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DC restaurant fined $7k for questioning transgender activist who used women's restroom

Cuba Libre also agreed to post signs stating patrons may go to whichever bathroom aligns with their gender identity

(Charlotte Clymer. Image source: Channel 4 News YouTube screenshot)

Washington, D.C., restaurant Cuba Libre has been hit with a $7,000 fine after questioning a transgender activist who used its women's restroom and a manager tried to insist the patron show identification proving to be female.

What are the details?

On June 22, Charlotte Clymer went to the restaurant to attend a bachelorette party for a friend. Clymer identifies as a woman and made the transition from being a man in November 2017.

According to Clymer's account of the June incident to MetroWeekly, when she went to use the women's restroom at Cuba Libre, an employee stopped her and asked for her to show identification. Clymer refused and used the women's facility. Upon exiting, she was approached by the same employee and a manager who insisted that, according to D.C. law, a person must be designated as a "female" on their ID in order to use a women's restroom in the city.

Clymer โ€” who works in communications for the LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign โ€” argued that she was, indeed, protected under D.C. law and pulled the legislation up on her phone. The next day, Clymer claimed via social media that she had been "forcibly removed from the restaurant."

Clymer used her Twitter platform to stress the alleged hostility of the Cuba Libre manager and explained that she felt compelled to expose the "violent nature" of the incident in hopes that it would prevent discrimination against other transgender individuals who might not have her level of privilege.

Clymer hired a law firm to represent her in filing a civil rights complaint against the restaurant, prompting an investigation from D.C.'s office of the attorney general.

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine announced Wednesday that the restaurant had violated the District's Human Rights Act by failing to have a written policy ensuring compliance "with regard to restroom facilities" and "did not provide adequate training to employees." The restaurant was issued a fine, ordered to implement new training for staff, and has agreed to "post clear signage that, under D.C. law, everyone is allowed to use the restroom that matches their gender identity or expression."

How did the restaurant respond?

Cuba Libre issued a series of apologies and updates to the incident via social media. The employees involved in the incident with Clymer were terminated.

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