I don’t post in this blog too often, but I’m going to relay a personal story that I had been thinking about recently…
My high school, MLC in downtown Portland, was a fairly relaxed one. One where you could go anywhere you want to eat for lunch. Most people went to the newly-opened (at the time) Pizza Schmizza to chill and occasionally play pool. Though since I didn’t want to get sick of pizza, I tried various other options. Though usually when all else failed, I went to McDonald’s.
There’s a McDonald’s down on West Burnside St. In a fairly busy part of downtown Portland. Since it was a 5 minute walk to there, it was my frequent haunt. I have only eaten their burgers a few times, and they were not pleasing to my appetite compared to Wendy’s or Burger King. So I usually get chicken something, usually their chicken sandwiches, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about.
One thing I remember is this manager. I’m bad at guessing nationalities, but he was likely hispanic. He was always there. He remembered me and was usually able to predict my orders since I usually stuck to the same stuff.
I graduated from MLC in 2005. Since then I had been there sporadically, though if I wanted a McDonald’s while in downtown there were a few a bit closer to Pioneer Courthouse Square that I opted to go to instead. Though every once in a while I’d go back to that McDonald’s and grab something to eat because it’s somewhat comforting in a weird sort of way.
The restaurant’s gone through the usual renovations, adding loads of curved seating and tall tables, as well as an HDTV always on some cable channel. I still see that manager there, though now much older. Other workers have come and gone over the years, likely going to more higher-paying jobs. I figured it must be paying good if he’s still there today.
Now my original story would’ve ended here. Since it was just a random tale about seeing the same person working at the same place for (presumably) a long, long time. But today was different. I stepped into that McDonald’s just to grab some McNuggets, and it just so happens I see that same manager there.
He smiles as I stepped up to the counter, saying “I remember you!” surprising me considerably. As I was giving my order, he asked the usual thing anyone asks you when it’s been a long time since they’ve last seen you: what you’ve been up to, where you go to school now, that sort of thing. I was actually surprised he remembered me, considering he likely sees hundreds of people go in and out of that place daily, and has done that for several years. But apparently I was enough of a regular at that place for him to remember me. It certainly surprised the hell out of me.
I know this likely sounds like the dumbest personal story ever, but it holds some nostalgia for me. It makes me yearn for those somewhat blissful high school years again. Or at least, meet up with some old friends I haven’t seen in a while. Funny how this came about because of a manager at McDonald’s. But that’s how life experiences go, you know?
I’m going to start this blog post by saying I absolutely love and adore transpeople. Not that I’d want to be one — I value my manhood — but their stories of transitioning and the experiences they go through are very fascinating. Hell, I’m friends with a few trans people, online and off. But there’s one thing that worries me a lot: Trans discrimination.
About a week ago, a transgendered woman was beaten repeatedly by two customers at a McDonald’s restaurant in Baltimore, MD. She was dragged by her hair, pulled, and beaten repeatedly by these two women. McDonald’s employees stood there, filming the incident and saying to “Beat that Trans woman!” I found a link to this thanks to a petition that a Facebook friend posted. And I saw the video.
There’s not much I can say. It’s horrific. It’s scary. It’s something I actually worry about all the time to the trans people I know. This is about as bad as the murder of Matthew Shepard. At least the woman is still alive, although she will never be the same again.
There are times like these where I wish I could give people like her a hug, even though it wouldn’t fix all the damage and trauma she experienced. This really, really shouldn’t happen, people. Thank god action has already been taken: The two women involved in the assault have been arrested, and the employees involved who filmed the thing as well as insult the trans women have been fired, with McDonald’s making a statement that started with “There’s no room for violence under the golden arches.” Hopefully it’s not a hollow promise and that employees will be better trained to prevent this from happening again.
I might as well link to the petition here, if you want to sign it.
This is something I honestly worry about all the time. Gay rights are slowly being accepted into the national landscape, but I’m worried that Transgendered rights are going to do the same song and dance that gay people went through long ago. Why can’t we live in a society where it’s okay to be whatever you want to be? I guess you can’t fix stupid.
When I get a chance, I’m going to hug the next trans person I see, and continue to support trans rights. Because I don’t want to see trans people suffer. Ever.