Dodie’s Place Cajun Bar & Grill, a restaurant in the North Texas suburb of Allen, decided to designate their men’s and women’s bathroom doors with large pre- and post- transition images of transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner. The men’s restroom shows a picture of Jenner winning the decathlon at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games and the women’s restroom shows her famous ‘Call Me Caitlyn’ Vogue magazine cover, one of her first public presentations as a fashionable trans woman. Internet reactions to the Caitlyn Jenner bathroom signs have been mixed.
Dallas Morning News reporter Dom DiFurio recently discovered the bathroom doors and posted an image of them on Twitter, but the doors have reportedly been up since August, according to The Huffington Post.
“Collin County, where Allen, Texas is, as a whole is considered a conservative bastion in North Texas,” DiFurio told The Daily Dot. “I wouldn’t consider it a particularly great place to be LGBTQ.”
What’s going on here Dallas? pic.twitter.com/CgllDKliE2
— Dom (@DomDiFurio) October 30, 2017
Facebook reactions to the Caitlyn Jenner bathroom images
Internet reactions have been mixed. A Facebook user named Vanessa Elizabeth Vega wrote:
So they don’t have a bathroom for males?? Those pictures both show WOMEN. I don’t like her, but I respect that she’s always been a woman… she just used to perform as male. Why is this so hard for people to understand??
Another Facebook user named Kate T. Finn wrote: “I’d like to know what the restaurant owners were thinking. Seems it maybe a statement against the ludicrous bathroom rules some stated are enacting.”
One transgender Facebook user named Paula Minnie Ellis wrote:
It may seem really funny, but we live with these jokes our entire lives. They get really old. After someone has threatened your life in a joking manner, which has happened to me in another setting, a medical one, it really stops being funny.
This seems very problematical regardless of intent. (I see no ambiguity in the message implicit in this display. BTW, it’s a joke at our expense, clearly.) I’ve had plenty of encounters with terrible “allies.” I’d rather deal with those who are directly hostile. At least you know where they stand with them. With fake allies you have to watch your back all the time. Yuck.
The restaurant explains their Caitlyn Jenner bathroom photos
The restaurant responded via Facebook:
First and foremost, our intention was not to make fun of or offend anyone when we installed the pictures of Bruce and Caitlyn on our bathroom doors. It was merely a lighthearted gesture to push back against the political correctness that seems to have a stranglehold on this country right now. We believe that political correctness has done more to silence rather than encourage important discussions that our society probably needs to have. Based on the mind-boggling feedback, both positive and negative, people are having that discussion. However, name calling and words like transphobic, deviant, racist, homophobic, bigot, etc. serve nothing but to continue to divide us instead of uniting us. After all, we are all part of the same race – the human race. Surely, we can discuss this topic and many others without slapping hurtful labels on each other. Please know that we are here to discuss this and move forward as a community. Everyone is welcome here.
The sewer hiding under the Caitlyn Jenner bathroom signs
Let’s be clear: Jenner is an annoying, over-privileged former Trump supporter and possibly even harmful to the the transgender community, but it has never been acceptable to use her (or any trans person’s) transitioning as a joke for public ridicule.
Doing so dehumanizes trans people, reducing them to their genitals and re-emphasizes the idea that they simply change from one gender to another — all things which perpetuate anti-trans stigma, increase violence against trans women and make transgender people “14 times more likely to consider suicide and 22 times more likely to attempt it than the general public.”
Using trans people to designate bathrooms is especially frustrating in light of the Texas legislature’s recent attempts to pass several anti-trans “bathroom bills” preventing safe accommodation of trans people in locker rooms and public restrooms. Texas Competes, a coalition of over 1,200 Texas businesses, and Texas House speaker Joe Straus successfully opposed the legislation as bad for businesses seeking trans employees and customers.