Uber driver says gender is the reason she was removed from the platform

ATLANTA — Uber is apologizing and taking action after a transgender driver says the ride-share service removed her from the platform over complaints about her gender.

Ty Ruth contacted Channel 2′s Mike Petchenik to get some answers about the removal and she provided him with an audio recording of a conversation she had with an Uber representative.

“What made it valid to deactivate me?” Ruth can be heard asking the rep.

“So many riders were complaining about the situation about your gender,” the rep can be heard telling Ruth.

The call took place in March 2020, just as the pandemic was taking hold, but the company didn’t take any action to rectify the situation until Petchenik contacted them this month with a copy of the recording and questions about what happened.

“I just think it was just really just downright nasty,” said Ruth, who is a transgender woman. “You know, it was crude. I mean, you’re gonna mess with someone’s income.”

Ruth estimates she lost nearly $80,000 in fares during her more than a year off of the application.

“None of this is necessary. We live in a beautiful country, to be able to liberate our human rights, as well as being ourselves,” she said. “And we should be able to be that. So even as a trans woman, or man, if you’re out there, you are not alone.”

After Petchenik reached out to Uber’s media relations department, a spokesperson sent him the following statement via email:

“What’s been reported is extremely concerning and we apologize for the driver’s poor experience. The information the customer service agent relayed to the driver was incorrect and after investigating further, we have reactivated the driver’s account.”

Ruth said it’s little consolation.

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“We are considered third-class citizens,” she said of other transgender individuals.

Ruth said she’s been keeping a close eye on anti-trans legislation being proposed in nearly three dozen states across the country, including here in Georgia. Last legislative session, Georgia lawmakers killed several proposals.

“We’re not in Saudi Arabia, we’re not in other countries that would stone you to death for being who you are,” she said. “We’re in America. And it just scares me.”