Lambda Legal Files Complaint for Anti-LGBT Slur on Restaurant Receipt

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June 10, 2014
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Printed on the receipt instead of the customer's name: "GAY BITCHES"

Lambda Legal filed a complaint today in the Washington, D.C., Office of Human Rights on behalf of Amira Gray, a transgender woman who was given a restaurant receipt with an anti-LGBT slur printed on it.

In August 2013, while socializing with friends at Bistro 18, a hookah bar in Washington's Adams Morgan neighborhood, Amira and her eight friends were repeatedly ignored by their server and had to approach the bar to order. During the evening, the server came to the party's table only once to deliver the hookah machine the group had ordered at the bar. At the end of the night, the bartender dropped off the check, which had the words "GAY BITCHES" printed where the customer's name would be written.

When one of Gray's friends brought this to the attention of the bar's manager, the manager tried to remove the offending reciept and print a new one without the slur. However, the group kept the original receipt and captured photos of it that accompany this blog post.  

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.

Lambda Legal filed a public accommodations discrimination complaint under the DC Human Rights Act (DCHRA) arguing that Bistro 18 violated the DC Human Rights Act by discriminating against Gray based on her actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and sex in a place of public accommodation.

Gray said:

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.

Read the press release.