WASHINGTON - A popular D.C. restaurant is at the center of controversy after a transgender woman says she was kicked out by staff for trying to use the women's bathroom.
Charlotte Clymer, a communications person for the Human Rights Campaign, took to Twitter after she was physically removed from Cuba Libre Rum Bar and Restaurant, where she was celebrating a friend's bachelorette party. She says it happened after she went to use the women's bathroom.
Clymer tweeted that as she was about to go into the restroom, a staff member stopped her and asked to see her ID, saying it is D.C. law to have "female" on her ID to use the women's restroom.
Clymer says she went into the restroom and entered a stall anyway, but a male staff member came in after her.
After using the facilities, Clymer says she was confronted by managers who again asked for her ID. She refused and showed staff members documentation on D.C. protections for transgender people using public restrooms.
She said management staff would not listen to her and when she told them to call the police, they refused and she was physically removed by a bouncer.
Clymer says she was consoled by friends and other people who had seen the event in the restaurant, and made the decision to call police.
"I could not have asked for a more professional and affirming experience from
@DCPoliceDept. The responding officers--all cisgender men--were patient and kind in their communication, assured me I was right on the law, and radioed for their LGBTQ liaison unit to respond."
The Penn Quarter restaurant and bar responded and issued an apology in a statement saying: "We are extremely sorry for the incident that occurred at our restaurant last night. As a rule, we support safe bathrooms and welcome guests of all gender identifications. Clearly our staff did not do so last night and treated you in an unacceptable manner."
Cuba Libre says they plan to immediately re-train their entire staff to ensure this does not happen again.
However, Clymer responded, "I am wholly unconvinced that 'training' will address the shortcomings in the character of your manager. His callousness and bigotry far exceeded a simple lack of understanding. He was intentional in his discrimination. This person did not act in good faith."
She went on to say, "Your manager did not attempt to make amends last night. If he had walked over and given an apology after the police confirmed for him our city's laws, maybe we'd be okay. But instead, he lied to the police and refused to make things right. He acted liked a child."
Bowser took to Twitter addressing the incident: "I'm so sorry this happened to you. While I'm glad to hear that DC police were there to represent our true DC values, we won't accept this type of discrimination in Washington, DC. It’s not just illegal, it’s against all we stand for."
Clymer said that she said that other trans people may not have seen the same response in her situation.
"I have quite a bit of privilege as a white person. Things turned out well for me," she said.
She said to FOX 5, "My grave concern here is how transgender people without the privilege I have would be able to negotiate situations like it, particularly women of color... How would it have worked out for a woman of color? Not as good, I assume."
Clymer tells FOX 5 this isn't the end of the road. She says she plans to file a claim with the D.C. Office of the HRC on Monday.
To read Clymer's full story, you can read the thread on her Twitter page.