The city is investigating after an Edmonton drag queen says a Yellow Cab driver refused him a ride because he was dressed as a woman.
The man, who asked to be identified by his stage name, Binki, said he ordered a Yellow Cab using his legal name after a performance at Evolution Wonder Lounge on Sunday night.
The cab driver called ahead, asking Binki to wait outside, which he did. As soon as he sat down in the cab, though, he said the driver told him to get out.
“I was half in, half out of the cab, you know, looking fabulous – and he was just – 'get out.'”
Binki said the driver’s command left him shocked.
“I got out of the cab and then I went back to my friends and … I said, ‘I just got kicked out of the cab.' And they said, ‘Why?’ And I said, ‘because I'm in drag.’”
Rob Browatzke owns the club where Binki was performing. He said this is not an isolated incident.
“I was appalled,” he said. “Am I surprised? No. And that's sad, too, because this is not the first time I've heard a story like this, and sadly I don't think it will be the last.”
Browatzke said he hopes the story going public will make cab companies hold their drivers accountable.
Garry Dziwenka, the city's director of licensing, said taxis can only refuse service when their vehicle or personal safety is in jeopardy. Refusing a fare could result in a day's suspension or even the cancellation of a licence, he said.
Dziwenka said anyone who has been treated unfairly should call or file a complaint.
"Whether it's refusing a ride or kicking somebody out – we want to hear about it."
Binki hopes making the story public will prevent anyone else from going through the same thing.
A spokesperson for Yellow Cab said the company is looking into the incident.