A Trans Teen’s Thoughts on Corporations, Suicide, Allies and Antagonists

eyes
“eyes”
by Pat Green

My trans teen just astounded me with his writing on one of the most profound and insightful things I’ve read in a long time. A few days ago I wrote a post about our leaving a Buffalo Wild Wings after a waitress did not want to serve us because my son is trans. Some people took to contacting Buffalo Wild Wings via social media. I looked at some of the comments and posts on the matter. None of the posts had any commentary from Buffalo Wild Wings. A few people said kind and supportive things. Most said sarcastic things and posted mean spirited memes suggesting none of this ever happened.

I shared this with my son and he was furious and asked my blessing/permission to write a response. I told him that since so much of this is about him, he had every right and no matter what he said, I would have his back. I did not expect such a comprehensive and astute response that would teach me a lot.

If ever there was a post of mine to share, this would be the one. His perspective is something that changed my mindset on some things and challenged me. He speaks about corporations, the sarcastic meme posters, well meaning allies, and reminds us what is at stake by speaking of the personal losses he has faced. He even offers real world advice on how to be a stronger ally to the trans community.

I am very proud, but also very moved. You will be too.

Hello all! I’m Pat’s son. My name is Dave. I’m a trans man (as you all probably know.) I’ve been socially transitioning for about three years and medically transitioning for about a year.

To all of you who do not believe the blog: I understand. There is a strong perception that the internet is not bound to the same rules of journalistic integrity as a newspaper or television. What I can tell you is I was there, and I remember what happened. I remember the disdain with which that woman looked at me. I remember feeling ashamed and embarrassed simply for existing. I remember how angry my father was with our treatment. I remember being terrified. I was afraid to leave the house for days after the incident. I felt as though I could not leave the house without being judged for who I am. Unfortunately, this was not a one-time occurrence for me. I have been treated similarly to how that woman treated me on more than one occasion. Things like this are a near daily occurrence for me and for other trans folk. One thing I do know is that it happened. The other thing I know is that many of you have already made up your minds and decided that this was not true. I cannot change that, and I will not try to. What I can do is tell you that you are wrong and that you are deliberately ignoring the possibility that transgender people have these struggles. It is your choice to continue to live in a utopia that does not exist.

To all of you who are complaining to Buffalo Wild Wings: Stop. Please. I do not want this. Your hearts are in the right place, and I understand that. I understand that you want to make a change, but this is not the way to do it. My fear is that you will type out these messages to the BWW Facebook page and proceed to never stand up for a trans person again. I have seen it happen. Furthermore, internet activism means nothing unless you actually make an attempt at change. It does not have to be big. Write a letter to or call your representatives. Attend a rally. Vote. You could even Google “How Can I Advocate For Transgender People?” That alone would be better than writing angry comments to a large corporation. I think what some of you have forgotten is that this is NOT about Buffalo Wild Wings. This is about the lives of trans people. Three of my friends are dead. All three committed suicide due to trans-related bullying. No amount of screaming at BWW will bring them back. What that woman said is not due to a fault in BWW’s company. Rather, it has to do with the fact that society is fundamentally flawed. Currently, we live in a society where the refusal to accept trans people is protected under religious freedom. We live in a society where the refusal to serve trans people is protected under religious freedom. This is not okay. There needs to be a stronger focus on EDUCATING the public, not reprimanding corporations that, quite honestly, have nothing to do with what this woman said. Reprimanding the corporations will not prevent more deaths. To do that, we have to change society.

Thank you for reading.

In the words of my son. Thank you for reading.

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