A transgender man who was accused of shoplifting at a Food Fair grocery store in New Jersey is now suing after a police officer made him take off his pants and reveal his prosthetic penis.
The man, who is currently transitioning and whose name has not been revealed, says an off-duty police officer who was working security at the store back in May had accused him of stuffing merchandise in his pants and demanded to see what he was hiding, according to a report in Metro.
In the lawsuit, the man says that a female cashier was instructed to perform an invasive inspection of the man in the supermarket bathroom after he explained that he was transgender.
“During this inspection, plaintiff showed the cashier the prosthetic penis and [his] vagina,” the lawsuit reads.
The trans man left the restroom in tears, saying he felt “scared, humiliated, intimated and abused,” and the officer reportedly apologized after the inspection was over.
“My understanding is that (the officer) saw something in [his] pants, which was the prosthetic device, and thought [he] took something from the store and was hiding it,” the man’s lawyer, Thomas A. McKinney, said. “[He] didn’t steal anything. [He] didn’t touch a single thing in that store.”
While it is still unclear who is specifically being sued, the lawsuit claims that the man was falsely imprisoned in the store, the state’s anti-discrimination laws were broken and that he still suffers from “emotional distress, pain and other ailments” resulting from the inspection.