EDITED to add <male co-worker’s> response and my response to that below.
By now, I’m sure all of you are aware of the awful discriminatory piece of garbage the NC govt. pushed through recently (HB2). The company that I work for is open and inclusive and values transparency. To that end, there are many (MANY) email lists on which all things are hashed out and then hashed out again and again and again. You get the point.
In such an environment, you can imagine the internal threads on HB2. There have been several, with the vast majority of people speaking out against the new law and promoting rallies and marches against it (#WeAreNotThis). That said, there are some who support the law and jump in with both feet to defend bigotry and discrimination. I’ve jumped into the fray on a few occasions, when the tone of an email just does not allow me to sit silently. Following is the worst of the worst from yesterday. Text in italics is from the original email.
Hi, <male co-worker I do not know>. I took a stab at going through your email point by point in as factual a manner as possible. I may have failed there on a few points as this is an issue that I am very passionate about. I hope that it helps to illuminate the issues I had with your original statement.
Person A believes that HB2 is good and it protects the rights and security of some people.
Fallacy: Transgender folks have been using the bathrooms for the gender they identify with for years and years and years. Criminal activity perpetrated in public restrooms by transgender people has been nil.
Person B believes that HB2 is bad because it is discriminatory towards some people (transgender folks)
Fallacy: HB2 is bad for many many many people. Have you actually read it? It allows discrimination against just about everyone – black people, pregnant people, people who are encountering harrassment in the workplace. The transgender part of this bill is a trojan horse – government drumming up and then preying on peoples’ fears to push through a bill with many other dangerous provisions. And look! Right before election time. Hmmmm….
Person Z is any transgender person (I am excluding the LGB part of LGBT because I honestly don’t see how this law actually applies to them, perhaps I am not familiar with this lifestyle enough be 100% accurate on this, if I am not, my apologies)
The use of “lifestyle” here is problematic as it implies being LGBT is a choice. Also, btw, my personal beliefs are that even if it were a choice, it does not affect you or me or anyone outside of that person’s sphere. I believe that everyone should be treated with respect and dignity whether they are like me or not.
Statement: Person B believes that it is discriminatory for person A to believe that HB2 is good and act upon it because it infringes on the perceived rights of Person Z
This is not a belief, it is a fact. HB2 takes away a right that transgender people had (to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity).
If Person B holds that Person A is being discriminatory by imposing their beliefs on someone else:
Imagine replacing “transgender” with “blacks” or “women” or “Muslims.” Discriminatory, correct?
then Person B cannot impose on Person A their beliefs because that would be discriminating against Person A’s beliefs
No one is imposing anything. Again, transgender people were already using the restrooms that align with their gender identities, without issue.
Person B cannot hold that Person A is discriminatory because by holding this belief they are not holding to the same logic they are holding person A to in the first place.
I am not sure what you mean here, but see above re: beliefs.
Therefore: If person B believes that Person A cannot impose their beliefs on Person Z, then Person B cannot impose their beliefs on Person A.
See above re: beliefs.
Therefore: Person A is free to believe that HB2 is good and that it protects the security of some people
Fallacy: The Charlotte ordinance was created to protect the security of transgender folks. It is these people whose security is now jeopardized. Again, trans people have been using the restroom alongside you and me and everyone else for decades. It has not been a problem, but it will be a problem now for transgender people.
Therefore: Person B, by their own logic, can believe that HB2 is bad but CANNOT impose this belief on Person A unless they agree that it is ok for Person A to impose their beliefs on Person Z.
See above re: belief.
Remember- Person Z made a choice to change something about themselves in a biological manner. No one made them do this.
Just to illustrate a point, when did you make the choice to be straight? Did you worry about telling your family that you were straight? Did you lose sleep and contemplate suicide because you were afraid people you love (and people you don’t know) might reject you or even try to physically harm you because you are straight? Do you frequently have to defend the rights of straight people? Your statement implies that transgender people should live a lie. What for? The comfort of others (notice I said COMFORT, not SAFETY)? What about their comfort?
Person Z is expecting everyone to accommodate them for their preference based on a choice they made. Why does it make it ok for someone to require everyone around them (e.g. a whole city) to change because they made a personal decision to change?
No one has been asked to change anything except for transgender folks, who have now been placed in harms way as women who present as men are now expected to use the womens room, and men who present as women are now expected to use the mens room. Not to mention, who is going to enforce this rule? It is sheer silliness.
By this reasoning, I should be able to expect cities of people to change the way of their life to best suit my personal preferences.
Let’s get real: As a straight white male, our society was created by and for you. I’d imagine there is very little that you feel strongly should change to “best suit” your “personal preferences,” except perhaps that LGBT folks stay in the closet for your comfort. You see how wrong that is, right? Let me take it a step further. Why do LGBT people pay taxes if they are not extended the same rights as every other citizen? Do you see how that is discriminatory?
I’d also like for you to imagine a transgender <company name> employee reading their pro-HB2 co-workers thoughts (there are some, btw). How do you think they feel working for an inclusive company like <company name> but watching their co-workers support trampling on their rights and discussing their sexuality as a “choice” or “lifestyle?” It’s heartbreaking.
I used this to prove a point. If someone cannot talk about ideas without attacking a person, then there is very little reason for someone to want to listen to what you are so passionate about in the first place. I used syllogisms and statements made by people that I have heard say things concerning this matter. All I did was create the reasoning and rationale behind those statements to connect the points. It amazes me how you are personally attacking me and yet you do not know me. The reason for me posting this is because people should be able to talk about hard subjects without being attacked. Isn’t that the whole “<company name> way”? Talk about things, disagree about things, and let the best ideas prevail?
You took it upon yourself to assume many things and rather than asking questions, you blasted away. Truth be told, the reason I was wanting to talk to people about this logic is because I do not know where I personally stand. I know what I have heard but I think it is always best to talk to people who deal with these things before making my own conclusions. Though, you make it very difficult to want to listen or talk to you about this when you say sexist comments like, “Let’s get real: As a straight white male, our society was created by and for you”. That shows me an awful lot of what you think about me without you knowing the first thing about me. You have stereotyped me and placed me in a bucket in your own mind for no reason. Not only is that sexist, that is directed against my sexuality personally. According to your logic, that is the very thing you are fighting for in the first place. Interesting how you are attacking me on a personal level about the same thing you are so passionate about for yourself and other people. I think I have a good understanding of where you stand on me as a person and your scope of wanting to talk to people about this issue. Thank you for your time but I do not need any more of it.
AND ME AGAIN
“Let’s get real: As a straight white male, our society was created by and for you. I’d imagine there is very little that you feel strongly should change to “best suit” your “personal preferences,” except perhaps that LGBT folks stay in the closet for your comfort. You see how wrong that is, right? Let me take it a step further. Why do LGBT people pay taxes if they are not extended the same rights as every other citizen? Do you see how that is discriminatory?”
I’m sorry for assuming your position on LGBT folks – I was offended and insulted by your original statements and I took this stance based on that feeling. That is the only area where I can see a glimmer of a “personal attack.”
In terms of being sexist, I was merely stating a fact. This society privileges white men above all others. I have privilege as well being a white female. The conclusions that I came to were based on statements in your original post. I have also been offended initially when confronted with my own privilege. Then I learned to stop, listen to the other person’s point of view and reflect. I’ve learned a lot by taking what others from different backgrounds than mine have told me – even when they’ve told me in anger. I hope that you are able to do this as well.
I am allowed to be offended and insulted and not obligated to put that aside to make a nice statement to those that would deny me and my fellow citizens rights. Yes, I am angry. I will not calm down about an issue like human rights to make anyone else comfortable. That is not my role in the world.
I wish you well and sincerely hope that with time, my words might have an impact on your view.