Trans Discrimination: From Lunch Counters to Refused Hot Wings

Trans Discrimination: From Lunch Counters to Refused Hot Wings May 24, 2017

All eyes were on a humiliated trans teenager — not all of them sympathetic — as a waitress and her manager loudly exchanged heated wordsThe zealotous server spat out:

I’m not gonna serve that! I don’t even know what to call it! It ain’t a boy or a girl. It’s a thing and it ain’t of God.

For a Christian waitress, 'Thou shalt not serve hot wings to trans youth' is the 11th commandment.
Photo credit: Ted Eytan via Flickr, CC By-SA 2.0.

That. It. Thing. Ain’t of God. (Okay, so the last one is no biggie for atheists, but it is for Christians.)

Dave was on the verge of tears. Can you blame him? What should’ve been an everyday, father/son back-to-school outing ended in a particularly dehumanizing and debasing trans shaming.

Sometimes I wish there really were a place like Hell…for people like her.

Dave is the son of Transparent Expedition‘s Pat Green. Recently, Pat and Dave have found themselves mired in a growing internet kerfuffle over Pat’s moving post recounted this traumatizing scene. On social media, the post has drawn comments ranging from sympathy, rage, and desire for action from the left. On the right, comments run from disbelief, apathy, and bigotry.

And everyone has an opinion about how Pat should’ve acted.

For my part, I think Pat did the only thing a strong and caring father could. Here’s the story (though you really should read Pat’s post): After a waitress at Buffalo Wild Wings heard Dave’s voice, she decided to do her Christian duty by refused to serve a well-behaved, hungry teenager.

June GloomSee also: June Gloom

And once again, I don’t get it. My secular-raised mind boggles at such blind cruelty in the name of a religion they claim to be of love. To make it worse, you probably understand this better than I do. Even Pat has more insight into the waitress’s mindset, as a former minister.

How in the world would serving a trans teenager — who just wanted to enjoy a sticky wingfest with his father — have been impossible for this far-from-angelic evangelical?

Has she ever demanded to see voter registration to avoid the risk of serving Democrats? Does she bar Muslims or require a loyalty oath?

Oops, that last one was our president.

This woman apparently thinks the road to Hell is paved in barbeque sauce. Would St. Peter turn her away from Heaven’s Gate?

Sorry. A trans teenager ate buffalo wings you served. Your fate was sealed the minute you set down that platter of hot wings.

Who knew that fire wasn’t just the Blazin’ sauce? Or, perhaps she thinks Heaven has a quota system.

You only refused to serve three adult trans? Purgatory for you. Next! What, you say publically shamed one trans teen? That’s it? To the pits for you — and I’m not talking about barbeque!

I’m mocking the attitudes behind the server’s action, most certainly not the situation. Pat did the only thing a protective papa bear could do, he gently calmed his son (while boiling with anger inside), saying,

Here is what is about to happen. We are going to walk out of here like men. We are going to stand up with our heads held high and our backs straight. It will be a steady pace. We don’t look at anyone. We don’t talk to anyone. We just walk to the car and go. We leave like men. Got it?

The manager stood in front of Pat as they prepared to leave, but he was having none of it. Pat put up his index finger and uttered a single furious word:

No!

Trans Prejudice: From Lunch Counters to Casual Dining

On Wings Denied and Knowing When to Walk Away quickly went viral (I shared it myself and one of my friends shared my share). A few people posted it on the Buffalo Wild Wings Facebook page. The impulse is understandable. For every evangelical nodding their heads in approval at the waitress’s actions, there’s a liberal whose heart flooded with empathy while their blood boiled over.

Keith has no compunction about investing in BWW, despite the fact that he’s a vegetarian. Indeed, it’s his most lucrative investment. He bought low and the wings’ stock has continued to soar. But after reading my share of Pat’s post, Keith commented that he needed to look into whether BWW has a history of discrimination.

People were going to eat hot wings whether he invested or not; yet investing would be a tacit approval if there were a corporate policy of discrimination. For the record, it sounds like this was the act of a single prejudiced waitress. After all, the manager was engaging in a heated argument with this “persecuted” persecutor.

Indeed, Pat’s aim in writing about this painful episode wasn’t to shame BWW. He simply wanted to show what it’s like to be trans in a society in which the religious right claims that prohibiting them from discrimination is a violation of their inalienable right to be putzes.

Pat jumped into one of the BWW threads reposting “On Wings Denied,” after a number of people posted nasty memes denying this ever happened (or saying that they didn’t care if it did). But Dave is 16 and articulate, so he asked his dad for permission to give his own very relevant two cents.

Permission granted, and now Pat is kvelling over the newest writer in the family. Society has forced father and son into activism, and society will be the better for it.

Dave’s response forms the heart of his Dad’s post about the controversy: A Trans Teen’s Thoughts on Corporations, Suicide, Allies and Antagonists. You owe it to yourself to read the post. Dave’s comments are exceptionally articulate and powerful.

And on reflection, I’ve realized that I do in fact understand the mindset behind this shameful shaming. While I don’t truly understand the religious mind, at heart, this is really about prejudice. It’s about a bigotry that the Religious Right hides behind a cloak of faith.

Racial separatists used the bible to justify Jim Crow. They lost that battle.

Now, evangelicals are hiding behind their religious beliefs in order to deny yet another group their rights…and their hot wings.

For a Christian waitress, 'Thou shalt not serve hot wings to trans youth' is the 11th commandment.
Photo credit: Tim Evanson, CC By-SA 2.0.

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