Any day now Tyler Grant will meet with representatives from Whataburger to receive an apology. This comes by way of a post on Grant’s Facebook page, where Tyler updates followers on the situation going down with the fast food chain. Commenters were elated by the news. As one put it: “This is a victory—help them move forward.” At the end of this same post Tyler gives thanks to “everyone who supported me throughout this!”
In the early morning hours of April 11 Tyler Grant, a student at the University of Texas in Austin, went looking for a bite to eat after a party. But security—a moonlighting law enforcement officer—and management at the Whataburger Tyler attempted to patronize denied Grant entry. Tyler, who identifies as genderqueer, was wearing women’s clothing at the time. Grant claims the refusal was “transphobia-driven” and had nothing to do with attire. A statement issued by Whataburger Corporate Communications insists the decision was based on the fact that Grant was “dressed in lingerie.”
For those unfamiliar with the term, like I was until a few days ago, “genderqueer” is sort of a catch-all classification for people who don’t identify solely as either male or female. Some of these folks prefer people to use gender-neutral pronouns such as “they” and “their” when addressing them, as opposed to the traditional “him” and “her” and so forth. Tyler Grant is one such individual. Out of respect for Tyler’s wishes I’m refraining from the use of gender-specific pronouns here. But I refuse to refer to Tyler as a “them.” Because to do so would be ludicrous.
Which brings us to the point.
Of the varied maxims within the concept of political correctness, perhaps the most distasteful is the notion that people require a buffer. That human beings are just too delicate to endure one another without regulation. It implies weakness and promotes dependence. Dependence on our fellow man’s willingness to conform to arbitrary guidelines on human interaction and dependence on a government to run to should someone dare to speak or act—or even think—in a non-sanctioned manner.
Conform. Ultimately, that’s what PC doctrine is about. Nonconformists live a lifestyle outside establishment norms. Used to be they would do their own thing while those following the trends kept to the mainstream. Political correctness has turned this dynamic on its head. Now, those living alternative lifestyles have been granted the authority to determine what passes for acceptable attitudes and it’s the rest of society that must conform. Or else. Tyler Grant certainly believes this should be the way of things. As Tyler explained on Facebook on the night of the incident: “I have never faced this kind of discrimination as a gender nonconforming person and I will not rest until I get an apology from both APD and Whataburger.”
Because Tyler Grant is a victim, ya see. What took place at Whataburger that night was no less than discrimination, and there are laws and codes and ordinances in place to prevent such effrontery. So clearly, Tyler was victimized—even if that’s not necessarily the case. You can watch the video and look at the photos and hear the arguments from both sides and then decide for yourself whether or not any discrimination, by PC standards, took place. There’s certainly no shortage of documentation. Even the Daily Mail in Britain picked up the story. All that is secondary to the purpose of this article. What’s key here is that Tyler automatically assumed the guard and the manager were being discriminatory. Because that’s how Tyler was conditioned to respond.
Indeed, one wonders how much other factors might’ve been influencing Tyler’s interpretation of the night’s events. Just prior to the incident at Whataburger, for example, a national furor had erupted over statements made by the owners of an Indiana pizza shop. There, hours after the governor’s signing of a controversial bill regarding discrimination, the shop owners told local reporters that under protection of the new law they would refuse to cater a gay wedding on the grounds of religious freedom. The incensed were many, and a media blitz ensued—at the height of which Tyler Grant went looking for a bite to eat at a Whataburger in downtown Austin.
The situation with the Indiana pizza shop highlights another nauseating aspect of political correctness. The hypocrisy. Because after their statements to the press, the shop owners were inundated by threatening phone calls and angry commenters on social media and slews of horrible online reviews from people who had never even been to the restaurant—to the point where the proprietors were forced to shut down their operation. The double standard at work is teeth-grindingly apparent. Those fortunate enough to find themselves protected under PC dogma are allowed to be who they choose to be, live as they choose to live, and those outside of that umbrella are not.
Tyler Grant is not a victim. Even if it were true that the guard and manager turned Grant away that night because of the lifestyle Grant chooses to lead, there was absolutely zero aggression involved. Tyler wasn’t harmed. Tyler’s property wasn’t harmed. If Tyler is so sensitive that someone simply telling Tyler “no” would trigger indignation, that’s on Tyler. In fact, the only aggression on display in this whole ordeal is the aggression initiated by Grant. Tyler’s push to get an apology included a media campaign and filing an official complaint with city “authorities.” Because the philosophy of political correctness says Tyler Grant is special. And if Tyler is special, then no one—ever, it seems—should have the right to tell Tyler “no.”
There are bullies in this world. Bullies and abusers and outright predators. An unfortunate facet of our existence, but there it is. And if there are genuine victimizers among us, it follows that there are genuine victims as well. Those who’ve found themselves in the crosshairs and been truly damaged. But as society increasingly succumbs to the restraining, constricting and altogether suffocating grip of political correctness, we’re seeing more and more that there are also those just itching to play the part.