone had complained that there was a man in there. He stated that she had to leave the bathroom and the restaurant. The woman, Khadijah Farmer, 28, said in return, "I'm a female, and I'm supposed to be in here." When she came out of the stall and attempted to show her ID to the bouncer, he refused to look and said, "Your ID is neither here nor there."
I thought bouncers were there to protect people, not scare them away. This sounds like Malechauvinistic Syndrome – I'm pretty sure all problems would have been avoided if he just looked at that little piece of plastic called her license. And isn't anyone else bothered by the fact that they sent a MALE bouncer into the woman's room to respond to the complaint of a man in the women's room?
Obviously our community still has work to do to break down prejudices against variations on gender; just when you think the gay and lesbian community is making great strides towards progression in the mainstream, something like this happens. Clearly, a woman who appears to look like a man is still considered taboo and thus has difficulty being accepted by society. Why is this? Did the bouncer feel like this "masculine" woman was a threat to his own manhood, refusing to acknowledge the truth by avoiding to look at her identification? And what about the woman who complained in the first place? Maybe she was too scared to approach someone who looked differently than her and feared the truth if she were to ask. I'm sure if any one of these people had taken the time to speak to "the man in the woman's room" they would have realized it was a woman; instead a simple misconception is blown out of proportion because people are ignorant and afraid to confront stereotypes.
It doesn't stop there, though. People are commenting up a storm and it seems they just don't get it. On USA Today's blog in regards to the article, "TerryAUSMarine" wrote:
"This is ridiculous. She looks like a man. If she doesn't want to be mistaken for a man (as she is obviously the 'Man' in her relationships) then she should change her appearance...... "
Wow! Imagine if that was everyone's mentality. I'd say to Terry, if you don't want to be mistaken for an ass, don't talk like one. Then there's "Get a Life", who wrote:
"If she wants to use the women's bathroom - maybe she should have LOOKED like a woman before entering it!!!!!! Sounds like someone's looking for a quick legal payout."
The fact that this person would actually suggest that Khadijah dressed like a man and used the woman's room just for her own financial gains is probably one of the most ludicrous things I've ever heard. Is this person serious? People seem to think this woman is trying to get money from the restaurant, but what they don't understand is that a situation like this NEEDS to be made into a public example. It's not only ridiculous that Khadijah was prevented from showing her ID, but anyone in the gay community would know that suing this restaurant and making an example out of their ignorance is the only way to bring sex stereotyping into the limelight. Interestingly enough, there is no law in New York that states a person of one gender is required to use the bathroom intended for their biological gender. There is a law that states a person can use whichever bathroom suits the gender to which they identify.
At the end of the day, the moral of this story is that you should not make judgements on a person's gender based solely on their appearance. We need to move away from sex stereotyping and I applaud Khadijah Farmer for presenting herself to the world how she feels most comfortable. It is people like her that are slowly paving the road to universal acceptance to EVERYONE in the gay community, not just the people that "look straight". By taking her personal situation to the media and forcing people to see it for what it is, she is showing the world that she is a strong woman who is standing up for her own sexual identity and her own beliefs. I applaud her!
See the 3-part interview on Gay USA: