ICYMI: Respect Matters, And So Does Kindness
"That's Not Allowed Here"
It's The 21st Century, Right?
I was shocked, to say the least, when I read one of the headlines in the Toronto Starthis morning (November 7, 2018).
"‘That’s not allowed here’: Edmonton woman barred from kissing female friend at Jack White concert," the headline read, and my heart sank. I couldn't believe that I would be reading about two women barred from kissing at a concert, and yet, here I am, now writing a blog about it.
The gist of it is, a woman, Allyson MacIvor, was in attendance at a Jack White concert at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, with one of her girlfriends. In a moment of spontaneity and of fun, she leaned over and kissed her during her favorite song, "Seven Nation Army." Unbeknownst to MacIvor, a Rogers Place employee saw her, apparently pulled her away from the kiss, and cautioned her against such a public display of affection. The employee then told MacIvor and her friend that if they disagreed with what just happened, they could take it up with the manager.
As you might expect, that's exactly what MacIvor and her friend did, as they felt uncomfortable. The employee, who was reportedly a young woman, told the manager that she intervened in what she felt was "inappropriate sexual behavior" during a concert. The manager told the employee to resume her duties, apologized to MacIvor and her friend, and MacIvor filed an incident report.
Rogers Place is conducting a review of the incident, has asked MacIvor for her input into inclusion training for employees and has offered MacIvor tickets to a concert of her choosing by way of apology. For her part, MacIvor asked that the employee not be fired - a decision I'm sure was potentially difficult for her to make - told the manager she would like tickets to see Fleetwood Mac (they play Edmonton on Saturday, November 10) and extended an invitation for the employee who pulled her away from the kiss to join her. The employee has not yet responded to the invitation.
First of all, I am impressed with MacIvor. While I am basing how I feel on what's been reported by Toronto Star, the article states at one point that MacIvor is gay and has typically been reluctant to post about personal matters on Facebook. In this case, though, MacIvor wanted to get a conversation going about the incident and so posted about it.
"Eventually, the whole world began to know I was gay," she admitted in the article.
Regardless of how enlightened we think we are in the 21st century, it would seem that we still have a whole lot of work ahead of us. Why should the gender of the person MacIvor kissed even matter? Who among us has not kissed a significant other or someone special during a concert or an evening out? Maybe that's a generalization, but the point is, whether you're heterosexual or identify along the LGBTQ+ spectrum, if you want to kiss your friend or your partner, you should feel free to do so.
I'm seriously impressed that MacIvor seems to have wanted to focus her energies on the positive here. She did not want the female employee who intervened in the kiss fired; rather, she wanted to ensure the woman received education about the importance of inclusion, and it would seem that Rogers Place is on board with that ideal.
Secondly, MacIvor's apparent ability to forgive the employee for what happened is pretty amazing. To first insist that the woman not be fired and then to invite her to join in on the Fleetwood Mac concert speaks to a whole lot of grace, and I don't know that I'd be able to do that myself.
It's my hope that, once the employee recovers from what is likely to be a lot of embarrassment about what happened - particularly since it's now gained some attention in the press - she is able to sit back and realize that she could and should have left things alone in that moment at the Jack White concert. As the lyric goes in the classic song "As Time Goes By" by Herman Hupfeld, "You must remember this/A kiss is just a kiss."
In this instance, it would seem that a kiss was a reminder that we're now in the 21st century.