Amid the ongoing furor regarding White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders being asked to leave a Virginia restaurant on “moral grounds,” a transgender woman was similarly kicked out of Washington, D.C., restaurant on Friday for attempting to use the women’s restroom.
According to WTOP, the incident took place on Friday night, as Human Rights Campaign Press Secretary Charlotte Clymer was at Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar in the northwest part of Washington, D.C., as she and her friends were holding a bachelorette party. Toward the end of the celebration, she and a friend went to use the women’s restroom, only to be stopped by an attendant, who stuck out his arm and asked Clymer for identification.
“When I asked why, he said that ‘female’ must be on an ID to use the women’s restroom. No one else was asked,” Clymer related via Twitter.
Disregarding the attendant, Charlotte Clymer entered a stall in the women’s bathroom, where she claims she heard him following her inside and “doing everything but opening the stall doors” before leaving. As she tried to return to her table, she was then met at the bathroom door by both the attendant and the restaurant manager, with the latter claiming that she was in violation of Washington, D.C. laws that require people to have “female” on their ID in order to use the women’s restroom.
As there is no law in D.C. that specifies such requirements, Clymer said that she asked the manager for proof that the law exists. He reportedly responded by threatening to call the police, and did so a second time after Clymer showed the actual law on her phone and told the manager that it was “illegal” for him to treat her like that. Clymer was then asked to leave the restaurant, and as she claims, was roughly escorted out by the bouncer, who allegedly grabbed her arm and pushed her out the door.
“I stood there at the curb with a friend, feeling shattered. I wanted to cry, but my adrenaline was so high at that point that I felt blocked up,” Clymer tweeted.
“Our other friends came out along with several people who had witnessed what happened.”
At that point, Clymer was told by one friend that she wasn’t the only non-binary individual who received such treatment from the staff of Cuba Libre and was also asked to show their ID so they could use the women’s restroom. As noted by Mashable, that motivated her to call the police, who then told her that she was right about the D.C. bathroom laws. Clymer described the responding officers as “patient and kind,” adding that the LGBTQ liaison they sent over made sure to confirm her preferred pronouns.
Following the incident, Cuba Libre issued a statement apologizing to Clymer and acknowledging that she was treated in an “unacceptable manner,” adding that it is now retraining staff members to avoid similar incidents in the future.
Since Charlotte Clymer posted the story of the Cuba Libre incident on Twitter, the restaurant has received sharp criticism on social media, with Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and former first daughter Chelsea Clinton among the people who have shown support to Clymer, according to WTOP. Bowser tweeted that the incident was illegal and unacceptable, and “against all we stand for” in the city, while Clinton thanked Clymer for sharing her “painful story” and commending her for her “grace and bravery.”
In addition to the show of support from Bowser and Clinton, Yelp users also took to the platform en masse to post a series of scathing negative reviews for Cuba Libre. While most of the negative reviewers came from other cities, several others were from the D.C. area or nearby, including one user and regular reviewer who had the following comment in reference to the incident related by Charlotte Clymer.
“Research the law before you go practicing discrimination during Pride Month. Food is horrible when there’s hate behind it.”