This is Not About Cake

 

Dear Christians,

Why are you so afraid of us?

I worry that you all are insistent on passing so many ‘religious freedom’ bills because you are genuinely concerned that if you do not, we, the LGBT community, will burst in through your front door and demand lodging and goods. Bills supporting religious freedom are not new, but they are being revamped to specifically deal with LGBT issues. Primarily, the issues of who uses what restroom, and whether or not businesses have to provide services to people who don’t share their morals. Arkansas, Georgia, and Kansas have all determined not to pass these laws at this time. The most recent of these was Georgia; the Governor vetoed this March 28, 2016. Georgia Governor Deal stated, “I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia, of which I and my family have been a part of for all of our lives.” Indiana passed their bill in March 2015, Mississippi passed theirs April 5, 2016.  Arguably the most extreme opposition on this front, legally, has been North Carolina’s recent law, which was pushed to and signed by the governor all on the same day.

I recognize that the “bathroom bills” are to keep people from being attacked in restrooms, but listen: there is no statisstical evidence that a trans* person has ever attacked someone in a restroomYou know who has been attacked in restrooms? Trans* and gender non-conforming individuals. OVERWHELMINGLY SO. Please do not continue to be ignorant about this: no one has ever reported being the victim of violence from a trans* person in a bathroom, whereas in this survey 70% of trans* people report negative reactions in bathrooms, 9% report being physically assaulted, 58% report that they have avoided going out in public because of bathroom issues.

trans-bathroom-law-south-dakota

Listen, I get it: everyone is worried that people will dress up as the opposite sex to assault someone–most of the arguments I’ve heard are that men will dress up as women in order to gain access to  women’s restrooms and assault women and children. Sexual assault is awful, always. No one trying to protect trans rights is trying to minimize this. But I have an issue with society making the trans community responsible and punishing them for these possible attacks, rather than the male community. To me, this feels the same as teaching women how not to be raped, rather than dealing with the cause and teaching men not to rape. The bathroom issue is strange to me in general because it seems so simple, if people are so terrified that others are going to be using the restroom for dubious means rather than to relieve their bladders, then businesses should just install single-stall restrooms that are accessible to everyone, rather than making it a biological issue.

As a mental health counselor, I work with suicidal people every day. And I can testify that when statistics report 41% of trans individuals have attempted suicide, this is most likely a conservative figure. When someone faces discrimination, negative reactions, and the threat of violence every day, there is naturally going to be depression, anxiety, and trauma. When you have to choose between being true to your own identity and conforming to society’s standards for you, something is wrong with society. Violence against trans women, especially trans women of color, is at an all-time high, with 23 known murders taking place in 2015 alone.

 

I understand that many people do not agree with marriage equality and do not condone my marriage. I understand that they do not want to be forced to take photographs, sell flowers, solemnize the wedding, or bake a god-forsaken (pun intended) cake. And that’s fine. I don’t want to sue those people. But these laws go farther than providing an ‘out’ for businesses that want to condemn someone’s else’s “lifestyle:” laws that allow employers of religious organizations to fire, or not hire, individuals based on their sexuality, gender identity, or gender expression. Landlords can choose to deny housing–or can kick out tenants–based on their code of ethics. Adoption agencies can choose not to allow gay couples to foster or adopt children–and conversely, Mississippi’s law makes sure that adoption agencies are NOT allowed to make this decision based upon a couple’s religion. LGBT people can be refused services at restaurants, hotels, stores, and can legally be denied access to restrooms. This is discrimination. This is ironically exactly what Christians are afraid may happen to them, to they have written laws protecting themselves and condemning others to the same kind of “persecution” that they try to avoid.

indiane

Unfortunately, nationwide, unless your state or city has specific ordinances against these discriminatory acts, LGBT are largely unprotected under the law. Larger cities generally have some type of protection for their citizens, but for those that live in more rural areas, there is not a lot of protection to begin with–now that these laws are becoming so popular, their protection will shrink even more.

I am infuriated, Christians and conservatives. Heartbroken that you will not hear the LGBT population when we try to speak with you about our concerns and fears. Frustrated that you are shielding yourself behind the law and claiming that we “got our marriage equality but that’s never enough.” Marriage equality isn’t enough: my wife and I are legally married, yes, but if we did not live in a large city that protected us, we could be thrown out of our home, denied jobs, and denied services by city workers if we were attacked (yes, that is in the law as well). It is not enough when trans individuals fear for their lives and their safety and are often too scared of police brutality to come forward when they are hurt. It is not enough when access to appropriate healthcare and mental health services is impossible for those in the community who have been kicked out of their homes and their families and are living on the streets.

Of course it is not enough. It cannot be enough until every citizen is equal under the law. We do not want more rights than you, we want equality.

 

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “This is Not About Cake

  1. I saw you wrote me a message. Hi, I’m a Christian and consider myself conservative, bit I’m not afraid of “y’all” 🙂 I don’t normally comment or respond to these types of posts because I’m indifferent to the subject since I’m not LGBT. This one got my attention because I don’t want anyone to stereotype Christians. Assuming Christians are of one political mind is not very fair to those of us who believe in love for everyone regardless of the labels they give themselves.

    1. Thanks for reading and for your input! You don’t have to be LGBT to care about these issues, and if you believe in love for everyone, you should believe in justice for them, as well. That means speaking up about things like this. And I know, “not all Christians.” But enough to still be the majority and have the weight to pass discriminatory bills.

  2. Rachel says:

    The argument that these “bathroom bills” are somehow protecting women and children from assault not only strikes me as odd, but as more than a little ironic (or rather, hypocritical.) Because that argument is predicated on the idea that predators were sitting around waiting for permission to fake the opposite gender, enter a bathroom, and commit assault, and this new law in Charlotte that our state government reacted to, gave them that permission. The obvious response to that is “predators weren’t waiting for permission to do that.” It is an eerily similar argument to “gun control won’t help because bad people will still buy guns illegally,” which many a pro-gun ownership conservative loves to bring up to prove how gun laws won’t work. Well if bad guys are buying guns illegally, why aren’t they entering bathrooms illegally to assault people? Why does the “the problem is bad people doing bad, illegal things” no longer apply here? The answer is because this isn’t really about bathroom safety or whatever…. It is about discrimination, and they are kidding themselves if they think otherwise.

  3. Ellen Read says:

    Good work, Cora. I love the idea of single stall bathrooms. However, it’s not going to with in large venues where many bladders need to be relieved at once. Perhaps this is a public education kind of thing? I had no idea that city services could be denied to you as well. Thanks for the information.

  4. scott solger says:

    Christians are not afraid of homosexuals and nor are Christians homophobic. The word of God points out what is a sin and what is not. No matter how much the world changes and accepts things right or wrong does not change God. The problem with the LGBT is that they have taken the stanze of turning a sexual preference into a lifestyle and a race. People choose to be who they are and they have a right to because God gave us freedom of choice. But the LGBT cant attack and seek to destroy anyone who doesnt agree with them. Respect goes both ways wether someone is a christian or has strong moral beliefs. The LGBT need to respect Faith based religions just the same as they want to be respected. This is were the problem is. As far as bathrooms are concerned..it is a potential problem because there are perverts and rapists out there who could abuse transgender going into opposite sex bathrooms. It doesnt matter statistics or not..LGBT once again need to respect other peoples feelings and stop forcing there lifestyle on everyone. If people of faith are told not to do that then it applies to The LGBT as well. Once again stop attacking Christians..because its not just Christians in this..muslims bible based faiths and non Christians dont agree with homosexuality. But at the same time Christians dont hate the homosexuals etc. As far as the law passed that people call discriminatiom..read the bill. Many have not and are judgeing it.

    1. Thanks, Scott! You are right: respect does have to go both ways. I think it’s important for Christians to realize, however, that not everyone lives by biblical standards (be aware also that there is a large and vibrant section of the LGBT community that holds fast to their Christian beliefs), so when States pass legislature that shows obvious favoritism for various religious views, it is incredibly troubling to me. I wonder what would happen if Christians who feel attacked when reading a blog post actually had bills and laws being passed that allowed people who did not agree with them to refuse them service, kick them out of their homes, deny them the right to dress the way they want, disallow them to use the bathroom that fits their identity, etc. If you read the bills being passed, you will see that this is what is being enacted.
      Also, do you really think that “perverts and rapists” are withholding going into women’s restrooms simply because of the sign out front?

  5. MG says:

    You give a voice to those who are scared, afraid, and not as articulate as you(me!). Thank you for everything you do and everyone you help.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s