The folks at Charisma are eager to start off the new year with yet more doses of the only things they have to offer: fear-mongering and anti-LGBTQ bigotry.
In this case, Dr. Michael Brown chimed in on the story of a transgender woman who got upset at a GameStop in Albuquerque, New Mexico when the clerk used the wrong pronoun when speaking to her. (It’s unclear if anything else led up to the exchange.) She was called “sir” and wanted to be called “ma’am.” When another customer stepped in to try and calm everyone down, she also used the word “sir,” infuriating the trans woman even more.
There’s a conversation we could have about respecting other people. We could also talk about how we don’t know what’s going on in someone else’s life, and how what may seem like an innocuous mistake to some can really be a breaking point for others.
Instead, Brown went even further in denying the trans woman any dignity.
A customer in a game store, a transgender woman, is livid. (In case you forgot, a transgender woman is a biological male who identifies as female.) The customer claims that the cashier called him “sir,” and the customer demands an apology, shouting, “It’s ‘ma’am’!” The customer even challenges the cashier to a fight. What’s wrong with this picture?
“What’s wrong” is Brown’s snarky definition of “transgender woman,” using what I imagine is the same tone that a parent uses to describe a child’s imaginary friend. His dismissal of trans people is glaringly obvious.But Brown doesn’t stop there.
First, when you watch the video, it’s immediately clear that the customer is a man who identifies as a woman. He is sir by birth, even if he now identifies as female.
Listen to his voice and look at his face.
He can take hormones and grow breasts. He can surgically alter other parts of his body.
That still does not make him “ma’am.”
As much as we have compassion on those who genuinely struggle with their gender identity. As much as we do not minimize their pain. As much as we want them to find wholeness. We do not collaborate with social madness.
And I say that with all respect, sir.
This is yet another example of faith-based bigotry masquerading as Christian love. Brown would’ve said the same things even if the woman in the video hadn’t raised her voice or become upset. The problem isn’t the reaction — or over-reaction. The problem is that a trans woman asked for the same kind of respect cis people get. Brown, like many conservative Christians, refuses to grant it.
That’s not defending the customer challenging the cashier to a fight. Misgendering happens, reactions vary by person, and a simple apology can go a long way in clearing it up, but the bigger issue here is Brown’s blatant dismissal of an issue he clearly doesn’t understand nor cares to learn more about.
For the longest time, I used “sex” and “gender” interchangeably. Then I learned more about the topic, and I heard other’s stories, and I changed how I used those words. It wasn’t hard to do once I realized my own ignorance. Brown, however, insists he’s an expert on a subject he doesn’t understand at all.
Deliberately misgendering people doesn’t make them any less transgender, but it does reveal your own bigotry.