Since we’re well into another wonderful (read: terrible) election season, I thought I’d join the ruckus of self-entitled nitwits spewing their opinion online as if people actually cared and as if what I have to say is really that important. Also, because sometimes I just like being a prick, I wanted to say a lot of things that really outraged a select group of people because that’s fun for me. But please understand this: Nothing in this series is my way of taking a stand one way or another, even though it probably seems like it. Rather, I’m simply questioning why such things are even a big deal.
It started with a bit of local legislation about bathrooms and gender identity. Charlotte has a lot of hipsters, I’m sure it was their idea to include maybe the smallest minority group in the world into something seemingly miniscule.
Then one night, in a dirty Charlotte bar in a gentrified part of town, a man was using the bathroom when Eric (who used to go by Erica) walked in with an oversized t-shirt and baggy jeans and licked the back of the man’s neck as he stood at the urinal. The innocent man locked up. His bladder stopped working and he could no longer go. The trauma of the event left the man with a bladder infection from being unable to pee and a slightly sticky neck because transgender saliva is surprisingly sticky.
Just kidding. Someone had a thought. A single thought. “What if one of those weird Caitlyn Jenner people walk in the bathroom when I’m in there? I’m not mentally capable of handling that.”
Suddenly a piece of legislation was born that not only ensures your bathroom won’t have any weird gender crisis liberals in it, but you also can’t go to the State to sue for any kind of discrimination whatsoever (even if someone fires you for being an over-the-top mecha-Christian – but that would never happen, would it?). So we’re now writing laws based on (misguided) thoughts we have about things that don’t even affect us. The law has something to do about being comfortable in public bathrooms and how you treat people based on your own personal feelings as long as you’re in a position of authority (and preferably white), and then thanks to government being government, a bunch of other stuff was tacked on to it. But let’s talk about why this “religious freedom” law is messed up.
People are often wrong
Let’s say you are a straight Christian who owns a cupcake business, and let’s say a gay person walks in and wants to buy your cupcakes because your Yelp reviews indicate you have the best cupcakes in the city. This new law makes it perfectly legal for you to refuse service to this gay man simply because A) you think he’s gay and B) your archaic, asinine, misguided interpretation of the Bible gives you the false belief that you can just treat another person like crap. After all, it’s your religious freedom, not your legal freedom, to discriminate. And yes, I’m aware that this new law really only applies to businesses firing employees, but you know business owners are going to erroneously enact it on their consumers, and since the state isn’t going to hear any discrimination cases, it’s basically the same thing.
And so because separation of church and state (which isn’t a part of the Constitution) gives you the freedom to be a dick without fear of any punishment from the government, you can refuse to give cupcakes to a cupcake. Why? Because the gay guy would have to take this discrimination case to the federal level and the Feds don’t care unless you might kind of sort of be a terrorist.
And it’s not like this gay man walked into your cupcake shop and asked you to touch his wiener. He wants to give you money in exchange for the thing you do really well. Why would you refuse money? Are you that committed to what an old curmudgeonly preacher regurgitates based on his own biased opinion of what the Bible says that you literally refuse to be rewarded for your craft because someone lives a different life than you do? You don’t even have to accept the money as profit. If your own righteous indignation chews at your conscience so much, you can take the gay person’s money and donate it to one of those camps that beats the gay out of people or however they “cure” it.
What’s worse is that you cannot fathom a reality in which the roles are reversed even though under this new law it’s perfectly acceptable. You would never find yourself refused service by a gay black Muslim woman (aside from the fact that I don’t know that person exists) because you’re a white Christian man. But why is it okay for you to do it?
People have a choice
Sure you have the right to choose who you can provide service to. It’s a horrible business model, but you can do it. For example, what would happen if McDonald’s decided to refuse service to poor white people? Or more accurately, what if McDonald’s chose to refuse service to people who worked for Burger King? They play on a different team and I’m sure there aren’t many BK employees who go to McDonald’s, but they’re allowed to all the same.
Of course you also have a choice when it comes to how you feel, but this whole idea of feeling uncomfortable in a public bathroom is really dumb. After all, how much time are you spending in a public bathroom? 2 minutes tops? If you can’t keep yourself together for 2 minutes then you’re doing life wrong and a piece of legislation protecting your bathroom comfort is the least of your problems.
But guess what? If you feel uncomfortable in public bathrooms, you have a choice to make. Sure, you can feel uncomfortable with the thought of someone in a gender crisis using your bathroom as has already happened hence the new law, OR, you can just not go to the bathroom. Hold it. Pee in a bottle. Go before you go out. Do whatever you gotta do. Avoiding the problem is always a solid answer. For example…
- I feel uncomfortable walking down dark alleys at night. On one hand, I could annoy my local representative until a law was enacted requiring all dark alleys to be fitted with super bright lights, flowers, and a tiny little Asian girl playing the harp. OR, I could just not walk down dark alleys at night.
- I have a severe peanut intolerance – projectile vomiting, losing my voice, fun stuff. I could (as is already kind of happening) make a fuss and have it so that all peanuts are banned everywhere. OR, I could just avoid foods that contain peanuts.
- I hate country music. Hate it. With a passion. It’s the worst. And sure I could protest all the country concerts and burn all the CDs and write angry letters to country artists telling them how they’re dumbing down the country and polluting the air waves with their trash. OR, I could just choose not to listen to it.
And whether the law exists or not, you’re going to have perverts going in wrong bathrooms simply because they’re terrible human beings (not saying transgender people are perverts). But just like speed limits don’t keep all people from speeding, murder laws don’t keep all people from murdering, and rape laws don’t keep all people from raping…I think you get the idea.
The point is that there are just some things in life you’re going to have to avoid. There are some things in life that are going to make you uncomfortable. You have to get prostate exams. You have to pretend you’re not home when the Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on your door. And maybe you have to deal with gay people in your life.
But here’s the real point that’s probably going to get lost in all of this, at least on my end, because if you disagreed with any of this you’ve probably checked out by now – I don’t even care about gender neutral bathrooms or whatever it is. What I can’t understand is why so many people are freaking out that it’s a thing when there are other, more important issues like taxes and budgets and stuff to worry about.
EDIT: Governor McCrory partially buckled and made amendments to the law.