Dodie’s Place Cajun Bar & Grill, “that red awning & patio lights place you see when you come out of the Allen Event Center,” according to their website, has come under fire in recent days for using a large photo of Bruce Jenner competing at the 1976 Olympics on the door of the men’s restrooms, across from a large photo of the Vanity Fair cover featuring Caitlyn Jenner.
Dom DiFurio with the Dallas Morning News appears to be the first person in the media to notice the restaurant’s restroom doors, with an Oct. 30 post on Twitter showing a photo of the two doors with the question, “What’s going on here, Dallas?”
The Daily Dot then published an article about DiFurio’s tweet, calling the doors “incredibly insensitive.” DiFurio described Allen to The Daily Dot as “a conservative bastion in North Texas,” adding, “I wouldn’t consider it a particularly great place to be LGBTQ.”
The Daily Dot article then went on to say: “By designating Jenner as a man before her gender transitioning, the images imply that gender is only skin-deep. In reality, science suggests that transgender people experience gender dysphoria because they experience their gender identity psychologically, not just physically. In other words, Caitlyn Jenner was a woman before she began changing her body and name.”
The article also called out the restaurant for implying that transgender women should look a certain way, present as femme or be able to pass as cisgender women to be considered women, and it highlighted a link to the ridiculous — and thankfully, failed — efforts in the 2017 Texas Legislature to pass a “bathroom bill” limiting trans people’s access to the appropriate public restroom facilities.
(In other words, The Daily Dot clearly “gets it.”)
Both The Daily Dot and, in a later article, The Dallas Morning News noted that they tried without success to reach the management at Dodie’s for comment. But the Morning News added, “but owner Kyle McPherson — who uses a different name on Facebook — posted that the pictures ‘FINALLY’ got the media’s attention.”
Obviously, there are plenty of people who see nothing wrong with the bathroom doors at Dodie’s, saying the photos are just a joke and that anyone offended by them should get over it.
But plenty of others disagree, including Renee Baker, a therapist who works with transgender people and is, herself, transgender. Posting about the situation on Facebook, Baker said: “I will not be eating at Dodie’s ever again…pathetic.” She also said she had emailed the restaurant and posted on the Dodie’s Facebook page.
Jess Herbst, the transgender woman who is mayor of New Hope, a town just a few miles from the restaurant, also condemned the photos as “offensive to trans folks.”