Two posts in two days - be still thy heart, right?
So...I need to research this further, but it looks like Chick-Fil-A may harbor some deep-running discriminatory policies against gay couples. What's frustrating about this to me is, to start with, that I gave up fast food years ago, so my new personal boycott against the restaurant chain will go completely unnoticed.
But that's not entirely why I'm writing today...it's because, in the name of discrimination against the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered) community, I've heard it argued one time too many that people are entitled to their own beliefs, and since so many religions are against homosexuality in any form, clearly it must be ok for people to turn up their noses at gay people.
Because people in the LGBT community had a choice in being what they are, right? I've heard that logic as well. And since they have a choice in who they love or marry, then clearly it's ok to disagree with, and discriminate against, them.
I am here to say that that logic is bullshit, and I don't use that term lightly.
Here's the thing. If you want to tell me that being gay is a choice, then I will argue you until the cows come home. Because it's not a choice. Some people are born gay or transgendered in the exact same way that I was born a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jewish girl. I had no say in that. And so discriminating against that community is the same as telling Black people to sit in the back of the bus. (Thanks, Charles - I stole that from you.)
Want to know why I believe that with every cell in my being? Good, because I'm going to tell you.
I have known lots of gay people in my life, but only a small handful of transgendered. That said, one transgendered person is someone with whom I have been extremely close for my entire life, and I always will be.
That person (let's call him Fred, to protect anonymity) started out life as a little girl, just like me. We played together a lot growing up, and Fred was always just...a little different. When the other little girls (myself included) played My Little Ponies, developing complex, soap-opera-like scenarios in which the ponies starred, Fred (back then Sarah) built them houses out of sticks and leaves, uninterested in our version of the game. When the rest of the girls giggled and gossiped about boys in the sunshine by the pool, Fred read Isaac Asimov in the shade.
I don't know that Fred cared at that young age about not really fitting in with the girls, but as she got older, more complex decisions started to come into play, and the world started to react a little more strongly to her differences.
When Fred started cutting her hair short and dressing like a boy, people stared, and some got mean. Once when sitting in a diner in rural Pennsylvania, a waitress was so ridiculously rude that we should have gotten up and walked out. Instead, we sat quietly, ate our breakfasts, and allowed her to ruin a meal. Then, when Fred realized exactly what she was (transgendered), she had a doctor tell her that if she was going to live life as a man, she would have to give up all those people she had ever loved, because there was no way they were ever going to fully accept her for what she would become. How could you tell someone that? Cut everyone else out in order to be what you need to be?
Luckily, she didn't listen, and got a second opinion.
Then, the transformation itself was incredibly difficult. There was a surgery, lots of hormone therapy that wreaks a bit of havoc on a body, and just so many changes, I'm sure it was near impossible to fathom. It took a long time for Fred to finally be Fred, and while it was always the right decision for him, it was not the easy one.
I'm saying all this in order to point you to my conclusion, which is that I really don't think people choose to be LGB or T. I think the only choice they have is whether to suppress who they really are and live a lie, or live as their hearts tell them to, in a world that is often filled with bullying, vitriol, and worse, and in a country that doesn't always support them.
Look, the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell this year was a big step. Huge, even, and I'm glad it was taken. But when a major fast food company blatantly admits to discriminatory processes, and no one seems enraged, then I know there's still far for this country to go.
Because really, people...would you ever excuse someone for discriminating against someone based on the color of their skin because that person may have a different set of beliefs?
No. I didn't think so. And guess what? You shouldn't.