Transphobia at Starbucks

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu. “Starbucks’ta Transfobi” (“Transphobia at Starbucks”) Bianet, 17 October 2014,

Instead of serving her coffee, the Starbucks at the Cevahir Shopping Mall, Istanbul, gave Michelle Demishevich her money back. Demishevich, who protested with a sit-in at the coffee shop, is awaiting a written apology.

Source: Bianet

Source: Bianet

Trans journalist Michelle Demishevich experienced discrimination at the Starbucks at Cevahir Shopping Mall in Istanbul.

Demishevich, who spoke to Bianet, said that, instead of serving her coffee, the employees gave her money back and said “you may file your complaint with whomever you want.” Demishevich said:

“I got in the line and ordered my coffee. First they started laughing among themselves and make fun of my name, saying ‘is it Michael or Michelle.’ Then they served the customer behind me. When I protested the situation and asked why they did not serve me, they refunded my money. Then they said, laughing, ‘you may file your complaint with whomever you want.’

“Five women who were present at the coffee at the time and witnessed the incident supported me. They came by my side with a rainbow unbrella and with a piece of paper that said ‘We are here, get used to us! LGBTI individuals do exist.’

“I am currently protesting with a sit-in inside Starbucks and my sign. People passing by are giving me support. Mr. Ozan, Starbucks Turkey’s Operations Director also arrived. I am awaiting a written apology due to the discrimination I was exposed to.”

Demishevich reported that, after waiting in the coffee shop for a few hours, she was told by the Operations Director that the relevant procedure will be initiated regarding the employees who denied service and were transphobic towards her and that ‘they [Starbucks] cannot issue a written apology but that, in line with company policy, they can provide her with a spoken apology.'”

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