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A trans woman was harassed on a Lyft ride – then two strangers came to her aid

Written by gaytourism

Charlotte Clymer, a trans woman who works at the Human Rights Campaign, today shared a story about experiencing discrimination on a Lyft ride. As well as the two strangers who stood by her side.

Clymer, who originally came out on Twitter in an extensive thread, once more used the social media platform to share her story.

It started in Washington DC, where the city’s metro was experiencing delays. So Clymer decided to get a shared Lyft ride instead.

Clymer was the first person to get into the shared Lyft and that’s when her day suddenly shifted.

As she explains in her next two tweets, the driver angrily asked for her name. When she responded, the driver continued to meet her with hostility.

Two other passengers joined the ride, but neither of them were asked for their names or met with hostility.

As Clymer writes: ‘My mind goes back into whirring mode, and I feel small, and I decided that’s unacceptable.’

When she confronted the driver about the exchange, the driver responded: ‘Because you’re a man, and “Charlotte” is not a man’s name.’

That’s when Clymer decided she could no longer be in the car.

‘And without hesitation,’ she recalls. ‘The other two passengers, far from their destinations, strangers to me and each other, say they’re getting out, too.’

Suddenly, a situation that began as horrible and lonely and scary, morphed into compassion and strength.

Clymer learns who the strangers are. One is Robert Byrne who works at Victory Fund. The other is Jessica Ordóñez, an intern working at the National Widlelife Federation.

They talked with Clymer as they all got a cab together.

‘I feel a lot of emotions with what happened. I’ve been feeling them all morning. But the one thing I haven’t felt is alone. They made sure of that.’

It goes to show what a relatively simply act of kindness can mean to a person and how far it can go.

Clymer ended the story on a positive note. She donated both to Victory Fund and NWF.

She also expressed her pride in being transgender: ‘I am proud to be transgender, I am proud of the transgender community, and I will assert that trans is beautiful.

‘To those filled with anti-LGBTQ hatred, I want you to know there’s beauty in you, too.’

Recognition of privilege

GSN spoke to Clymer about the situation.

Admirably, the first thing she did was acknowledge her own privilege.

‘I am fortunate that I have the kind of privilege that allows me to buy an expensive cab ride without further thought or avoid the ugliness of white supremacy when something like this happens,’ she said.

She continued by explaining many LGBTQ people of color face this kind of thing on a disproportionate level ‘because they lack my white privilege and financial privilege’.

‘I’m grateful I had the resolution I did, but this might have gone much differently for someone who doesn’t look like me or have the level of security I do.’

A good ending

Luckily, this story had a good ending, starting with Byrne and Ordóñez. Their selfless act of kindness — and Clymer sharing it with the world — can hopefully inspire us all.

Plus, Clymer also told GSN that Lyft deactivated the driver. She said the Lyft representative was professional and kind.

‘I’m relieved and impressed with how they handled the situation,’ she said.

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