Sunday, March 29, 2015

So What's Jorge's Problem?

Look, I get why the Gov is frustrated: Indiana did nothing more than what 19 other states did, and one of those states was Illinois, and a state senator named Barack Obama voted for the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Oh, and the national legislation? It passed unanimously the House, and only three senators voted against it; Bill Clinton, who by the way also signed the Defense of Marriage Act, also signed this one.

So to unruffle feathers, I bring you this: the 20 states who have the RFRA:

The states in dark teal are the culprits.

Right—so what about Puerto Rico? Is our religious freedom in jeopardy here? I decide to go check it out with Jorge, the manager of the coffee shop….

“Jorge, there appears to be known or maybe openly-vowed or maybe just practicing homosexuals in the gift shop next door!”


Damn, forgot he lived all those years in San Francisco!

“…and just to let you know, it’s completely OK to refuse to serve them, since that may imply that you support their sinful lifestyle. Oh, and by the way, are you Mormon? Because that means you won’t have to serve anybody anything at all except maybe Perrier and tap water, since all the rest of the stuff the café—now to be called the aquaé, to spare your quivering religious sentiments—serves has caffeine. So feel free—absolutely free—not to serve me coffee anymore, on either of those grounds. I’ll totally get it!”


“Oh, and be the way—I’ll put in a word for you with Lady, and advise her that when you throw out the espresso machine that she finally finished paying off—five thousand bucks is a lot for her, but a crumb compared to the precious jewel that is your religious freedom!—anyway, when you throw that machine out onto the trash, she absolutely can do nothing! No legal recourse whatsoever! In fact, let’s do it! Hey, unplug the machine!”

“Marc, isn’t it early in the day to have started drinking?”

“I’m stone cold sober, I promise you, but you know what? The very presence of the café may be as incendiary as a Swastika hanging from a building in front of a synagogue!”


“And speaking of Lady, we have to get to work on her too, since you know that there are Jehovah’s Witnesses right outside standing around on the plaza, willing to tell you what the Bible really says, which of course everybody should know. So they go to all the trouble of doing that, and what did Lady do? Can you believe it?”

“What, Marc?”

I had to whisper it to him; Lady is my friend, and I’d hate to start a riot, however absolutely justified it might be: “a Christmas tree!”


“The Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate birthdays, holidays (except for Good Friday, I think) or much of anything, so if, by any chance, you become head of Human Resources for Walmart, well, you’d better have a policy in place for any cashier who very correctly refuses to sully her religious beliefs by touching, much less charging for, a birthday card.”

“Or were you smoking something, Marc?”

I can’t stop now….

“In fact, the presence of anything religiously proscribed has to be considered. Consider, for example, an orthodox Jew walking into a Walmart, and confronted with the sight of pork! Or a Mormon seeing coffee! So all of these religiously-sensitive materials should probably be sequestered in a closed area, with consent forms needed to enter, and children rigorously restricted, since parents totally have the right to determine their children’s religious training and beliefs. Anyway, you definitely should consider moving to Indiana or one of the other 19 states, since I can assure you, your religious freedom is in grave peril here! You remember Pauline, tried to the track as the train races toward her? Well, it’s even worse for your religious freedom.”

Well, all of this had tired me, a bit, and since I had decided not to have a bit of coffee—who knows what faiths might be present in the aquaé—I retired to my seat. But a further issue troubled me, and I decided—I absolutely decided—that I needed to be clear with Jorge on this; a moment couldn’t go by with the situation unaddressed: It was a gaping wound between us.

“Jorge, I want you to know that I was born genetically male, and that I have remained genetically male, and that I present myself as one who has the characteristics, traits, mannerisms, and behaviors consistent with the cultural norms associated with masculinity.”

“Marc, why are you telling me this?”

“Because I am going to go to the bathroom.”


Somehow, his nonchalance enraged me!

“OK? OK? IS THAT ALL YOU CAN SAY—OK? For God’s sake, how do you know I’m not transgendered? How do you know that I don’t have a single Y chromosome in my body? How do you know that I’m not faking it, and passing myself off as a man? Sure, I could pull down the pants and expose the plumbing, but how do you know that all that was there from the beginning?”

“Marc, you gotta lower your voice, we got customers looking at you….”


“That’s the POINT, Jorge! They should be looking, and they should listening, and we should be having this conversation, because as manager, you are legally responsible if a transgendered person uses the bathroom to which he or she was not genetically assigned!”

“You mean, a woman comes in I know she’s transgendered, so I have to tell her to use the men’s room? Even though she’s a total woman?”

How the *&^%$@ can he be so dumb?

“Yes,” I explode, and then go on to tell him, “I am willing to submit a DNA sample, so you should be willing to pick up the cost of analysis. In turn, I demand that everyone who uses the bathroom be tested, or show legal identification and current testing status from a certified laboratory before they are allowed to use the bathroom!”

My nose was a centimeter from his nose; my eyes could have drilled holes in diamonds.

“Or should I consult my legal team?”

Can’t he see? If four states—Arizona, Utah, Kentucky and even that famously liberal state of Minnesota—are considering bathroom legislation, well, shouldn’t he? Or is he going to wait until a she-male stalks and rapes his mother in the john until he takes action? OK—time to bring out the profanity….


Gonna find another café.

…oops, that aquaé