Grace Carr, DCNF
A group of transgender people filed a lawsuit against Texas Chicken & Burgers in Manhattan Supreme Court Thursday, alleging the restaurant chain discriminated against them after they asked for chicken and didn’t get any.
The lawsuit comes after a group of transgender persons went to Texas Chicken & Burgers in Harlem, New York, on May 28 for a meal, but were left disappointed after the cashier told them there was no chicken left, according to the suit, the New York Daily News reported.
A white man standing behind the group of transgender persons then approached the cashier, ordered a nine-piece box of tenders and received his order, the lawsuit claims. One of the group members then attempted to order fish off the menu but was ignored, the suit continues.
Deja Smith, Daniele Marino, Jonovia Chase, Jahmila Adderley and Valerie Spencer are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
Texas Chicken & Burger employee Danny Gonzalez, who is gay, defended his coworkers, saying they would not discriminate against someone for his or her gender identity. He added that he would never do so himself, “Never, never— because I’m gay,” Gonzalez said.
“I’m really frustrated with the microaggressions that people put to trans people,” suit plaintiff Smith said at a rally at Stonewall Inn Thursday, referring to the restaurant incident. Stonewall Inn is a gay bar and national historic landmark where the 1969 riots that launched the gay rights movement occurred. “All of these microaggressions is what is leading to a general attitude of aggression towards trans people in the country,” Smith added.
Restaurant manager Gustavo Herrera said the incident was a result of a simple misunderstanding, adding that the cashier later offered chicken to the group members who refused.
Smith pushed back against the store’s manager, saying Herrera’s account is false. “That never happened. I really hope they really have surveillance video,” Smith said.
“We are confident that the situation was caused by an honest mistake made by the employee when stating that particular food items were sold out, and not the product of any intentional discriminatory treatment,” Texas Chicken & Burgers said in a statement following the incident.