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