I had a disturbing dream last night. I guess you could call it a homophobic nightmare. The fact is, wherever I turned in the dream, from McDonald’s to ESPN, charges of “homophobia” and “transphobia” were flying.
First I dreamed that I was sitting at McDonald’s with our two granddaughters, aged 12 and 6, and they needed to use the bathroom. “Go ahead kids,” I said. “I can see you from here.”
Off they went, under my watchful eyes, the older girl holding the younger girl’s hand, until they disappeared into the ladies room. But seconds later, they came running out, shocked.
“Grandpa, there’s a man wearing a dress in there!”
Stunned, I went to talk to the manager, but he informed me that this was the official policy of the franchise, pulling out a document that read, “We respect the rights of all customers and employees. We believe all people must have access to safe and dignified bathroom facilities regardless of their gender identity or expression. . . . Employees and customers may use any restroom that corresponds with and is based upon the gender identity they publicly and exclusively assert or express.”
When I asked him how this new policy respected the rights of my granddaughters to have access to safe and dignified bathroom facilities, he said I sounded homophobic (actually, “transphobic” was the word he used.)
Still stunned, I explained to the girls that my heart went out to this man, who was obviously very confused, and that we should pray for him. Then we headed back home where some of the neighborhood kids were having an animated discussion. Some of the older ones – perhaps high school age – were really passionate, so I asked them what they were talking about.
“Our school is so mean,” one of them said. “There’s a really cool guy who was born a girl and ran for Prom King, but our principal said he could only run for Prom Queen – even though she’s been a guy for one whole year!”
“Our principal is so homophobic!” another student opined. “You mean transphobic,” yet another student explained.
My mind was becoming numb. Yes, I cared about this young person, but what was the message for the other kids? And what were my grandkids thinking?
At that point my wife called our girls inside for dinner, and I went straight to my computer to check out the story. Was it really true? Sure enough, it was, and the ACLU was taking up the offended student’s cause.
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.