Last week, Katie and I ate with a friend at Mbar for the first time. I wrote them about our experience on Facebook – the below is what I sent.
To Whom It May Concern,
I apologize for sending this message here. I didn’t see an email listed to send general inquiries to other than the events one.
You don’t know me which will probably make the story I tell here seem a bit too personal. That said, I do feel compelled to share it. I dined in your restaurant on 2/13/19 with a friend and my wife. It was all of our first time attending Mbar and after all the hype I’ve heard from my friends, I was really looking forward to it.
My wife is transgender. She has been undergoing transition in her self and her social life for the past 17 months, a pathway that I’m sure you can imagine is incredibly challenging and fraught with a lot of turmoil. On the evening we attended your restaurant, my wife was feeling dysphoric. Her beard was grown out a bit for the electrolysis appointment she had the next day. Her beard triggers a dysphoric state more strongly than anything else. Since my wife came out, anytime we go somewhere new, I brace myself for the times when she is misgendered. It’s no one’s fault when it happens – my wife and I both believe our society has been trained to view certain features as masculine or feminine and people jump to conclusions without thinking about it. Knowing beards are often a signal of masculine pronouns, I was ready to support my wife when she was misgendered, ready to do the song and dance we’ve done before of educating the person who makes the mistake, working extensively to make them feel okay about it when we correct them.
As we walked towards the greeter on the first floor, we were greeted with a warm, friendly “Hello Ladies”. We were met with the same phrase upstairs by both the person who sat us and the person serving our meal. I’m writing, because I cannot tell you how monumentally important and validating that was for both my wife and I. It changed her entire mood and outlook that evening, giving her a boost in confidence that wasn’t there as we got ready for dinner. Since last week, I’ve contemplated what about my wife’s looks that night may have triggered our treatment. I don’t know if anyone could really spot her as transgender. I don’t know if everyone working that evening just guessed the right pronouns. I don’t know if it’s because your establishment fosters an inclusive environment. I just wanted to say thank you for this unknown and what I imagine is an insignificant gift by others. Our meal and wine were wonderful, but I don’t know that their value can be equal to the gesture of my wife being addressed as the gender she knows she is. It came at the right time and it won’t be forgotten by either of us. We’ll definitely be back.
The staff promptely responded to my message and are sharing it amongst the management and team. Pay it forward, as they say.