A Nashville woman who found herself face-to-face with a “big, burly” cross-dresser in the ladies room of a family restaurant felt her horror turn to anger after a restaurant manager suggested she try the men’s room.
Transgendered people in several states have been fighting for the right to use public restrooms that correspond with whatever sex they consider themselves, with lawmakers in California and Massachusetts providing support for the idea. But David Staton, whose wife had the disquieting run-in while eating out at Amerigo, a restaurant in the country music capital, has a simple solution.
“There needs to be some sort of law that says if you are born a man with man-parts, you go to the men’s bathroom,” said Staton.“In a family restaurant, men should go to the men’s room and women should go to the women’s.”
Amerigo owner Doug Hogrefe confirmed to Fox News that the incident occurred and apologized to the couple.
“Amerigo does not have a policy regarding questioning its guests about gender identity in our restrooms,” he said. “In my 20-plus years in the restaurant industry, this is also the first time something like this has come up.”
Staton and his wife were celebrating a date night on Saturday by eating dinner at Amerigo – a regional Italian restaurant chain in Nashville.
Sitting just a few tables away was a group of cross-dressers.
“These guys were well over six feet tall, big burly men in dresses,” he told Fox News. “The whole restaurant noticed them.”
And Staton’s wife especially noticed them after an encounter in the ladies room of the Nashville establishment.
“It was a small restroom and she was waiting for a stall,” he said. “And that’s when she came face to face with a guy well over six feet. She immediately blurted out, ‘Am I in the men’s bathroom?’”
She was not.
Staton said the man went over to the mirror to fix his lipstick and told his wife, “It’s okay. It’s okay.”
“She said, ‘No, it’s not okay. There are men in the women’s bathroom,’” Staton recalled.
His wife immediately asked to speak with a manager about the incident.
“I could tell the manager was shocked,” Staton said. “He told us he’d never had anything like that happen before.”
As a temporary solution, the manager suggested he would be happy to let her use the men’s bathroom and he would personally stand guard.
“I said, are you kidding me?” Staton said. “You’re going to ask my wife to go to the men’s bathroom because there are men in the women’s bathroom?”
Hogrefe said the restaurant manager “made every attempt to accommodate her.”
“I personally tried to reach out to the woman who was upset on Sunday but have not received a response,” he said. “We are sorry that she and her husband were uncomfortable in our restaurant and hope she will be in contact with us soon.”
Staton said he and his wife left the restaurant in shock and disbelief.
“It really infuriated us,” he said. “If the law allows a man wearing a dress to go into the women’s bathroom, any man is allowed in the women’s bathroom.”
He said it poses a safety hazard – especially for families with young daughters.
“No dad or parent should have to wonder – is my little girl going into the women’s bathroom with men in there,” he said. “To have a man in the women’s bathroom is a dangerous thing. That’s just so wrong on so many levels.”