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Trans Woman Files Complaint After Being Called ’Gay Bitches’ at Hookah Bar

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Wednesday Jun 11, 2014
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A copy of the receipt Bistro 18 allegedly handed Gray
A copy of the receipt Bistro 18 allegedly handed Gray  (Source:Lambda Legal)

A Washington, DC, transgender woman filed a complaint with Lambda Legal after the employees in a hookah bar handed her and her eight friends a restaurant receipt with the words "gay bitches" printed on it.

Gay Star News reports Amira Gray spent an evening last August with eight friends in Bistro 18 in Adams Morgan that turned sour when the management allegedly hurled the anti-gay slur at them.

Insult turned to injury when one of Gray’s friend approached the manager to inquire about the "gay bitches" notation, only to have the man snatch what he thought was the receipt out of his hands and print a new receipt, sans slurs.

"When my friends and I saw the receipt, we were humiliated and embarrassed," said Gray. "We went in planning to enjoy Bistro 18 just like everyone else in the hookah bar that evening, but it turned into a disturbing experience. I am standing up for my friends and me because I don’t think anyone should have to go through that."

Unfortunately for the manager, these "gay bitches" were too crafty to fall for the old switcheroo. They kept the original receipt and captured photos of it, which they sent to LGBT rights group Lambda Legal. On June 10, Lambda filed a complaint in the Washington, D.C., office of Human Rights.

According to Lambda’s website, Bistro 18 violated the D.C. Human Rights Act by discriminating against Gray based on her actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and sex in a place of public accommodation.

"Discrimination against LGBT customers is a widespread problem that often goes unaddressed in businesses across the country," said Dru Levasseur, Lambda Legal Transgender Rights Project Director. "That this happened in Washington, D.C., where LGBT people have strong protections from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and personal appearance, points out the importance of ensuring existing laws are enforced. By standing up for herself and her friends, Amira is taking a stand for all LGBT people who are targeted by businesses for unequal treatment because of who they are."

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women’s news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she writes about local restaurants in her food blog, http://brooklyniscookin.blogspot.com/

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