Every week I receive e-mails from Change.org, which is a site that hosts petitions that ask for some sort of social, sometimes political, change. This week the e-mail that I received call for a mass of signatures in support of McDonalds employees to be held accountable for the violence perpetrated against a trans woman. Watching the video is extremely painful, and it makes me think that my pain is only a taste of the pain that the woman in the video experienced. Immediately upon watching the video I asked myself, what all was exactly behind the motivation of this attack. Why were these women so angry?? The only answer that I have, and one that is commonly given in cases of hate-inspired violence, is that people fear what they don’t understand. SO what will it take for there to be an understanding? How do we educate those who don’t want to be educated?
Apart from the physical violence that the woman in the video suffered, I think about the bystanders who, were in essence, a part of this hurtful action of hate and fear. I think this is what most surprised me about the video—the ability for people able to stand around and watch the actions that unfolded in front of their eyes. One person even had the wherewithal to videotape what he saw happening in front of him, without once trying to step in.
While I know that people across the country have been and will be impacted by the press surrounding this violence, I question what will happen once the shock factor wears off. This is slightly surprising after the wake, and continuing occurrences, of the suicides of young LGBTQ or hetero-identified folks who have taken their lives due to the verbal, emotional, and/or physical violence that they endured. If anything, I am happy that a video was the supporting evidence in this story; being able to have seen the violence felt much more palpable, so in this way it might have been able to impact the general public more than usual.
This is definitely an issue to involve oneself in, and I think it is important that McDonald’s be brought into the situation, considering it is one of the largest employers in the world. It should do all it can to create policies that would support trans-identified people who may work at, eat at, or be present within McDonald’s.
Sign the petition below to hold the McDonald’s employees who were present accountable!