GiantSupermarket H Street NE Wikimedia Commons

A security guard was arrested and charged with assault after refusing to let a transgender woman use the restroom inside of a Northeast grocery store on May 18, according to D.C. police reports. Officials are charging Francine Bernice Jones, 45, with simple assault, a misdemeanor, after police said she pushed a transgender woman, Ebony Belcher, 32, out of the Giant Food Stores restroom on H Street in Northeast around noon.

Jones works for Wolf Security in Baltimore and police are classifying the altercation as a possible hate crime. She is scheduled to appear in court on July 21, according to D.C. Courts.

Belcher told News4 that she passed Jones on her way to the bathroom. While inside of the restroom, Jones opened the door on Belcher and said, “I know you are a man.” Belcher said Jones began calling her derogatory names and grabbed and shoved Belcher out of the supermarket.

Belcher said she recalls Jones saying, “You guys cannot keep coming in here and using our women’s restroom. They did not pass the law yet.”

This incident comes in the midst of a heated national debate about whether transgender people should use public restrooms corresponding to the sex they were born with or corresponding to their gender identity. The Obama administration issued guidelines on May 13 that directs public schools to allow transgender students to occupy the restroom that matches their gender identity. The guidelines do not have the force of law. This is a product of a current court feud between the Federal Government and North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which mandates transgender individuals to access restrooms that match the sex stated on their birth certificate.

Advocacy groups, such as The DC Center for the LGBT Community, are working to stop violence against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people. Sam Shinberg, a staff social worker at the center, told the AFRO May 24 about the center’s DC Anti-Violence Project that aids survivors of violence, through community outreach, education, and monitoring cases to ensure that the rights and dignity of LGBT victims are protected.  Mental health services provided by the center are free to individuals and groups.There has been a 43 percent increase in hate crimes in D.C. as of April 30 from 10 incidents in 2015, according to the police department.  There was a zero percent change in crimes against gender identity/expression from three crimes in 2015.