WASHINGTON (WJZ) -- Verbally and physically assaulted. That's what a transgender woman says happened when she tried using the women's bathroom at a busy grocery store. The case is being investigated as a possible hate crime, and a security guard is facing charges.
Rick Ritter reports it is adding to the growing national debate about transgender people, and which restrooms they can use.
Ebony Belcher, 32, was a Baltimore City Community College student and suffers from Parkinson's Disease. She says she was forced out of the women's bathroom.
At a loss for words, and now, a loss of sleep, 32-year-old Ebony Belcher says she's never been so mortified.
"This has never, ever, ever happened to me," said Belcher.
A transgender woman since she was 14, Belcher was at a Giant grocery store in Washington, D.C. Wednesday when she needed to use the restroom. She says when she walked into the women's room, a female security guard barged in, forced her to leave the restroom, and ultimately, the store.
"She said to me that I'm tired of you guys keep coming in here, using the women's bathroom.I know you're a man, you 'he-she,'" Belcher said. "The officer then grabbed me by my arm, spun me around, grabbed me right behind my back and forcibly pushed me out the Giant."
The issue is just the latest to stir controversy nationwide after President Obama issued a directive to public schools, saying transgender students must be allowed to use the bathroom they feel most comfortable in.
"I think it is part of our obligation as a society that everybody is treated fairly," the president said.
The decision has sparked heated dialogue.
"This is an incredible overreach by the Obama administration like none that we have ever seen," said John Rustin, North Carolina Family Policy Council.
The security guard is now being charged with simple assault -- something Belcher hopes sends a strong message.
"It shouldn't be this way. This has to stop," she said.
Police say they've reviewed surveillance video that matches up with Belcher's story.
Giant says the security guard works for a third party company and is not a Giant employee.
D.C. human rights law protects the rights of transgender people to use the bathroom where they feel most comfortable.
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