Just hours before a shooting at a gay club in Orlando claimed 49 lives, an Ocean City lifeguard sent out a very, very stupid email.
As the Washington Post reports, Butch Arbin, head of the Ocean City Beach Patrol, sent an email to staff, apparently about the issue of male lifeguards using women’s locker rooms to change–not for reasons that have anything to do with gender identity, but just because it was more convenient:
“WE are NOT Target. USE the locker room that corresponds to your DNA. . . . If you’re NOT SURE go to Target.”
(Target policy allows customers and employees to use the bathroom that most closely corresponds with their gender identity.)
After his comments drew fire, Arbin wrote a follow-up email, saying that his email wasn’t about trans people, and that he was merely using “humor” and “looking out for women”: “I was ONLY looking out for the women of the patrol and was not attempting to put down any group or individual, only maintain a nice facility for the women who choose to use a gender specific facility.”
While I believe that Arbin probably didn’t intend to express bigotry, his “humor” does indeed poke fun at trans people. Not the biggest deal in the world? Sure. But in a world where LGBT people–particularly trans people– are still regularly subject to violence, making jokes about trans people and bathrooms doesn’t seem funny at all.
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