A student at the University of Texas at Austin was told to leave Whataburger, a Texas-based fast-food chain, over the weekend for being dressed in what the manager and Texas Department of Public Safety officer saw to be “women’s clothing.”
Tyler Grant, who identifies as genderqueer, has received many supportive comments on an original Facebook post about the incident, and plans to fight until the restaurant and security apologizes.
Grant took to Facebook following the incident which took place around 1am CT on April 11: “So Justin and I went to Whataburger and I’m in drag. I was holding my heels in my hand and the officer outside Whataburger said I had to put my shoes on so I complied. Then he said ‘wait, are you a dude?’ And I replied ‘that’s not a very nice question to ask.’ Then he replied ‘you can’t go in there like that.’ And he asked the manager and they refused to let me in.”
Grant’s friend in question, Justin Owens, immediately recorded the incident. Grant then shared the video on Twitter. They originally tweeted at the Austin Police Department, but they later learned the officer was with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The Whataburger near the UT campus is a popular late-night location for students. In the video, Grant explained to the officer and manager that they were covered up plenty, to which the Whataburger employee replied, “sorry it’s just rules.” Rules that, apparently, who they view as men can’t dress as women.
“I hope this brings awareness to identities outside the gender binary and to gender nonconforming people. I would like a full apology from Whataburger and the cop, and a promise that something like this won’t happen again,” Grant told the Daily Dot via email.
Grant is an RA, a public health student, and works at the gender and sexuality center on the UT campus. They have contacted the Whataburger corporate office and plan to take advantage of student legal services on campus.
A friend of Grant’s went back to ask questions of the officer and inform him about gender nonconforming people and the officer said, “he, she, whatever, but a guy can’t go inside dressed like that,” Grant said.
Photo via Frankieleon/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)