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Transgender New Yorkers sue fried chicken shop for refusing to serve them

Lydia Smith August 10, 2018

A fried chicken shop in New York is being sued by a group of transgender people who were refused service in the restaurant.

Five transgender and gender non-conforming women attempted to order food at Texas Chicken and Burgers in Harlem in May, but were told what they wanted was unavailable by an employee.

After the group stepped aside, the same staff member immediately served a white cis-gendered male the same order.

One member of the group captured video footage of the incident on their mobile phone.

Deja Smith, who works as a make-up artist for transgender actress Laverne Cox, was one of the women refused service.

She wrote on Instagram: “Today we stood up to speak truth to power, and combat the discrimination we faced at #TexasChickenAndBurgers.”

Laverne Cox (Tibrina Hobson/Getty)

Laverne Cox shared the video shot by Smith on Instagram, commenting: “It’s not about the chicken tenders. It’s about being refused service and being treated like a second class citizen.

“I love my friends and I am so sad and disappointed and angry this happened to them but I know it happens to trans also gender nonconforming people everyday far too often especially when they are of colour.”

The group announced the lawsuit outside the historic Stonewall Inn.

“Texas Chicken and Burgers has done nothing more than issue a sorry apology,” said lawyer Ben Crump, in a copy of the briefing posted on Instagram.

“Its leaders have swept this blatant act of discrimination under the rug. But their fault is both absolute and undeniable.

This did not happen to me. This was shot by @theladydeja and happened to her and a group of my friends________________________________________________It’s not about the chicken tenders. It’s about being refused service and being treated like a second class citizen. I love my friends and I am so sad and disappointed and angry this happened to them but I know it happens to trans als gender nonconforming people everyday far too often especially when they are of color…………………………. Regrann from @theladydeja – I am sharing this with all of my 12k+ social media followers. @texaschickenandburgers your Racist and/or Transphobic cashiers basically refused my group of #Trans and #GenderNonComforming friends service in the midst of serving white and cis patrons. I literally kept asking, “Am I bugging out?” “Did that just happen?” We were on our way home after a night of #MemorialDay celebrations. I can’t believe this happened in 2018. I am outraged and emotionally shaken. WTF Texas Chicken and Burgers!? It’s fuckin fried chicken! FYI… I am a tax paying, hard working, #TransWomanOfColor, who would like to eventually just be a human being and productive American citizen. Situations like this make me understand how difficult that will actually be. #TexasChickenAndBurger #Racist #Transphobic #AsFuck! #PostRacial #Harlem – #regrann

A post shared by laverne cox (@lavernecox) on

“We will not allow them to ignore this issue. We will not allow them to avoid this issue. We will shine a spotlight on this disgusting example of how Texas Chicken and Burgers treated our clients as second-class citizens based on their appearance, gender identity and expression.

“Discrimination is discrimination. It doesn’t matter whether it is based on race, gender or sexual orientation. It is wrong.”

Lawyer Gennaro Sevastano said: “New York law has zero tolerance for transphobia and homophobia.

“It is alarming that this type of outrageous conduct could happen anywhere, but especially in New York City. We are eager to seek justice for our clients, and proud to represent them, especially in this current climate where fundamental dignity is at issue and disrespect has become increasingly normalised.”

Texas Chicken and Burgers gave a statement stating it was “confident” that the “situation was caused by an honest mistake made by the employee” and “not the product of any intentional discriminatory treatment as portrayed in the video.”

More: Discrimination, laverne cox, New York, Trans, Transgender, transgender rights, transphobia, US, US

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