A transgender student at a Charlotte, NC college says she was discriminated against by the university and harassed by security. Andraya Williams, a 22 year-old student at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, was stopped by a security guard as she exited the women’s bathroom and was asked to show her school ID.
“It was very embarrassing and humiliating because I didn’t feel like it was any of her business.” Williams then said she was asked what her gender was by the security officer.
“She outright asked me was I male or female and I told her that I was female. I showed her my ID and she called for backup.”
According the university, the guard was looking out for the safety of students because she thought Williams was a man dressed as a woman going into the bathroom.
Williams is alleging that the guard publicly mocked her.
“She was kind of chuckling. I felt like she was picking on me.”
Sarah Demarest, Williams’ attorney, says her client was escorted off campus, suspended and would only be allowed back if she used the gender neutral bathroom. Demarest also said the dean requested proof that she was a female. “He told her she had to bring in medical proof of being a female if she wanted to use the female restroom.”
A spokesman for the school, Jeff Lowrance, says Williams was never technically suspended but did get in trouble for not showing her school ID. “Central Piedmont, like many colleges and universities across the country, is beginning to recognize and understand the needs of transgender students. However, the college must balance these needs with those of the general student population,”Lowrance said.
Williams says it’s just plain discrimination. She and her attorney are considering filing a formal complaint and they are hoping for an apology from the school. A group of students are planning a protest Friday at the school.