A Texas restaurant has marked its men's and women's restrooms by using photos of Caitlyn Jenner before and after her transition. Dom DiFurio of The Dallas Morning News tweeted a photo of the bathrooms at Dodie's Place in Allen, Texas, which perpetuate damaging myths about transgender people.
"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."
All LGBTQ individuals deserve to live in an area where they aren't brazenly mocked. Not everyone can simply pick up and move to a more progressive area and, more importantly, they shouldn't have to.
By using an image of Jenner before her transition as a men's room sign, Dodie's is perpetuating the damaging myth that transgender women are actually men. In reality, research has shown that transgender people experience their gender psychologically before they physically transition. Caitlyn Jenner and other transgender women were women before they changed their appearances and their names.
Furthermore, the images perpetuate another myth: That transgender women need to look and dress a certain way in order to be accepted as women. For women who are just beginning to transition, it sends the message that they're masculine and therefore a threat to cisgender women in the women's room.
"I saw it as a bit of a physical manifestation of the wink and nod jokes told often to me when I see people from that part of town," DiFurio said. "The kind of jokes where you feel like the person telling the joke wants you to laugh to verify their inclinations, but doing so would perpetuate a terrible environment for anyone in the LGBTQ community."
With violence against transgender women at an all-time high, "jokes" like this one aren't just cruel: They're dangerous.
Refinery29 has reached out to Dodie's Place for comment.