KNWA reports a response from the Fayetteville restaurant worker whose gender was questioned by Fayetteville Alderman John La Tour, a Tea Party conservative who’s been a strident opponent of the city’s non-discrimination ordinance.
La Tour said he was objecting to loud music in Arsaga’s last Friday by jokingly asking an employee in the restaurant to dance. But he first asked if she was a woman, because he said he doesn’t dance with men. He said he could prove he was a man. He’s said since that he apologized to the woman and thought they parted on good terms.
KNWA posts this Facebook comment from Greta Allendorf:
John La Tour,
Hi. You may remember me from Friday. I’m the “waitress” you had the unfortunate encounter with. I am not actually a “waitress”. I am a barista, and more importantly, a human being. I acknowledge that you are also a human being and not the complete monster you are currently being portrayed as on social media. I am also not the victim I see described in these posts.
On the morning of our incident, I didn’t know who you were and just thought you were a jerk being a jerk to someone in the service industry. It happens everyday. When you apologized, you said it wasn’t your intention to offend me, but what was your intention? It seems now that whether you realized it or not, your intention was to bully someone who obviously didn’t share your political notions. Whether that’s true or not, you should know that your insensitivity to the plight of others can be very hurtful. Your behavior was unacceptable regardless.
You said to me that it’s not hard to declare gender, that there are only two choices, male or female. I, like you, am not well versed in gender politics. We just can’t possibly understand what it means to be transgender. But in my lack of understanding, there’s a well of compassion. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to just exist in a world of those who don’t understand and hate you merely for existing. In your lack of understanding, there is fear. I get that. That’s very human of you. But how does that fear serve you? How does it serve your children?
It certainly didn’t do much for you this weekend. It was no fun for me either. Our little encounter has blown up in a way neither us of would have expected. I don’t revel in this kind of attention and chose to lay low, but that felt more victimizing, and irresponsible. The things you said to me on Friday were wildly inappropriate and even though I personally didn’t feel assaulted or sexually harassed, I have to speak up for those your bullying was intended for.
I hope this weekend has shown you that you are governing a community that doesn’t share your oppressive belief system and doesn’t tolerate this kind of treatment of it’s citizens, regardless of the gender they identify with. We no longer see you fit for duty. I hope you choose to resign your post, but if not, maybe you can choose to move forward, regardless of your beliefs, with an attitude of respect, compassion, and humanness towards your constituents. We’re all in this together.
And for the record, I declare myself woman. And I love to dance. If you can put aside the fear and hate, I’d love to take you up on that dance, regardless of how you identify.
Love & Guts,
Thousands have signed an online petition calling for La Tour to resign. He said in a Facebook post:
Just in case you were wondering, John La Tour is no quitter!
I can’t immediately locate a Greta Allendorf post on either of La Tour’s Facebook pages (one personal and one for his City Council race). I’ve also sent a message to Allendorf, but others have confirmed the authenticity of the post.