When Katie asked me to marry her, we had a wedding to plan. It was going to be a small affair at our home with family and close friends — just two practical girls who didn’t want or need a huge church wedding.
Still, we had lots of planning to do.
When it came to flowers, we only needed a couple of bridal bouquets — matching flowers of baby blue, pink and white, the colors of the trans Pride flag that means so much to both of us. So I contacted a flower shop in Coppell, where we live. But when I told them in needed two bridal bouquets, I was told they couldn’t help me, and I should find another flower shop.
Our wedding was in September, and the Supreme Court had just handed down its Masterpiece Cakeshop decision handed down just a couple of months earlier, in June of that year, was still fresh in our minds.
I was disappointed with the florist’s response, but I didn’t scream obscenities, stomp my feet, lay down in their flower shop and spew hateful rhetoric about my constitutional rights. I didn’t threaten to sue them.
Instead, I went to Michael’s and got the supplies to make my own bridal bouquets out of silk flowers. They were beautiful. In fact, they were perfect, and I still have them.
We also decided not to fight the cake battle; we went to Costco, and they made an amazing and delicious cake and had no problems with making a cake for two women tying the knot.
However, there were then — and still are — a fair number of people who believe that a business can decide that they don’t want to sell me their product because their “deeply-held religious beliefs” tell them I am wrong because I love another woman. And if that’s how they feel, I’d prefer not to shop there anyway.
Now, flash forward two years, and here we are — in the midst of a world-wide pandemic, and the United States the COVID-19 hotbed of the planet, partly due to an historic lack of leadership mixed with an almost comical sense of entitlement.
Those same people who would deny Katie and me a cake or flowers are now howling about their God-given right to not wear a mask, which, along with social-distancing, has been shown as the best way to protect from community spread if one has to go out. The internet is full of entitled “Karens” who dissolve into hysterics when asked to wear a mask, something that would protect them as well as others.
More than 135,000 Americans have DIED from COVID-19, and more than 3 million have been sickened. Hospitals are filled to the breaking point, and you don’t want to wear a face mask because it’s inconvenient?
I’ve seen some argue that it’s “my body, my choice!” (with the word “choice” misspelled in some instances). That’s rich — “Your body, your choice” unless it’s a woman’s right to choose, right?
You can refuse to serve me because “Religious Freedom,” but if you are denied entry to a Costco for not wearing a face mask, the rights or beliefs or policies of the people who own and/or operate a business matter not. It’s all about you, isn’t it, precious snowflake?
Who cares whether other people might contract a fatal disease because of your selfishness? Cheese balls await on aisle 6, and a mask will just slow you down.
Thank goodness for camera phones. They have opened up America’s closet, and it’s not pretty. It’s filled with official oppression, callous disregard for human life at the highest levels, ugly racism, greed, selfishness — and even some quiet heroes. (I’m looking at you Phillip Blanks, the Black former football standout who caught a white woman’s child dropped from the third floor of a burning building in Phoenix.)
So tell me, “Karen,” do you know what you look like? Squirming on the floor of a Costco like a 2-year-old past their nap time? You are an embarrassment, a product of your environment where no one has ever said “No” to you before.
I was delighted to see the city of San Francisco propose the “CAREN” Act: “Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-emergencies.” There have been instances of weaponized racism around the country where white women call police on Black people who are just going about their lives, doing nothing wrong — like the white woman who called police when a Black birdwatcher in Central Park asked her to keep her dog on a leash (as park rules required, or the white hotel employee in North Carolina who called 911 to report a Black woman and her children — paid guests at the hotel — for using the pool.
If passed, the CAREN Act would make using 911 as a tool for your prejudice, unlawful. It’s about time, too.
So yeah, “Karen” you have the right to not wear a mask in your car and in your house and in a lot of other places. But businesses also can decide whether to serve you or not. That’s their right.
You understand the need to wear pants right? Or a shirt? Our social compact also urges you to use a bathroom and not just poop on the floor of your dentist’s office. You get that, right?
Well, during a pandemic that is deadly for many, highly contagious and often without symptoms, some stores, counties and cities are going to ask you to mask up. It’s not a political statement; it’s just common courtesy.
Leslie McMurray, a transgender woman, is a former radio DJ who lives and works in the DFW area. Read more of her blogs at lesliemichelle44.wordpress.com.