Colonial Heights, VA - A transgender woman is claiming she was verbally harassed by a shop keeper, and asked to leave by security at the South Park mall because of her sexual identity.
Tyler Vaughan, 19, entered the Colonial Heights mall hoping to purchase a necklace, but when she approached the kiosk, the cashier unleashed a torrent of hateful comments. “He called me a faggot and told me to fuck off,” said Vaughan.
“I was completely shocked,” she said. A security guard then approached her, and according to Vaughan, asked her to leave. “I have to remove the problem,” the security officer said to Vaughan. “I wasn’t the problem, he was,” she replied, and he asked her to leave again.
Vaughan has been transitioning since she was 15 and said this wasn’t the first time she’s dealt with being a target for her gender identity – she said this is one of dozens of attacks she’s endured.
“I’m tired of it. It’s 2014 and people are acting like it’s the 50′s,” she said. “It’s unreasonable to ask people to deal with this.”
Usually Vaughan just walks away from problems like this, and she admitted she hasn’t done anything about it in the past – but she’s “doing something about it now.”
She called the management of South Park mall before reaching out to the media, but she said her complaint was dismissed. “They were not helpful at all… I said I was going to contact the news and they said ‘just do what you have to do.”
Vaughan has camera phone footage of the security guard asking her to leave the mall, see it below:
There are no laws in the state of Virginia which prohibit this kind of behavior – denying service to someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity is completely legal in the commonwealth.
“Currently she has no legal recourse,” said Michael Hamar, a Norfolk based attorney with a history of LGBTQ law. “This kind of discrimination is legal because there is no law against it.”
Attempts to reach South Park Mall’s management, as well as their security department, were not answered by the time of post and we will update when they respond.