Current Affairs

Woman too ‘masculine’ for the women’s bathroom

Lydia Malmedie July 3, 2007
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Has anyone ever double-checked the door sign when they saw you standing in the bathroom?

Then you are familiar with the bathroom issue many people who do not match certain stereotypical gender norms have to deal with.

The reaction of a bouncer in New York City, who evicted a woman from the bathroom of a Mexican restaurant in Greenwich Village, still seems outrageous.

“I felt violated … to say the least,” Khadijah Farmer, 27, told the Daily News.

“I really thought that especially in New York City, especially in the heart of the Village, things like this had stopped happening.”

Ms Farmer had attended the city’s gay Pride march last month and went for dinner with some friends at the restaurant.

She identifies as a woman but is occasionally taken for a man because of her short hair and style of clothing.

When accused of being in the wrong bathroom, she offered the bouncer her driver’s licence to prove that she was where she was supposed to be.

The bouncer dismissed the evidence and asked Khadijah and her friends to leave immediately.

Greenwich Village in Manhattan, also simply known as ‘The Village,’ is generally known as a gay-friendly neighbourhood.

It is also the birthplace of the gay rights movement which started in 1969 with the Stonewall Riots on Christopher Street.

Ms Farmer is not willing to just forget about the humiliation.

Her case has been taken up by the Transgender Legal Defence Education Fund (TLDEF), a not-for-profit organisation who fights any discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and expression.

In 2005 the TLDEF achieved a change in the New York City Human Rights Law which now technically guarantees transgender people the right to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity and expression free from harassment, intimidation or violence.

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