A University of Texas student was denied entry to an Austin, Texas, Whataburger restaurant for wearing women’s clothing.
A video posted online showed student Tyler Grant, who identifies as gender queer, being barred from entering the restaurant by a manager. The college junior was allegedly told the outfit was too revealing, though Grant believes the manager’s decision to deny entry was discrimination.
“I really believe it was transphobia-driven and I don't think it had anything to do with what I was wearing,” Grant — who prefers to be referred to with gender neutral pronouns like “they” and “them” — said, insisting that the clothes were not see-through or revealing in any way. Grant added that the outfit included “two inches of hip/butt pads, two pairs of dancers tights and three pairs of nude pantyhose.”
“If it were see-through, then she would have seen my brightly colored underwear,” Grant said. The brief video revealed only a portion of Grant’s encounter with the restaurant manager and an off-duty public safety officer. The incident began before the start of the video, when the officer told Grant — who’d been walking barefoot — to put on shoes before entering the restaurant. As Grant began putting on high heels, the officer allegedly questioned the student’s gender.
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“Wait, are you a dude?” the officer reportedly asked. It was then that he got the manager’s attention.
Whataburger issued a statement in response to the incident, maintaining that the refusal was not because of Grant’s gender identity, but because of the attire.
“Whataburger is proud to serve all customers regardless of race, gender or orientation. This wasn't an issue of gender but of appropriate attire as this guest was dressed in lingerie,” the statement read. “Again, we welcome everyone into our restaurants but our customers' experience is our top priority. We are reviewing these events with our team members and will take appropriate action if needed.”
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