Coffee, anyone?

25 Oct

Seems like the Tim Hortons in Blenheim, Ontario will get more attention than they bargained for this coming Thursday…but not the right kind.

Last week a lesbian couple were asked to leave the premises because their public display of affection was upsetting the customers. The first thing that came to mind: They need some positive-space training.  I have a call to make.

Of course there is a he-said they-said going on about what they were doing, but that’s not what I want to write about today. What’s on my mind is the way we treat situations differently, depending on who is involved.

Does the young heterosexual couple sitting outside Tim Horton’s get a second glance from inside when they hold hands, have their arms around each other, or kiss? Maybe. Are they asked to leave, upon threat of calling the police? Er…hmmm. Seems excessive, doesn’t it? And yet, switch the couple and it’s what happened last week.

Things happen around us all the time. Some things stand out, others we don’t even notice. Was it the PDA or who was doing it that got the customer upset at Tim Horton’s? Was it the PDA, who was doing it, or who complained that caused the ill-advised reaction (“leave within 5 minutes or we’ll call the police”)? Or was it the person handling the complaint that went too far?

Sometimes when you are different, anything you do is seen differently. Cultivating awareness about the lens we are using to see (and judge) things and people is how we stop this, and create more equitable and inclusive spaces.

See more.

copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder
author, speaker & facilitator on issues of diversity & inclusion


One Response to “Coffee, anyone?”

  1. mx. punk October 28, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    as a pansexual, non-binary transperson, i have experienced this from many sides.

    when i appear somewhat “female” (even though i’m never male or female, just queer) and i’m with my male partner, we can do pretty much whatever we want in public. kissing, holding hands, and snuggling elicit sounds like “aaaaw…” and “how sweet” form bystanders— if they pay any attention to us at all.

    when i appear somewhat “male” and i’m with my male partner, we are harassed when we so much as hold hands in public— which we continue to do, of course. yes, some people know that all love is beautiful, but a few people always get upset when they see what appears to be two young men in love.

    before i met my partner, i also experienced harassment when i went out with female lovers when i appeared “female”. of course, we didn’t have any trouble when i appeared “male”.

    this is just messed up, isn’t it? people can be ridiculous!

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