Trans Woman Kicked Out of Cuba Libre
A manager at Cuba Libre, 801 Ninth St. NW, kicked a transgender woman out after she refused to show staff her ID when they tried to stop her from using the women’s restroom.
According to Twitter posts from Charlotte Clymer, a transgender woman and a rapid response press secretary with the Human Rights Campaign, she was with a group of girlfriends at the Cuban restaurant and rum bar Friday night for a dance party to celebrate a friend’s upcoming wedding. As they were getting ready to leave, she went to use the restroom with a friend and an attendant stopped her and asked to see her ID. “When I asked why, he said that ‘female’ must be on an ID to use the women’s restroom,” she tweeted. “No one else was asked.”
Last night, I was told by the manager of @CubaLibreDC that I couldn't use the women's restroom, and after challenging his discrimination with D.C. law and responding to his threat of calling the police w/ "please do so", I was forcibly removed from the restaurant. (thread)
— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) June 23, 2018
“This is a packed hallway in a packed club/restaurant, and this random staff person specifically picks me out to ask for ID. I told him that’s nonsense, turned on my heel, and continued into the restroom,” Clymer wrote. “I go into a stall to do my business, and I hear him walk in and search for me in this busy restroom full of women. He is doing everything but opening the stall doors. I ignore him, and after a few moments, he leaves. I do my business, wash my hands, and walk out.”
Clymer tweeted that the attendant and the manager were waiting outside the door. The manger, she wrote, said to her “it’s D.C. law that you must have ‘female’ on your ID to use the women’s restroom.” Again, she refused, and told them that they were wrong.
According to D.C.’s Human Rights Act, transgender people are allowed to use facilities that match their gender identity, and it is illegal for places of public accommodation to discriminate against them solely on the basis of said gender identity.
Clymer tweeted that the manager said, “You being in there will make women uncomfortable.” She then went outside to get her bearings and pulled up the law on her cell phone. Then, she went back into the restaurant and showed the manager.
“He treated me like I was being irrational, glanced over the text and said ‘that’s incorrect.’” She said he would not show her the law he was quoting, but did threaten to call police, which she encouraged. Clymer was then told to leave.
“I told him I work for the Human Rights Campaign, he’s making a mistake here, and he needs to adjust his course of action,” Clymer continued. “I told him this is discrimination and said he’s being a bigot. He laughed and mocked my workplace. ‘Oh, I know you folks at [address].’”
She wrote that a bouncer then grabbed her and pushed her out when she refused to leave until the police arrived.
“I’m not the kind of person who calls cops, but at that point, I didn’t know what else to do. In D.C., a city celebrated for its LGBTQ culture, inclusivity, and protections, it stunned me that a business could so openly discriminate against transgender people,” Clymer tweeted.
According to the incident report from the Metropolitan Police Department, two patrol cars were sent to the restaurant around 12:30 a.m. and collected statements from Clymer, witnesses and the manager. The responding officers called for the city’s LGBTQ liaison unit, which also responded and debriefed Clymer on her rights under the law.
According to the report, the manager told police it is “their company policy to ID everybody who wishes to utilize the bathroom.” The responding officer noted in the report that the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, which licenses and regulates bars and nightclubs, was notified.
Clymer tweeted that on Monday, she plans to talk with representatives from the D.C. Office of Human Rights and “will begin pursuing all legal options against” Cuba Libre.
Emily Crockett, the bride-to-be, tweeted that there were “two trans/non-binary people in my bachelorette party at Cuba Libre … Both of them were aggressively asked to show ID before entering the women’s bathroom.”
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. We are immediately retraining our entire staff to ensure this does not happen again.
— Guillermo Pernot (@GuillermoPernot) June 23, 2018
On Saturday evening, Cuba Libre chef/partner Guillermo Pernot, who is not based at the D.C. location, tweeted, “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. We are immediately retraining our entire staff to ensure this does not happen again.”
But Clymer said retraining is not enought and things the manager should be fired. On Sunday, she tweeted, “I cannot stress enough the intentionality of this incident. The manager was hostile, condescending, and hateful. And my biggest fear is that this will happen again to someone without my privilege. Someone who’s not white, doesn’t have a wide network, doesn’t know the law, etc.”
I am so sorry Charlotte this happened. Not remotely a reflection on you. Thank you for sharing this painful story. As ever, your grace and bravery shine through. Hope you have a great rest of the weekend with your girlfriends.
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) June 23, 2018
Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton reached out to Clymer on Facebook. “I am so sorry Charlotte this happened. Not remotely a reflection on you. Thank you for sharing this painful story. As ever, your grace and bravery shine through. Hope you have a great rest of the weekend with your girlfriends.”
.@cmclymer, I’m so sorry this happened to you. While I’m glad to hear that @DCPoliceDept were there to represent our true #DCValues, we won’t accept this type of discrimination in Washington, DC. It’s not just illegal, it’s against all we stand for. https://t.co/UAzUP9wlSS
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) June 23, 2018
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser also tweeted. “I’m so sorry this happened to you. While I’m glad to hear that @DCPoliceDept were there to represent our true #DCValues, we won’t accept this type of discrimination in Washington, DC. It’s not just illegal, it’s against all we stand for.”
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.