Cornell West once said that “justice is what love looks like in public.” In this case, ‘the public’ is seen as a doctor’s office, and justice, or the lack of it, takes the form of two lesbian mothers and their pediatricians refusal to see their daughter. Krista and Jami, who officially got married to each other in 2012, had their baby and were expecting to bring her to their previously met pediatrician, Dr. Roi. However, on the day of the appointment, they were met with another doctor who explained that ultimately Dr. Roi did not, and could not, feel comfortable taking care of a baby who had two mothers. Krista even states that when first meeting Dr. Roi, she was very happy with her care, and was comfortable with her as her future baby’s doctor. Dr. Roi’s opinion evidently changed when she realized that Krista and Jami were partners, and would be raising baby Bay together. Dr. Roi, and the entire human population, sadly live in a world of compulsory heterosexuality, where one assumes everyone’s sexuality is heterosexual. Focused especially on this incident, there is a strong sense of heteronormativity, especially coming from Dr. Roi, as she merely assumes the sexuality of Krista and Jami to be heterosexual. Upon discovering that they are actually homosexual, she regards them as wrong and prays for them, refusing to see them or their baby; who is only a few days old and is too young to even understand the term sexuality or why she is being refused treatment based on her mother’s sexual orientation. In a letter that Dr. Roi later writes to Krista and Jami, four months after receiving complaints from people who had heard about the incident, she gives a feeble excuse and poor apology. The Doctor basically says in her letter to the parents that she is not homophobic, but merely would not be able to develop a strong relationship with them as she does with other patients, and that is why she refused to see them. On technical terms, Dr. Roi, and any other doctor, have the “right to refuse treatment if it is incompatible with their personal, religious or moral beliefs.” This law essentially protects people like Dr. Roi who clearly show examples of discriminating against their patients based not on just their sexuality, but their race, or gender as well. But what laws protect people like Krista and Jami, and their little baby? None in the state of Michigan, which is where they reside. In fact, Michigan has no laws in place that protect LGBTQ families at all from facing discrimination, a statement that says a lot about the care and condition of these families. The case of Jami and Krista is a sad one, but the systematic and structural discrimination of LGBTQ families does not end there, in fact it only gets worse. Looking at this case analytically, one must analyze all parts of the incident, and in this case one should pay attention and question aspects such as race and gender, especially how they intersect with each other. Jami and Krista are both white women who are raising their white baby, but how different would the story be if those aspects were changed? What if it were two coloured women who were taking their baby to Dr. Roi? Or two trans-women? Also, we should not just look at altered situations with just women, but also men. Would Dr. Roi, and the countless number of other Doctors who share the same beliefs as her, refuse the same treatment to a pair of gay fathers? No matter what way we look at the story, one thing will always remain the same. If the parents of a baby where both a white man and a white woman, then it would fall right into the heteronormative ideal that the world not only expects, but treats properly. Proper laws should be set in place to protect these LGBTQ families from being discriminated against, and the people in power of positions who refuse them should be taken into account for their actions. The fact that LGBTQ families should be included in mandatory education is a statement that has been argued and recited many times, but the fact is that nothing will change without proper action to abolish the discrimination they face. A coloured woman, a trans-woman, and a homosexual woman should not fear refusal for being treated at a hospital, or refusal for treatment anywhere, based on their race, gender, or sexuality. When these groups of oppressed people are able to simply be in public, then, just like Cornell West says, will justice be found.
Aulette, Judy Root and Judith Wittner. “Gendered Worlds.” New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Print.
My Fox Detroit. “Doctor Refuses Treatment of Same-Sex Couples Baby.” February 18th 2015. Web. March 2015. <http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/28142401/doctor-refuses-treatment-of-same-sex-couples-baby>