Discrimination | Lambda Legal | Transgender | Washington DC

Lambda Legal Files Discrimination Complaint Against Restaurant for 'Gay Bitches' Receipt

Lambda Legal has filed a discrimination complaint against a Washington, DC hookah bar for leaving a transgender woman a bar receipt reading "gay bitches".

GaybitchesAmira Gray, whom Lambda is representing, says she went to Bistro 18 in August of 2013 with some friends and, after receiving terrible service from the wait staff, says she was "extremely hurt, embarrassed and upset" at then having received the receipt with the message. 

Said Gray to Lambda:

When my friends and I saw the receipt, we were humiliated and embarrassed. 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.

Gray added that a friend of hers brought the receipt to the manager who "snatched" it and brought back a new one with no anti-gay slur. 

In the complaint, Gray said, "I believe I was denied the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages and accommodations of Bistro 18 based on my gender identity (transgender woman), gender expression, perceived sexual orientation, and personal appearance, as well as my association with friends of mine who are gay or may have been perceived as lesbian or gay, in violation of D.C. code 2–1401.31."

Dru Levasseur, Lambda Legal Transgender Rights Project Director, said:

Discrimination against LGBT customers is a widespread problem that often goes unaddressed in businesses across the country. 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.

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  1. Sue their asses off! This is the way to stop sick behavior like this. Hurt their wallets!

    Posted by: Peter-Nicholas | Jun 12, 2014 12:06:52 PM

  2. See the Bilerico Project for the manager's account of this: the waiter was immediately fired in front of the restaurant and other action was quickly taken. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem Lambda Legal did their homework on this one.

    Posted by: Timothy | Jun 12, 2014 12:10:47 PM

  3. You can sue someone for having your feelings hurt?

    Posted by: Christian | Jun 12, 2014 12:12:32 PM

  4. Ditto what Timothy said. Uncharacteristically, Lambda may have jumped the gun on this one. These restaurant stories should always be carefully vetted before people--and especially legal organizations--react. There are enough actual cases to pursue.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jun 12, 2014 12:17:25 PM

  5. This hookah bar obviously hasn't heard from MaryM that Trans people shouldn't be grouped with LGBs.

    Posted by: crispy | Jun 12, 2014 12:18:34 PM

  6. I must be missing the part where they were denied equal treatment. All I see is that they were called a name they don't like. That's not the same as not being treated equally.

    Posted by: Jack | Jun 12, 2014 12:22:52 PM

  7. If Rupaul had handed someone on Drag Race a note that read "gay bitches" it would be okay so why all the fuss?

    Posted by: shipshaper | Jun 12, 2014 12:22:59 PM

  8. Bilerico has a better take on this story, but it's pretty ridiculous that in today's America you can get hauled in front of a human rights commission just because a former employee got a customer's panties in a bunch.

    Bistro 18 is a gay-friendly place in a gay-friendly neighborhood which has gay staff working there. The owner even fired the employee on the spot.

    Posted by: John | Jun 12, 2014 12:34:10 PM

  9. Weirdly, LL's response seems hasty and poorly thought through, yet the receipt shows the incident taking place a year ago. Expect better from them.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jun 12, 2014 12:34:39 PM

  10. I'm so tired of this stuff. It's going too far. People need to get thicker skin and stop getting so butthurt over meaningless crap like this. "They called me WHAT on my receipt?!! I'll SUE!!" Get over it. Stop identifying so much with your sexuality and gender identity and this will stop happening to you. It's not the most important thing about you. The person was fired.

    Posted by: AJ | Jun 12, 2014 12:36:04 PM

  11. maybe they were bitchy gays... plenty of them on here. haha

    Posted by: tbd | Jun 12, 2014 12:44:25 PM

  12. @tbd...maybe they were but a personnel opinion about clients has no place/relevance on a billing receipt.

    Posted by: St.Eve | Jun 12, 2014 12:51:02 PM

  13. Not every bad thing is a lawsuit. This certainly shouldn't be.

    Posted by: jason MacBride | Jun 12, 2014 12:51:36 PM

  14. Shipshaper, you keep posting comments "if RuPaul did blank, there would be on outrage" on a bunch of threads today. If RuPaul did it, there would be no malice attached. The intent of the server in this instance was to demean these customers. If you can't understand the difference, you probably shouldn't be commenting on the issue.

    Posted by: Tyler | Jun 12, 2014 12:57:04 PM

  15. I agree with TBD

    Posted by: chasmader | Jun 12, 2014 1:02:30 PM

  16. See the article at Bilerico about this: http://www.bilerico.com/2014/06/why_is_lambda_legal_cyberbullying_a_small_business.php?fb_comment_id=fbc_772435609434623_772469022764615_772469022764615#f29610b04

    It sounds like Lambda Legal did no investigation at all. The bar says they fired the offending server and also comped the entire table, who were behaving rowdily and harassing the server.

    Posted by: Jay | Jun 12, 2014 1:11:53 PM

  17. That kind of comment is unacceptable on a receipt regardless of the content. Looking at what these folks consumed, I might mutter to myself "drunken bitches" but....

    Posted by: gregorybrown | Jun 12, 2014 1:13:59 PM

  18. Trans is the new hot trend with the liberal media and LGBT industry, so of course they will sue which they shouldn't if the restaurant did the right thing.

    But why people feel the need to call people names or put them down is beyond me.

    Yeah Shipshaper-the exact same thing! Moron.

    Posted by: Rowan | Jun 12, 2014 1:15:19 PM

  19. We have seen many stories about descriptions of patrons being written on receipts, I guess in order to identify where they are seated.

    As I recall restaurants used to identify tables with a numbering or letter identifying system. Did those become too difficult for today's servers to manage that they are now required to creating written descriptions of the customers in order to find their location in the restaurant?

    Posted by: anon | Jun 12, 2014 1:25:01 PM

  20. Well if you're stupid enough to put that on the customer's bill you shouldn't be a server.

    Posted by: Lazycrockett | Jun 12, 2014 1:26:48 PM

  21. Well if you're stupid enough to put that on the customer's bill you shouldn't be a server.

    Posted by: Lazycrockett | Jun 12, 2014 1:26:49 PM

  22. I think this all could've been avoided if the manager apologized sincerely, said he'll deal with the wrongdoer, and comped their drinks.

    Posted by: Matt | Jun 12, 2014 1:32:36 PM

  23. So they are suing because they had their feelings hurt? Did they have sub-service compared to everyone else because she is transgendered? If this is another hoax, Lambda Legal will have a lot of egg on its face.

    Posted by: Perry | Jun 12, 2014 1:56:18 PM

  24. Seems to me the real crime here is twelve dollars for a water.

    Posted by: TB | Jun 12, 2014 1:56:45 PM

  25. @ Matt

    The manager DID apologize for the ordeal and comped their bill. He even sacked the server on the spot!

    Lambda Legal clearly dropped the ball on this one... a little due diligence on their part would've avoided this whole thing.

    Posted by: John | Jun 12, 2014 1:58:40 PM

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