U.S. & World

Restaurant issues apology after asking transgender woman for ID before using bathroom

WASHINGTON (WISH) -- A restaurant is issuing an apology after unlawfully asking for a transgender woman for identification when she went to use the restroom.

Charlotte Clymer says she was at Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar in Washington, D.C. on Friday night. She says that when she went to use the restroom, an employee at the restaurant told her that he needed to see her identification and that "female" must be on it in order for her to use the women's restroom.

She says he was citing a non-existent law during the ordeal. She says she pointed him to an actual law in D.C., which was ignored by the worker, who threatened to call the police.

"You being in there will make women uncomfortable," she claims he said.

From there, Clymer says she was kicked out of the restaurant.

It was Clymer that eventually called the police, who said Cuba Libre was in the wrong.

"I'm told Cuba Libre will face investigations by the city's licensing authority and the D.C. Office of Human Rights, the latter which I have to initiate using the police report that will on file," she wrote. "The officers told me I had a very strong case."

Clymer's posts on Twitter and Facebook have since gone viral, resulting in more than 1,300 shares on Facebook and thousands of retweets.

Both the restaurant and D.C.'s mayor have also responded on social media.

The restaurant issued this apology:

We are extremely sorry for the incident that occurred at our restaurant on Friday evening. As a rule, we support safe bathrooms and welcome guests of all gender identifications. The misguided actions by our staff member is not reflective of our practices at our three other restaurants and is in direct opposition to Cuba Libre’s owner’s personal beliefs. We are conducting an active investigation of the events and actions that occurred.

On Saturday, we began staff and management retraining by alerting all DC restaurant personnel that they must respect a person’s restroom choice based on their own gender identification or expression.

Our CEO has reached out to Charlotte directly and welcomes the opportunity to apologize and make amends. We hope to work with Charlotte, the HRC and other LGBTQ organizations to develop clear policies and educational programs to ensure this does not happen again.

"We won’t accept this type of discrimination in Washington, DC," said Mayor Muriel Bowser. "It’s not just illegal, it’s against all we stand for."


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