Almost two years after Liza Friedlander was viciously attacked by staff and diners at a Sizzler in Queens, a New York judge has awarded her $25,000, citing the restaurant violated state law by allowing her to be discriminated against in a public accommodation.
In September 2010, Friedlander and her friends hit up the breakfast bar at the Sizzler in Forest Hills. While she was standing, restaurant manager Edgar Orellana shoved Friedlander in the chest hard enough to knock her down. Orellana proceeded to kick her, call her “a fucking dyke” and tell her to get out.
Soon enough, other patrons joined in—shouting homophobic slurs and throwing objects at her. One man called her a “he-she freak,” another threatened to show her “what a dick is.” Friedlander’s friends called 911 and the victim was eventually taken to the hospital.
“I was attacked and threatened by people yelling terrible anti-LGBT slurs, throwing things at me and threatening to sexually assault me,” says Friedlander, represented in her case by Lambda Legal. “On that day, I felt helpless, humiliated and frightened, but today I’m so proud that I stood up and did something about it. No one should have to go through a nightmare like that.”
Natalie Chin, Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal, says the verdict sends a message that bias attacks against will not be tolerated: “Businesses are not exempt from treating LGBT people with dignity and respect.”