Restaurant Punished for Questioning Transgender Activist's Restroom Choice


Transgender individual tries to use women’s bathroom. Restaurant employee asks for ID. Transgender individual refuses, gets thrown out. Files complaint with police. Restaurant apologizes, fires two people involved. Restaurant still gets fined $7,000.

Chalk up a victory for LGBT causes.

Charlotte Clymer was at a bachelorette party at restaurant Cuba Libre in Washington, D.C., on June 22, according to the Metro Weekly. Born biologically male, Clymer transitioned to female in late 2017. She’s also a communications employee for LGBT group Human Rights Campaign.

“When Clymer attempted to use the restroom, an attendant stopped her, asking to see her ID. She refused and used the bathroom,” Metro Weekly reported.

“Upon exiting, Clymer was accosted by the attendant and a manager, who cited a nonexistent law claiming that a person must have ‘female’ on their ID in order to use the women’s restroom. Clymer told them they were wrong, and even attempted to show them the actual law, which allows transgender people to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. The manager refused to look at the citation, and openly mocked Clymer.”

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Clymer filed complaints with both the police and the D.C. Office of Human Rights. Both of the employees were put on leave immediately by the restaurant and are no longer employed there. It still ended with Cuba Libre getting fined $7,000.

According to a statement from D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, the city had reached a “settlement with Cuba Libre (which) requires the restaurant to stop discriminating against transgender residents, institute policies and employee training to ensure compliance with the District’s non-discrimination laws, and pay the District $7,000 for a penalty and legal costs. The legislation introduced by (the Office of the Attorney General) today, the ‘Attorney General Civil Rights Enforcement Clarification Amendment Act of 2019,’ will clarify OAG’s authority to bring lawsuits regarding violations of the District’s Human Rights Act (HRA).”

Do you think that this fine was called for?

“The District’s laws reflect one of our residents’ most deeply-held values: that all people should be treated equally,” Racine said in the Wednesday statement.

“With this settlement, Cuba Libre is required to maintain policies that will ensure this type of discrimination does not happen again. I want to thank the restaurant’s management and staff for cooperating fully in our investigation and seeking to rectify their wrongdoing.”

The question here isn’t about whether the employees acted correctly; they didn’t, and whether or not you agree with the regulations, what they did is against the law in D.C. Openly mocking anyone is abhorrent behavior, and if Clymer’s account is accurate, that’s exactly what happened.

But here’s the thing — both employees were fired almost immediately. The restaurant quickly apologized. This should have been handled in a low-key way.

Instead, this became a high-profile case in which Cuba Libre was made an example for other grievances of the left. Take Metro Weekly’s article, which includes a long interview with Clymer (it may not surprise you that the interview has almost nothing to do with the actual incident in question).

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The word “Trump” is used nine times in the article — including in the second paragraph. (“As rapid response press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, Clymer stays behind the scenes, responding to the latest machinations of the Trump administration or the latest developments on LGBTQ rights…”) Was Donald Trump at the Cuba Libre? I mean, he was in the same city. She works for HRC. That seems to be the only connection.

Also, while the Cuba Libre is a fairly well-known Washington restaurant, was the incident really worth an 800-word press release from the city’s attorney general? Were there that many people truly worried about an incident at a moderately popular eatery and watering hole?

No, of course not. This was an opportunity for everyone involved to show how ostentatiously woke they were. I understand that two employees did something against D.C. law, but that hardly merits this kind of response from the attorney general.

Instead of turning this into the pseudo-event it’s become, this all could (and should) have been settled with an apology and some training. No such luck.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture