Thursday, October 11, 2007

Did you remember your gender today?

Khadijah Farmer never expected to be bullied and humiliated at a New York City restaurant.

She, her girlfriend and another friend went out to the Caliente Cab Company after New York's Gay Pride Parade last June. When Farmer left her party to use the women's restroom, a bouncer followed her in, banged on her stall door and demanded she leave. Farmer, who opts for men's suits rather than makeup, attempted to show the bouncer her ID - to prove she was "woman enough" to use the women's room. The employee refused to listen to Farmer, and proceeded to throw her and her friends out.

It's no surprise many people are uncomfortable with ambiguous ways of exhibiting gender, but honestly, I can't see how Farmer was hurting anyone or creating a dangerous atmosphere by being herself. In short: who fucking cares?! Who cares what people wear or how they define themselves, as long as they are comfortable with who they are?

Michael Silverman, staff attorney from the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund of New York City, said it best this morning on the Today show:

"In this case, we believe the fundamental issue is, who gets to decide whether someone’s gender expression is appropriate? Is it Khadijah, or is it every bouncer in a restaurant? Is it every employer or manager who says, ‘Well, would you try a strand of pearls? Maybe that would make you look more feminine. Maybe we’d like you more in the workplace’?"

There's some food for thought.

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