By Erin Spencer, Jessica Garcia, and Raisa Tillis
Austin,TX-Early Saturday morning on April 11, 2015 in the West Campus area of the University of Texas, Tyler Grant, a public health junior was denied service at Whataburger after a night of hanging with friends.
Grant, who identifies as gender queer, left a drag show with some friends and went to a Whataburger restaurant to get a bite to eat and enjoy great company.
When Grant arrived to Whataburger, the police officer at the door immediately turned him away and told him he couldn’t enter because of the outfit he was wearing.
Grant had on cheetah print lingerie with five layers of panty hose and some thigh pads.
The police officer told him that his outfit wasn’t appropriate for entering the establishment.
“I don’t think my outfit had anything to do with why I couldn’t get inside of Whataburger,” said Grant. “I realized he didn’t let me in because he realized I wasn’t a women, I got really really pissed.”
Grant said that at first he couldn’t go inside Whataburger because he didn’t have shoes on, but when the officer told him to put them on and he heard his voice things went south from there.
Later that night, Grant got on Facebook and made a post about the incident that occurred at Whataburger, expressing his frustration and disappointment with Whataburger and the office on duty.
Wilfrido Rodriguez, a member of the Delta Lambda Phi and one of Grant’s friends, was shocked when he saw what happened to Grant early that morning at Whataburger.
“It really made me frustrated with Whataburger just because the fact that they were judging him based on clothing made me really mad,” said Rodriguez. “The fact that the police officer neglected him after he found out he was a guy hurt me to see that he had to have this experience happen to him.”
The next day Grant went back to Whataburger to talk to the same manager about why he felt discriminated when he was denied service early Saturday morning.
Thinking he may get the truth this time around, the manager still stuck with the same answer she gave him before. She wouldn’t let him in because of his clothing.
Austin has a nondiscrimination ordinance that prevents public accommodations from discriminating against individuals based on gender identity.
Grant went to Student Legal Services for advice on possible legal action for this incident.
He recently met with the city of Austin this week to file the official complaint against Whataburger. He said that it went well and Whataburger would be notified within 10 days of the investigation. Although there isn’t any punishment for breaking the nondiscrimination ordinance, Grant just wants them to know that what they did was wrong and hurtful.