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U.K. Trans Man Fights Bathroom Bias at Nightclub — And Wins

U.K. Trans Man Fights Bathroom Bias at Nightclub — And Wins


As U.S. trans folks have been increasingly targeted by proposed laws about bathroom access, one British trans man's fight offers hope.

When trans man Kay Browning was kicked out of the men's restroom and ordered to use the "disabled" restroom at Remedies, a nightclub in Devon, England, nine months ago, he refused to let the discrimination go -- ultimately filing a lawsuit against parent company Greendale Leisure Ltd.

This week, the 24-year-old reached an out-of-court settlement with Greendale for PS1500 ($2,218), and his gender identity will receive the recognition he's been seeking: he's now allowed to use the men's bathrooms at all of the company's properties, reports U.K. LGBT news site Pink News.

The indignities Browning endured echo those facing transgender citizens in Canada and several U.S. states that are currently debating whether to legally require individuals to use restrooms that accord with the gender they were assigned at birth.

Trans advocates have begun utilizing the hashtag #WeJustNeedToPee on social media -- at times accompanied with selfie pictures taken in public restrooms that do not match their authentic gender identity -- to protest recently proposed laws in Canada, Florida, and Texas that criminalize citizens who are caught in the "wrong" public bathrooms, at times under penalty or a fine or jail time. Proposed legislation in Minnesota, Kentucky, and Texas target trans students, with the latter state's legislation suggesting cisgender (nontrans) students receive $2,000 every time they prove they had shared a bathroom or locker room with a trans student.

Browning's own treatment, which he says left him "humiliated," brings to life an experience many trans people fear may soon be protected under the law -- and his victory brings hope that antitrans discrimination in single-sex facilities will not go unchecked.

"It's offensive on many levels. It ruined my night so I left without saying goodbye to my friends," Browning recalled to the U.K.'s Plymouth Herald of the incident, which ocurred while he was celebrating a friend's birthday. "I am constantly judged because I am transgender. Enough is enough. I hope I've made a stand for trans culture."

As an activist, Browning has appeared to discuss trans issues on several U.K. TV shows and documentaries, and has begun hosting LGBT awareness events, notes the Herald. He hopes to put the experience with Remedies behind him, and says he may consider hosting events there in the future.

"I would love to shake hands with [Greendale Lesiure Ltd.'s management] and start again," he stated. "It's in my nature to forgive -- they didn't understand me but I want to be the bigger person and I want them to move with the times."

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Mitch Kellaway