Eden Torres: Texas trans woman called 'sir' by Sonic Drive-In staffer in viral video

Eden Torres is the founder of Pride Portraits and claimed she was a victim of transphobia


                            Eden Torres: Texas trans woman called 'sir' by Sonic Drive-In staffer in viral video
Eden Torres, a trans woman, said she was discriminated against at a Sonic Drive-In (Twitter/@edentorres121)

Eden Torres, a trans woman and the founder and president of PridePortraits.org, claimed that she was the victim of transphobia from an employee who works at the drive-in fast-food restaurant chain Sonic in Houston, Texas. Torres uploaded two videos that captured her interactions with the employee to her social media. Both videos have since gone viral.

In a two-part video, Torres said she was subjected to transphobia after she placed her order at the fast-food restaurant and handed her credit card to the employee, who made a conscious decision to call her "sir". She asks, "What about me looks like a 'sir' right now?" The employee then replies, “I’m sorry and I apologize for what happened. What else can I tell you, ma’am?”

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Torres explained to him that after seeing her dead name on the credit card, the staff began to misgender her. She asked if the fast-food company had done anything to make this particular outlet “trans competent”. At that point, the employee says, “I’m so sorry that you feel discriminated, but we have employees here…that are gay.” Torres then pointed out that she’s not discussing sexuality, but gender identity. “I’m so sorry that you feel discriminated,” the employee says, to which Torres responds with, “It’s not that I ‘feel’. It’s that I was discriminated against.”

The second video sees the employee ask Torres, "Is the name on your name on the credit card a feminine name?" to which she replies, “No.” The employee then says, "Exactly! Then they're not discriminating against you."

"What are you?" he then asks as he continues arguing with Torres. "So I can call you sir or ma'am." Torres then retorts with, "What would you assume looking at me?" The employee says, "I assume that you're a man," before Torres turns the camera around to reveal herself. In a frustrated tone, Torres says, “Thank you. Whatever,” and drives away.

Torres first started Pride Portraits after the Pulse Nightclub attacks in Orlando in 2016. She began photographing people outside of a Pride Wall in Houston and collecting their stories. Five years later, she has photographed 6,000 people as part of Pride Portraits.

Torres, following the videos going viral, took to Twitter to write further about the incident, especially after she was bombarded with more transphobic comments. She wrote, “You do realize that by me speaking up, I am putting my life at gigantic risk. I have done absolutely nothing wrong aside from speak up for what should be a human right. To be treated with respect. No one should be fired. I would recommend sonic hire a trans org to train them.”

She also said, “There is a trans competency problem. Aggressively calling me sir as a way to negatively impact me is transphobia. The people defending this man’s and the other employees actions are cisgender and don’t understand the complexities of dysphoria and many things that trans folks face.”

In another tweet, she explained the kind of transphobia she was subjected to post the videos. She wrote, alongside a screenshot of a text message she received, “All day I’ve gotten messages like this. So far they have been threats or they want to tell me I have a penis. At the end of the day, every comment that is transphobic, perfectly proves that transphobia is real. This world seems to hate strong & confident women too.” Torres further said, “Transphobia should not be your default reaction if you disagree with me. We can disagree but you should still respect and affirm my gender identity while doing so.”



 



 



 



 

Responding to a tweet where Torres had tagged Sonic, the company apologized. Sonic Drive-in’s official account tweeted, “Eden, we have a strict anti-discrimination policy and take this very seriously. We launched an immediate investigation into the incident, and we have reached out to you via TikTok to gather more information needed to complete the investigation. Please feel free to DM us here.”



 

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