D.C.C. restaurant will pay $7,000 as part of a settlement after an employee tried to stop a transgender woman from using a women’s restroom last summer, D.C.’s attorney general said this week.

Charlotte Clymer, a transgender woman and activist with the Human Rights Campaign, which advocates for LGBTQ equality, was asked to show identification June 22 when she tried to use a women’s restroom at Cuba Libre, a downtown Cuban restaurant and rum bar.


Charlotte Clymer (Courtesy of Charlotte Clymer)

Clymer said the employee followed her into the restroom, then a manager also asked for identification when she emerged from the restroom. After a confrontation with the manager — at which point she pulled up the D.C. Human Rights Acton her phone — she said she was told to leave, and then called police.

The D.C. Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression in housing, employment, public accommodations and educational institutions.

D,C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) said in a statement Wednesday that Cuba Libre would pay a $7,000 penalty to the District for violating the act. The restaurant must also train staff on D.C. laws regarding gender identity and post signs that “all individuals are allowed to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity or expression,” the statement said.

Racine said he will introduce legislation to “clarify” the right of his office to pursue cases involving Human Rights Act violations.

“The District’s laws reflect one of our residents’ most deeply-held values: that all people should be treated equally,” Racine said in a statement. “With this settlement, Cuba Libre is required to maintain policies that will ensure this type of discrimination does not happen again.”

Barry Gutin, a Cuba Libre co-owner, said in a statement that the restaurant performed the training and signage requirements, and also plans to offer training open to all D.C.-area restaurant employees to “help understand the challenges of the LGBTQ community.”

“Our focus now is to help ensure safety for D.C.’s transgender community at all area restaurants,” the statement said.

The restaurant apologized after the June incident. Racine, who said the employees involved were fired, thanked Cuba Libre’s management and staff for “cooperating fully in our investigation and seeking to rectify their wrongdoing.”

Clymer called the settlement “a great outcome.”

“All parties worked together to make sure a terrible night was turned into a great teaching moment, which was built on the history of advocacy by trans folks in D.C., particularly trans women of color,” she wrote in an email. “I saw a resolution to this because of the foundation they laid.”

 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) announced last week that she’s running for president, and in the days since, the conversation has quickly focused on her past record opposing LGBTQ equality.

The earliest days of Gabbard’s political career were spent at her father’s organization The Alliance for Traditional Marriage, which campaigned for a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in Hawaii. Mike Gabbard also led a coalition called Stop Promoting Homosexuality, and hosted an anti-gay radio show called Let’s Talk Straight Hawaii. He openly promoted ex-gay ministries, encouraging those “who are addicted to homosexual behavior” to seek help through conversion therapy.

In 2000, Gabbard’s mother Carol Gabbard was running for Hawaii Board of Education, and 19-year-old Tulsi defended her against attacks from LGBTQ activists. “This war of deception and hatred against my mom is being waged by homosexual activists because they know, that if elected, she will not allow them to force their values down the throats of the children in our schools,” she said at the time.

A few years later, Gabbard — the youngest lawmaker ever elected to the Hawaii state legislature — testified against a civil unions bill. “To try to act as if there is a difference between ‘civil unions’ and same-sex marriage is dishonest, cowardly and extremely disrespectful to the people of Hawaii,” she insisted, warning how LGBTQ activists were trying to impose their agenda. “As Democrats we should be representing the views of the people, not a small number of homosexual extremists.”

When she ran for Congress in 2012, Gabbard apologized for her past “hurtful” comments to the LGBTQ community. Since then, she has actually had a fairly strong record of supporting LGBTQ equality, including co-sponsoring The Equality Act. The Human Rights Campaign gave her a score of 100 for her votes during the 115th Congress, with scores of 88 and 92 for the previous two sessions, respectively.

Still, progressives might have reason to be concerned about her more recent social positions. In an op-ed just last week, Gabbard excoriated fellow lawmakers who “incite bigotry based on religion.” Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) had criticized Brian Buescher, one President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees, for his membership in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization that has campaigned heavily against LGBTQ equality and a woman’s right to have an abortion. Gabbard accused them of engaging in anti-Catholic religious bigotry for questioning his affiliation with the controversial group.

Opponents of LGBTQ equality have long claimed that its advances infringe upon their “religious freedom.” Indeed, several cases seeking Supreme Court review involve businesses refusing service or employment to LGBTQ people based on their religious beliefs. Despite this claim, studies have shown that those who defend such discrimination do so regardless of whether it’s motivated by religious beliefs or not. Gabbard seems to subscribe to the same disingenuous interpretation of “religious freedom” to defend a powerful and politically influential organization like the Knights of Columbus.

In response to fresh scrutiny of her past statements, Gabbard issued a new statement to CNN indicating that she “regret[s] the positions” she took in the past. “I’m grateful for those in the LGBTQ+ community who have shared their aloha with me throughout my personal journey.” After boasting her support for various pro-LGBTQ bills during her time in Congress, she added, “Much work remains to ensure equality and civil rights protections for LGBTQ+ Americans and if elected President, I will continue to fight for equal rights for all.”

Two North Carolina women have been released on bail after attacking a transgender woman in the bathroom of a Raleigh bar last year. 

Jessica Fowler, 31, and Amber Harrell, 38, were arrested and charged with second-degree kidnapping and sexual battery over an incident that took place at Milk Bar on Dec. 9, the Associated Press reports. 

The 29-year-old victim was inside the bar's bathroom when Fowler and Harrell entered and began verbally assaulting her. The pair allegedly exposed themselves and groped the victim against her will, at one point asking her if she had a penis. 

The woman told police that the pair followed her out of the bathroom and continued to attack her, despite a bartender's multiple attempts to intervene. 

The victim called 911 the day after the incident to file a report, though the assailants were not arrested until this week, WRAL reports.

Fowler and Harrell have both been released from prison on $30,000 and $50,000 bonds, respectively, according to the Greensboro News & Record

Public bathrooms have been a hot-button issue in North Carolina since the state passed a bill in 2016 stating transgender people must use restrooms matching the gender on their birth certificates, a move that many viewed as discriminatory. The controversial law was repealed in 2017 and replaced with a contentious new bill that prevented local governments from passing laws to protect the rights of LGBTQ people.

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)-- - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive today that protects against discrimination of people in the LGBTQ community.

This directive protects LGBTQ community members to get equal opportunities when looking at state employment opportunities, state contracting or service and receiving state grants/loans.

It was signed at Affirmation in Ferndale, which is one of the largest LGBTQ community services in the state.

Gov. Whitmer says hopes this new directive creates a blue print for the rest of the country to follow.

"With a stroke of a pen, I have just put Michigan in a leadership role," said Gov. Whitmer.

Gov. Whitmer and her team stated that this was at the top of their list and is the ninth directive signed in just six days in office. 

The community showed up to witness the signing and congratulate Gov. Whitmer for signing this so early on. Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist says the turnout shows just how badly this needed to be put into order.

"It means that people have been hurting, it means that there's been so much pain, so much damage that's been done by discriminatory laws and discriminatory policies. That's ending with our administration," said Lt. Gov. Gilchrist.

Jeynce Poindexter works with Equality Michigan as a transgender specialist and victim advocate. She works with families who have lost a loved one due to transgender discrimination. She says this new directive will help community members fear being killed and not given equal opportunities.

"We're going to make sure that we're going to do something to make sure that your life and it's stability, is stable. I appreciate that with my life," said Poindexter.

To Poindexter, this signing means Gov. Whitmer kept a personal promise to her that she would get to work on it.

"This is not just showing up in the space, this is here supporting people who made me a promise, and then stuck to it," said Poindexter.

The directive also requires state departments to have a "equity and inclusion officer" to educate workers about sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as handle complaints.

 

Jennifer Wexton, the newly appointed Virginia representative, showed solidarity with the trans community by hanging a trans pride flag outside of her new office on Capitol Hill, reported the Washingtonian.

“The trans community has been under attack,” Wexton told the Washingtonian.

For the Democrat, the move was deeply personal, as she is the aunt of a transgender child.

“I wanted to show solidarity because we are talking about my friends and family,” she said.

The flag was tweeted by Narissa Rahaman of the Human Rights Campaign. “[Wexton] said to me, ‘Did you see the flag?! I think we’re the only office on the Hill with one,’” Rahaman wrote.

Before being elected to Congress, Wexton fought for LGBTQ rights while serving in the Virginia Senate. During her term, the state senate passed two pieces of legislature to protect gay and transgender Virginians from discrimination.

Advocates, like Charlotte Clymer of the Human Rights Campaign, say this symbol of solidarity is especially important with the Trump administration’s anti-trans streak.

“From the military to schools to hospitals, the Trump-Pence White House is working overtime in an attempt to erase trans people from the public square,” Clymer told the Washingtonian. “The trans flag proudly on display in the Halls of Congress is a sign to out community that we will not be erased.”

Buy It Now!