It always bothers me when someone complains about being PC. They always do it in the same way, too. Sort of nudging conspiratorially, making a Goodfella’s style wise-guy face, “Can’t do anything these days now, can ya? Heh.”
I was in line at the pharmacy a few days ago, miraculously by myself (I am not insane, I wouldn’t bring my kids into CVS- my sister, who was visiting for dinner, offered to watch them for 10 minutes while I ran out for diapers). Two ladies in front of me were having a loud exchange with the man behind the counter, I don’t even know what they were talking about but it was all said in that sort of voice you use when you say, “And can you believe what she said to me?” Wiggly eyebrows, mouth open. They looked behind them at the rest of the line and everyone was doing the same Goodfella’s face, and the girl next to me rolled her eyes and said, “Ugh everything is so PC these days!” and all nodded in agreement, rolling their eyes.
Except me of course, because I didn’t know what we were talking about, and I actually am in favor of being PC to a level that is bordering on the absurd. I just sort of scowled and made judgements about everyone in line because I am apparently allowed to do that when I am out at CVS wearing sweatpants that smell like my ass at 8pm on a weeknight, buying diapers because I didn’t have the foresight to purchase enough for the week when I went grocery shopping.
When someone announces they are annoyed by being “PC” it’s like they’re just saying they’re assholes. “God, I just love making racist, homophobic and generally offensive statements whenever I want to! I hate pretending to care about hurting other people’s feelings!”
There have been times in the past when I’ve used inappropriate language, learned a lesson, and haven’t used that language again. I’m talking about certain words used incorrectly in a way that implies stupid or worthless, and I felt pretty stupid and worthless myself for not realizing it on my own. And then I stopped using the words. Simple! I would never roll my eyes at someone who I had offended with my careless language and go, “Oh lighten up, not everything has to be so PC!”
Because actually, yeah, it does. The important stuff does anyway. We don’t get to decide how other people feel about our actions, you don’t get to choose what is hurtful to another person, and if they express their needs to you, basic needs like respect and understanding, then don’t meet those needs with mockery or indifference.
Which brings me to my main point- recently the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in Massachusetts has implemented a set of directives to enforce the 2011 Transgender Equal Rights Law. The new directives include protections for transgender students using the bathroom, participating in sports and generally being their authentic selves as the gender with which they identify.
Naturally, people are freaking out. Especially about the bathroom laws. All the “articles” (those are not air quotes. Those are representative of my fingers pinching the corners of said articles and holding them at a distance from me and my delicate sensibilities) just seem so rude and off putting. They’re using language like “…not only allow transgender students to use their restrooms of their choice – but would also punish students who refuse to affirm or support their transgender classmates.” Credit: FOX News (naturally)
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Back up the truck. Allow transgender students to use the bathroom with which they are most comfortable and protect them from bullying by their peers? That’s wonderful!
Oh, wait. You don’t think that’s a good thing?
The loudest voices in arguments like these are usually ones that don’t have any first hand experience. They’re all worried about their schools being overrun with transgendered students, with the implication that transgendered students are disgusting, perverted, scary and wrong. These are children we’re talking about. Children who, up until this point, have been having a real struggle with their physical bodies, going unacknowledged in one of the most important places in their young lives. This is a victory for trans people and their families and should be celebrated. I am so disappointed that this is being met with such ugly resistance.
There are actual human beings out there, people going through things more complicated and scary than you can comprehend and until you’ve been in those shoes you don’t get to call the shots on what their needs are and what makes them feel whole. It’s not unreasonable to allow women to use the women’s room. Broaden your definition of woman. If a person identifies as a woman, BAM! Woman. Congratulations, you may pee where it suits you.
And for god’s sake can we take this issue out of the bathrooms please? Trans people are just people and they have a lot more to offer than just discussions about bathrooms. We’re never going to see a person’s full potential if we’re too busy stopping them at bathroom doors. Everyone just relax. Bigger issues out there!
So anyway, this is another instance where it is pretty important for you to put your PC hat on, and if it’s tough just keep practicing the language and positive attitude and eventually you’re going to be PC too! You’ll be a super nice and thoughtful person without even having to think about it. Here is a cheerleader for you to drive the point home even further:
Now go out there and do good deeds! YEAH PC!