Transgender advocate: Senate Restaurant's Bruce Jenner hot dog is 'bigoted' and 'transphobic'

Senate donating to charity for Leelah Alcorn

CINCINNATI – “Part hotdog, part taco.”

That’s how Senate Restaurant – Over-the-Rhine’s upscale hot dog joint and gastropub – described its Bruce Jenner-inspired “dog of the day” Friday.

It's called the Bruce Jenner 2.0.

The one day-only menu item – a hot dog split in half, sprinkled with cheese, tomatoes and lettuce, wrapped in a soft taco shell and drizzled with sauce – came in anticipation of Jenner’s exclusive interview with 20/20’s Diane Sawyer Friday night.

The two-hour special with the 1976 Olympic decathlon champion and estranged patriarch of television's Kardashian clan is expected to touch on transgenderism and reports that Jenner may be transitioning to a woman.

Senate’s owners described the hot dog as “Pure Awesomeness” on a Facebook post they later deleted. But not everyone agreed.

Bruce Jenner

Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Seelbach, the first openly gay politician elected to City Council, said the menu item disappointed him.

“As much as I love the Senate team, the description of their ‘Bruce Jenner’ hot dog of the day made me cringe a little,” Seelbach said. “I understand that Senate’s daily hot dogs are supposed to poke fun at celebrities, but given that Bruce Jenner is possibly coming out as transgender tonight, and knowing how difficult that is, as seen with the suicide of Leelah Alcorn, I’m not sure I would have done with that description.”

Seelbach learned of the hot dog from a tweet on Senate’s official Twitter account. The tweet has since been removed.

Senate co-owner Dan Wright said at about 4 p.m. Friday, all proceeds from the "Bruce Jenner 2.0" will be given to a charity on Alcorn's behalf. Alcorn is a local transgender teen whose suicide led to international attention of transgender treatment.

Joe Purdue, Senate’s manager on duty Friday, told WCPO the hot dog was all in good fun.

Senate has several hot dogs named after celebrities, including one called the “Lindsay Lohan.” It’s described on the menu as a beef dog with goat cheese, caramelized onions, bacon, arugula, balsamic and “tons of drama.”

“We just – we always poke fun at current events,” Purdue said. “We wanted to get something going with the (Jenner) situation.”

Wright told WCPO the "Bruce Jenner 2.0" was "not a slight on the LGBT community."

"We think Bruce Jenner is awesome and has a tremendous amount of courage to transition in the way that he has," Wright said. "We think that Bruce will influence countless others who might not of felt brave enough to do so in the past... We f***ing love the LGBT community. (The hot dog) is exactly what we said it is. Pure awesomeness."

The majority of Senate’s followers on Facebook initially voiced no issues with the hot dog. One commenter called it “clever,” while another asked, “Is it served in a dress?”

A woman added, "I needed that chuckle. Thanks."

Seelbach wasn’t the only person with a negative response to the hot dog.

Lindsey Deaton, a transgender woman and local advocate for the transgender community, said her initial reaction was “Eww.”

She later wrote on her Facebook page, "Dear Senate: This is transphobic and bigoted. Remove this item from your menu immediatley and apologize to the transgender community. Now."

“Not good taste at all,” she added. “Pardon the pun.”

Senate's Bruce Jenner 2.0 hot dog

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