Deja Smith (makeup artist for actress Laverne Cox), Daniele Marino, Jonovia Chase, Jahmila Adderley and Valerie Spencer wanted to order food at the Texas Chicken & Burgers on Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem.
One of the employees told them that what they wanted was no longer available. A minute later, the same employee served the same order to a white cisgender man.
Texas Chicken & Burgers attests that this was an error and that this is not discriminatory. Nevertheless, Valerie Spencer explains that she asked the employee: “Excuse me, sir, are you blatantly ignoring me to disrespect me? and she says the employee answered "yes".
As a result, Deja, Daniele, Jonovia, Jahmila, and Valerie filed a complaint against Texas Chicken & Burgers based on the New York’s civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on sex.
“Today we stood up to speak truth to power, and combat the discrimination we faced at #TexasChickenAndBurgers,” wrote Deja Smith on Instagram.
Their lawyer, Ben Crump, said: “Texas Chicken and Burgers has done nothing more than issue a sorry apology.
“Its leaders have swept this blatant act of discrimination under the rug. But their fault is both absolute and undeniable.
“We will not allow them to ignore this issue. We will not allow them to avoid this issue. We will shine a spotlight on this disgusting example of how Texas Chicken and Burgers treated our clients as second-class citizens based on their appearance, gender identity, and expression.
“Discrimination is discrimination. It doesn’t matter whether it is based on race, gender or sexual orientation. It is wrong.”
Lawyer Gennaro Sevastano added: “New York law has zero tolerance for transphobia and homophobia.
“It is alarming that this type of outrageous conduct could happen anywhere, but especially in New York City. We are eager to seek justice for our clients and proud to represent them, especially in this current climate where fundamental dignity is at issue and disrespect has become increasingly normalized.”
A group of trans women and gender non-conformist people has been discriminated against in New York, I hope they will get justice.