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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Religious Freedom =/= The Right To Be A Jerk

I'm going to begin this entry by talking about an event that I remember from my childhood.  And yes, it's somewhat linked to the topic that I have chosen for today.

Do any of you that are around my age remember when McDonald's had birthday parties?  I know I certainly do.  After all, I had a party there when I was seven years old.

I'm not entirely sure why I wanted a McDonald's birthday when I was seven.  Perhaps it was because back in 1988, McDonald's food was still edible.  Or maybe it had to do with the fact that a couple of my classmates had McDonald's parties, and I decided that I wanted one too.  Either way, I spent my birthday with Ronald McDonald and six of my classmates. 

And I have to say for the most part, the party went off without a hitch.  We played on the Playland slides and equipment, we gorged on ice cream and french fries, and we even took a tour of the McDonald's kitchen to see how everything worked.  Granted, we were all seven at the time and we all thought it was the coolest thing ever.  Flash forward almost thirty years, and I'm thinking that anyone who ever worked at McDonald's should deserve a medal for putting up with what they put up with!

There was however, one tiny problem.

You see, the week that my party was booked was the same week that the men's washroom decided to malfunction.  I don't exactly know what happened, but it was deemed unusable that whole week.

What did this mean?  Well, for that one week, McDonald's was forced to turn the women's washroom into a unisex washroom.  This meant that certain stalls were reserved for men, and certain stalls were reserved for women.  I imagine it must have been an inconvenience for a lot of people, but I do understand McDonald's decision to do this.  The only alternative would have been to have closed the restaurant down while repairs were made, and that wouldn't have been a good option financially.

(Not to mention that my party would have been cancelled.)

Here's the kicker though.  Sure, it was a setback.  But nobody really complained about it.  At least, not back in 1988 they didn't.  When people have to go, they have to go, right?  I imagine the women weren't very happy to share a public bathroom with men, but at the same time, the stalls were all closed in.  Nobody could see anything that they didn't want to see.  And I imagine that for some of my friends at the party, they were just excited to see what the inside of a women's bathroom looked like!

But again, I reiterate the point that nobody complained.  We just dealt with the situation as best as we could.  I don't think anyone had any long-term effects from the week that McDonald's had a unisex bathroom.

So, I don't quite understand why people are in an uproar over Target making an announcement that anybody could use any bathroom that they so desired. 

Well, okay...let me clarify. 

When it comes down to it, most of us know what gender we are.  I know I'm male, so I will use the men's washroom - or if all the stalls are full, I'll use a designated "family washroom" in an emergency.  And yes, family washrooms do exist.  There's one at the store I work at.  Sometimes, that washroom has been a godsend.

But what happens if a person is confused about what gender they feel they are?  Or if a person decides to undergo gender reassignment surgery to become the gender that they feel that they should have been born as?  It's certainly a question that many people have wondered.

Some may say that transgender or questioning people should use the washroom as the gender that they were born as (which I don't believe is fair) and some feel that they should use the washroom as the gender they currently are (which I completely support).  And some just think that transgender people should have a bathroom of their own (which would be pointing out more attention to them which I don't really agree with).

Whatever the case, I just want to say that I really don't understand why there is such anger about it.

Some people claim that the idea to open up bathrooms to all genders is just asking for trouble.  My response to that is...why?  I mean, think about it.  Most people who go the bathroom aren't doing so to pick up a date.  They have to do things in there that really aren't appropriate to discuss inside of this blog!  I really couldn't care less if the guy in the stall next to me is really a male or not because I'm kind of doing my own thing, if you know what I mean! 

Besides, if I had someone staring at me trying to deduce whether I'm really male, I would think that would be more of a problem!

Some make the argument that it invites pedophiles into the opposite sex's bathrooms so that they can continue their deviant behaviour - and yes, certainly that is a legitimate concern.  But where did it say that all transgender people are pedophiles?  The vast majority of them are not!  And to be honest with you, I think anybody who does feel that way is a person that I most certainly do NOT want to know.

When it comes down to it, I think that transgender people have gotten enough abuse, and it needs to stop.  I get so angry when I see anybody get rights taken away from them because people do not understand their lifestyles or their cultures.  And, I especially get ticked off by people who claim to love their God and use that to justify being jerks towards people who don't fit into what they believe to be "normal".

Here's what's abnormal.  People who use religion as an excuse to hate people and to abuse their power to satisfy their own logic.  I think that's why I and many other people are outraged that states like North Carolina, Mississippi, and Tennessee are passing laws that deliberately deny people who identify as being a part of the LGBTQ community basic human rights.  To me, it's no different than it was back in the 1950s when skin colour dictated what water fountain a person drank from.

I thought we were supposed to improve on what history taught us, not go back in time and celebrate the worst of it.

To me, religious freedom means that a person has the right to practice whatever religion they feel best fits them, whether it be Catholicism, Judaism, Buddhism, etc.  It's even cool if you don't follow any sort of religion, as I certainly don't.  Religious freedom does NOT mean that you have the right to take away other people's rights because they clash with your own.  It doesn't mean that you have the right to bully other people who appear different from you because it's what the Bible tells you.  It doesn't mean that you have the right to kill someone else because they go against everything you stand for.  That's not religious freedom at all.  That's hate.

I think that the people of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi who do NOT have this much hate need to band together and get these politicians out of office.

Because this is an issue that goes beyond bathrooms...this is an issue of human dignity.  And believe me, no matter what gender you identify as, we all deserve that dignity.

After wasn't a problem in 1988.  I just provided proof of that.

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