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Bistro 18 in Adams Morgan allegedly called a transgender customer and her friends “gay bitches” on a receipt, according to a public accommodations discrimination complaint that a LGBT advocacy organization said it filed with the D.C. Office Human rights yesterday.
Lambda Legal, a legal organization serving the LGBTQ community, submitted the complaint on behalf of Amira Gray, a transgender women who received the receipt while at the hookah bar with eight friends. The receipt had the words “GAY BITCHES” printed on it where the customer’s name should have been.
“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,” Dru Levasseur, Lambda Legal’s transgender rights project director, said in a press release. “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.”
The alleged incident occurred in August 2013. It’s unclear what took so long for the complaint to be filed. Bistro 18 did not answer its phone yesterday afternoon or this morning. Elliot Imse, a spokesperson for OHR, says there is a one-year statute of limitation for filing these complaints (which this falls within), but says he cannot confirm whether the office even received the complaint until after an investigation.
According to the release, Gray and her group of friends seated themselves at a table and had to go to the bar to order while other tables were being served. When the bartender dropped off the check with the words “GAY BITCHES,” one of Gray’s friends reportedly approached the manager about it and the manager grabbed the receipt away and printed out a new one. But the friend had kept the original receipt.
“When my friends and I saw the receipt, we were humiliated and embarrassed,” Gray said in the release. “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.”
Photo courtesy of Lambda Legal