I really love Facebook. It makes me so happy to check in every day with my family and friends all over the world and get a glimpse of how we're all doing. I am grateful when I see friends sharing their struggles, since it gives me an opportunity to say "Hey, I'm here for you." instead of finding out later that they have been suffering through something in silence.
Another thing I love about my Facebook feed is that it gives me a window into the worldviews of the people in my life. Some are diametrically opposed to mine, a complete 180, and I appreciate how respectfully we share our beliefs with each other. Even in this vitriolic election season, we've all managed to keep it classy.
So here's why I reported you to Facebook.
As most of us probably know, recently Target (aka The Happiest Place on Earth) introduced a groundbreaking policy allowing transgendered patrons and employees to use the Target restrooms according to the gender with which they identify, not the gender on their birth certificate. Now, why such a no-brainer is truly "groundbreaking" is another topic for another day. This action, which has sparked a minor boycott, made barely a ripple on my Facebook feed, except for people mentioning how much more they will enjoy shopping at Target.
A few people, though, didn't see it that way. I sort of get it, not everyone grew up among as much diversity as I did, and things they don't understand are scary to them. For the most part, such people's posts on the subject fell along the lines of, "I'm not sure what this means. Does it affect me?"
But a couple of people went beyond that. Like way beyond.
It started with comments like, "Better make sure I use the bathroom before I go to Target!", which sounded like something straight of the The Help. Then it progressed to comments expressing fear "as a parent" for the "safety" of kids who might need the potty at the Big Red Dot. Uh-huh. I've never taken kindly to people using their kids as a human shield against civil rights.
Let's be honest, this is not about your kids, it's clearly about you. Your kids are not going to know, or care, what gender is on anyone's birth certificate unless you show them how to. It reminds me of that song from South Pacific:
Did I seriously just reference a Broadway musical? Yikes, I must have really strong feeling about this!
A few years ago I had the honor of interviewing a support group for Latino parents of LGBTQIA youth at The Center (in my neighborhood of Hillcrest here in San Diego) for an article I'd been assigned to write for Mamiverse on LGBT acceptance among Latinos. The Center had produced a deeply moving documentary, Mi Familia, which chronicles the struggle of Latino families of LGBT youth as they fight for the children they love against medical prejudice, hate crime and social backlash. They deal with unfair and patently untrue stereotypes every day.
Stereotypes like the one in your post, which I reported to Facebook.
Your post used a frankly disgusting cartoon to assert that our children are somehow in greater danger of being molested because of Target's bathroom policy.
Really? You really think a transgendered person is the same thing as a pedophile?
This comment was made by someone, by the way, who had previously expressed outrage over Donald Trump describing all Mexicans as murdering, drug-dealing, rapists. That was beyond the pale, but somehow "transgender=hide your kids" was not? God made transgender people, gay people, brown people, white people...all kinds of people. You know why? Because God is not a bigot.
I was really proud to explain to my kids what this policy was all about. How it is a small, important step for human rights. I am proud to take them shopping with me in Target and yes, proud to let them share the bathroom with transgender female patrons and employees.
But I was outraged and ashamed at the prospect that they would see your post.
And that's why I reported you to Facebook. In case you're wondering.
Even though it was a tiny gesture, it wasn't an easy one. And I decided to write about it because I figured I can't be the only one feeling conflicted about reporting this kind of hate speech from people they love on Facebook. Change has to start somewhere.
Below is the Mi Familia documentary in it's entirety. If you can honestly see the pain in the eyes of these mothers and not be moved to #StandWithTarget, then please just unfriend and unfollow me now.
Wishing you love and #NOH8 with extra cheese-