Vrinda Jagota
August 01, 2016 1:49 pm
Facebook

New York Grilled Cheese Co., a restaurant in Wilton Manors, Florida, is one of the first restaurants in the state of Florida to have gender-neutral bathrooms. Gender-neutral bathrooms are important because, often, when there are only “male” and “female” bathroom options, people who are gender nonconforming or who are transgender face discomfort, discrimination, and violence, simply for using the bathroom.

Recently, a number of the customers at New York Grilled Cheese Co. began complaining about a trans woman who works at the restaurant and have been saying they wouldn’t go back because “they only have transgender restrooms”.

And, a customer named Mary Bolda wrote on the company’s Facebook wall last week to tell others about the terrible service she received from a “waiter”, who is, in fact, a trans woman named Mia that Bolda continuously misgendered in her post.

Mia said that, while sometimes people misuse pronouns by mistake or out of ignorance, it is especially hurtful when someone does it intentionally and maliciously. Mia told HelloGiggles:

Mia went on to tell us that it is frustrating that the trans-inclusive bathrooms are framed as exclusive by customers simply because they make an effort to include members of the trans community. “The bathroom does not say ‘Transgender only,’ it is open to everyone of every gender, self-expression, or identity. And it is a single bathroom. Being trans-friendly has nothing to do with anyone’s personal space. Those people are going out of their way to be hateful.”

Of course, given the daily violence trans people face, it would be completely fair to have trans-only safe spaces.

In response to all of the transphobia on their page, the restaurant owners made a statement saying,

“We are sorry to hear that you won’t be back simply because of that reason. We hope that one day you’ll change your mind about singling out transgendered folks…New York Grilled Cheese Co. is proud to support gender equality and we urge everyone to do the same. We would never choose the revenue of an intolerant patron over the dignity of our employees.”

They also made a post in support of Mia, the waitress who was discriminated against, showcasing an image that says “Love Mia”.

It is heartbreaking to see such rampant transphobia in the world. Those who posted online were unable to check their unfounded rage and discomfort at something they didn’t know and didn’t understand. Mia feels that “those moments of hatred are happening more often. Now that transgendered people are being put on more platforms, people are retaliating with hate.”

In moments like these, it is important to show solidarity and support, and we are glad that New York Grilled Cheese Co. has done so. And of course, it is incredible that Mia has handled the situation with poise and incredible wisdom in the face of violence.

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