Woman suing Denny's says she only wants to be accepted as female

Five days after Brianna Freeman had used the women's restroom at Denny's restaurant in Auburn, she was beckoned by the manager. He asked to speak to her privately.

He told her that a customer had complained that she, a male, had used the restroom. He had talked to his supervisor, who talked to the company's vice president.

Because Freeman hadn't had a transsexual operation and wasn't considered a biological female, she had to use the men's room, they told her.

Freeman told him the restaurant was breaking the law by not allowing her, a transgendered person, to use the restroom at the public place.

When she met with a Sun Journal reporter at a different local restaurant this week, Freeman, 45, was dressed in a black tank top with spaghetti straps. Her dyed auburn hair fell below her shoulders and was pulled back by sunglasses. She wore silver earrings and a thin blue necklace. Before exiting, she slung a denim pocketbook over her shoulder.

What baffles Freeman, she said, is the restaurant's apparent change in policy.

She had frequented the same Denny's for about a year, dressed as a woman, and used the women's restroom without objection. She had met with the restaurant manager to explain her situation. There was no problem.

Then the restaurant changed managers. That's when the problem started.

Freeman said she never saw the woman who used the bathroom at the same time she did the night of the complaint. That woman couldn't have seen Freeman's face. So how did she determine that Freeman wasn't female?

She offered to discuss the issue with the manager, to provide documentation of her transition and make her counselor available.

They declined, having already decided, she said.

Freeman is in what she calls phase two of a three-phase process. First, about a decade ago, she discovered her true gender identity. Next, she assumed the role and lifestyle of a woman. Phase three is the surgical procedure to complete the process. It costs about $100,000, prohibitive for her to pay privately. No health insurance covers such a procedure, she said, though legislators in California are considering it.

The 13-day hospital stay would be followed by surgical recuperation, rehabilitation and the physical adjustment, she said. The mental adjustment would be minor by comparison, she said.

Freeman hasn't had similar problems at any of the other eight restaurants she visits regularly, she said.

“I am accepted and acknowledged as a female. It's really all I'm asking people to try to do.” In a couple of cases, she has talked to management or wait staff to explain before using the restroom, she said. The rest of the time, she doesn't feel the need to.

She has been undergoing hormone therapy for two-and-a-half years, aimed at boosting her estrogen levels and blocking her testosterone.

“This is something that people are born with,” she said. It's in her genetic makeup, in her brain.

The discovery came in 2000 when she was in a relationship. She and a girlfriend were kidding around. She picked up a pair of women's underwear at a store. Her girlfriend dared her to try them on. When she did, “it really turned a big light on in me.” She didn't say anything, fearing she'd lose her girlfriend.

“I've always felt different,” she said. “I've always felt like I did not belong with what I was given biologically. I thought it was just growing pains.”

But she learned it was nothing of the kind.

“That's a lie … it's a fallacy.”

Now that she is living as a woman, she can't and won't revert back to her life as a man, she said.

“I do not regress, digress to anything that's male as I present myself.” That includes using the men's room.

“I know there are some people out there who can't get beyond themselves to see that this is my choice,” she said. “It has nothing to do with you. I just want to live my life as completely as I can.”

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Comments

JONATHAN ALBRECHT's picture

unisex bathrooms?

Good idea. 2 of the 5 business I've worked for have had unisex bathrooms and as one might expect never had a problem.

 's picture

Not to offend...

I totally do NOT want to offend Bruce/Brianna, I realize this is a difficult issue. I keep coming back to the thought - what makes him/her a woman? Because she dresses like one? Is that enough? Because she says so? Is that enough? He/She is free to do as they want, dress as they want, think as they want - but so is everyone else. I actually feel bad for Denny's for having to go through this instead of just running their business.

 's picture

I remember your preachings

I remember your preachings from the Gay marriage issues, dear Madeleine. This is about EQUAL RIGHTS!!! You made it well know with the gay marriage issue that you hate homosexuals, so I am sure you have put Brianna in that category. Child molesters have dressed as priests....I don't see you mentioning that along with your concern of them dressing as women. People fear what they don't understand...and the sad thing is....there is nothing to fear. You tell Brianna to get over herself.....well I feel, too...that you need to get yourself off your judging throne and judge only yourself. If God feels that Brianna or anyone else for that matter, is doing anything he finds offensive, it's for him to judge, not you!!!!! Last I knew...the God I love and worship, was all about love and acceptance.

 's picture

and HE still can ...

by using the Men's Rest Room, which accommodates the equipment God endowed him with.

 's picture

i think if they identified

i think if they identified themselves as a female (or even male for use to be women) then they would have the info to back it up i.e. driver's license... so i think that it would be quite obvious if there was someone to abuse or use (going to the restroom) as an excuse.

furthermore-NOT every offender is a child offender. not every offender uses restrooms to peep. there are peeping toms and offender's... big difference and either of them has nothing to do with transgendered.

not to sound rude (and when i write this, i truly am not haste by any means) it is NOT about what you think or what others think... we don't have a right to tell someone how to live their life or how to dress or to stay home, etc. we are a world of diversity. you live by your morals and other will live by theirs. just because they may dress different or dye their hair or identify with one sex more than the one that they were physically born with does not mean that they are not good people. people who may have different views than yours are and can be good people.

 's picture

oh yeah-cuz separation and

oh yeah-cuz separation and segregation is soo much better...

 's picture

i'm in the paper bag?

i'm in the paper bag? shuure... well i am sure brianna or any one who is transgendered goes to the restroom to flash themselves. ladies do their biz with the stall door closed. thank you! ;)

 's picture

there is a big difference

there is a big difference from freerepublic and what they want you to believe from the actual truth... isn't this common? not to believe everything you read on the net as truth. get the facts:

"FOX News Distorts Trans-Inclusive Guidelines in Maine Public Schools
Opinion by GLAAD
(April 16, 2010) in Society / Gay Issues

Over the past two days, FOX New Channel has contributed to increasing public misconceptions about the efforts of the Maine Human Rights Commission to make the state’s public schools safe and comfortable for all students. Fox aired two irresponsible segments on the commission’s proposal to issue guidelines on “Sexual Orientation in Schools and Colleges” to all Maine public schools.

The proposed guidelines direct administrators to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms and to participate on gender-segregated sports teams in accordance with their gender identity. These guidelines were developed in response to a case, currently before a Superior Court in Maine, of a transgender girl who was denied access to the girls’ restrooms at school.

The guidelines do not create any new legislation. They are intended to instruct public school educators and administrators on how to ensure their schools are in line with the Maine Human Rights Act, amended in 2005 to include protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation which the act defines as an umbrella term including gender identity or expression.

On Tuesday, April 13th, the FOX coverage of this story began with America Live anchor Megyn Kelly hosting Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, to discuss the potential impact of the proposed guidelines on Maine’s students:

Throughout the interview, the inaccurate headline “Maine Considers Ban on Gender Specific School Bathrooms” sat at the bottom of the screen, despite Keisling’s explicit comments to the contrary. Kelly’s lack of knowledge about transgender children and gender identity in general was demonstrated by her repeated reference to transgender girls using male pronouns, and her implication that these guidelines would essentially allow boys into girls’ facilities.

Keisling did an excellent job of educating Kelly and her viewers about the true reasons for, and positive impacts of these guidelines, and we thank FOX for its decision to invite such a qualified spokesperson on the air. However, the the network’s own misrepresentation of facts is highly problematic.

The irresponsible commentary and reporting then increased yesterday when Bill O’Reilly, Lis Wiehl, and Kimberly Guilfoyle discussed the proposal with shocking flippancy and disregard on The O’Reilly Factor. O’Reilly’s answer to the question of how to accommodate a transgender student was:

“Why is it bad to use the boys’ room when you were born a boy? …You were born a boy, and that [the boys’ bathroom] is where you’re going. And if you don’t like it, you can go home and go to the bathroom and come back.”

This line of commentary by O’Reilly and Guilfoyle was disturbing at best. It completely failed to address the intense discomfort and harassment that trans and gender non-conforming students endure on a daily basis when forced to use gender-segregated facilities at school.

FOX’s coverage of this story reduced and twisted the powerful and necessary guidelines for creating inclusive and respectful learning environments into a crude and biased argument about public restrooms, and misrepresented the experiences of transgender children in schools.

In contrast, local media outlets in Maine have been covering the story fairly and accurately since early March, when the commission met to pass the proposal but ultimately decided to postpone a decision until it had allowed more time for public commentary.

On Monday, unfortunately the commission cancelled the public hearing and announced that it would be postponing any further work, at least temporarily. The Bangor Daily News printed a thorough and fair story of this decision."

 's picture

'The concept of diversity

'The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect.'

 's picture

Here we have it.......all you

Here we have it.......all you holier then thou people that sit in your thrones and judge people because you label them as different. If Brianna is using a woman's bathroom, no other female will know Bri has a penis unless the woman goes into the stall with her! Brianna is not in there because she's a pervert trying to get a sneak peek, so what harm is being done? She will not flash a young child nor will a young child even know that Bri is a man! It is so nice to know that there are those of you out there that are so perfect that you can judge others. Do you people walk on water as well? Brianna should be able to live her life in peace. She is hurting NO ONE!

 's picture

Blue Eyes, ...

you are assuming Brianna is not a pervert or trying to sneak a peek or flash a young child. It's not a matter of perfection; it's a matter of erring on the side of safety and prevention. Further, it is my opinion that until they have the operation, they should relegate themselves to using the facilities of the gender God Himself gave him. He's NOT a she yet and until that happens, he is still a he.

 's picture

Once Again everyone judges

Why must everyone judge everyone else? Why is it so hard to allow everyone to pursue his or her dream of happiness and contentment? Why can't we let them to feel acceptance for who they are regardless of our feeling? I do so hope that those who are judging have the opportunity to be judged and found lacking themselves.

 's picture

Needs money for operation,

Needs money for operation, sue's Dennys, hmmmm? Only in America.

DANNY FITZSIMMONS's picture

Dennys the only solution is

Dennys the only solution is co-ed bathrooms where each stall is enclosed!!! to provide privacy to every individual dont worry you can pawn the cost off to your customers just like the state, oh sorry yes thats true your customers may stop comming with added cost while the taxpayers have no choice what so ever!!

 's picture

and rightfully you should

and rightfully you should honey! glad that sj did an article like this... in her words more or less.

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