Violence against transgender people is not funny, even though the McDonald's employee taping this attack seemed to find it a hoot. The irrational fear of someone trans totally mystifies me. And yet, for the transwoman or man, it is not merely mystifying. It is terrifying. Public spaces, especially restrooms, are particularly tricky and often the most volatile spaces for a trans person to enter.
I am not trans, but I am what some call a "gender non-conformist" lesbian in that I don't look like a stereotypical woman because my hair is short, my shoulders are broad and I don't wear dresses or make-up. This isn't something that makes me uncomfortable. But I can see in the faces and the eyes of others that my look freaks them out. When I enter a woman's restroom in a McDonald's or a gas station or any place that is not in a private residence, I find myself a little anxious and very cautious. I basically am trying to go in, do what I need to do, and get out lest I have that unfortunate situation of "mistaken for a male crisis" where a person leaps to a conclusion about my gender and turns a simple pee stop into a pissy snit about "the man" in the ladies room.
In this way, I have walked a few steps in the shoes of my trans brothers and sisters. And observing this rampant ignorance of the public hurts. Watching it unfold in such violence as was unleashed against Chrissy, the transwoman beaten in this video, makes me want to throw up. Trans, gay, straight, black, white, immigrant: as Shakespeare would say, "If you cut us, do we not bleed?"
McDonald's issued the following statement on the incident:
" We are shocked by the video from a Baltimore franchised restaurant showing an assault. This incident is unacceptable disturbing and troubling. McDonalds strives to be a safe welcoming environment for everyone who visits. Nothing is more important to us than the safety of customers and employees in our restaurants"
I just don't think that's adequate. I am tired of corporate apologies with all the right words about being "safe" and "welcoming". It's time for the McDonald's, the Wal-Mart's, the Targets, the many mega companies with all the tax breaks known to humankind to put some of their corporate muscle into action.
- Refuse to finance the political campaigns of those who promote hatred against people, especially LGBT people.
- Get behind efforts to fight bullying in the schools.
- Adopt non-discrimination policies in employment and accommodations... and publicly back those local governments that make such laws for their communities.
Change.org has a petition to sign calling on a response from McDonald's to this attack.