Shop owner doubles down on transphobia with disgusting questions after being confronted over sign

Shop owner doubles down on transphobia with disgusting questions after being confronted over sign

Hate can crop up where you least expect it. Say, for example, in a Star Wars memorabilia store. Tiesa Meskis, an openly trans woman who also happens to serve on the town’s city council, confronted the owner of one such store that was hanging a shockingly bigoted sign, and, unfortunately, that person was not at all happy to be called in and educated. She posted a video of the Aug. 5 exchange on her Facebook and it has since gone viral.

Don Sucher, the owner of Sucher & Sons Star Wars Shop, located in Aberdeen, Washington, wrote the sign, according to local outlet King 5. “If you are born with a [expletive], you are not a chick,” the sign reads in part. Obviously, this is transphobic, hateful, dismissive, and downright shocking. Meskis asked Sucher to remove the sign. He asked her to leave the store. The back-and-forth went on, however, including the two of them shouting back and forth on the sidewalk.

“Just out,” the handwritten sign reads. “Dr Seuss’s new book. ‘If you are born with a d–k, you are NOT a chick’. Period. This new release is out now because cancel culture banned his early books.”

Assumably this sign is in reference to the absolute hysteria right-wing talking heads, like Tucker Carlson, raised when they claimed Dr. Seuss was “canceled” because his estate announced it would stop selling books of his that included racial slurs and images.

“What you’re spouting is bulls–t,” Sucher said. He said Meskis was an embarrassment, described himself as a “pillar” of the city, and said people at City Hall were embarrassed to have to “tolerate that s—t.” 

“No, it’s not,” Meskis replied. “Trans women are women… Sir, that sign is bulls–t.”

Sucher told Meskis she was “nuts” and that the “problem” is that “nobody confronts” her. He claimed that every time some “bull” happens, his sales go up. He accused her of not “looking” or “acting” like a woman. He asked if she still had a “d—k” and Meskis replied that wasn’t his business and asked if he would go to anyone else and ask about their genitals. He said he would if they were “f—king nuts.”

Here is that part of the confrontation, as shared to YouTube.

Once on the sidewalk, Meskis asked Sucher to get away from her, and he said he wouldn’t because it was “in front of his store” and he wanted to confront her because she was “f—king nuts.” 

“Let me ask you a question,” he said. “Do you have a d—k?”

“You don’t get to ask that,” Meskis replied. 

“I want to be in your f—king face,” he said later. “Because nobody confronts your f—king stupid ass.” 

A bystander in the video told Sucher he was going to lose her business and that she was on Meskis’s side. “Alright,” he said. “I hope so.”

“He’s got a d—k,” Sucher insisted, to which Meskis asked him not to misgender her. 

“Don’t come back,” Sucher said when Meskis said she was leaving. 

“I’m trying to walk away,” Meskis said before she asked Sucher to “back off.” She told him she was going to call the police if he continued following her. 

“You go home tonight, and if you’ve got a d—k, you’re not a chick,” he said. He told Meski she was embarrassing the whole community. Meskis pointed out he was harassing her, and he repeated he was confronting her because nobody did. 

In an interview with King 5, Sucher said he doesn’t care what “they do” but doesn’t want people to come to his store and “complain” to him about “stuff.” He told the outlet he has “free speech.” He added that anyone who disagrees with him doesn’t have to go to his store. He told the outlet people have been supportive of his sign and taken pictures of it. According to Pink News, the sign is still up in his store. 

“I don’t give a [expletive] about feelings anymore,” Sucher told the outlet in reference to it hurting Meskis’ feelings. “I went to Vietnam to fight for all this [expletive]. Do you think I care about some [expletive] feeling? Absolutely not!”

“What he wrote there was so demeaning and so dismissive of who I am, who any trans woman is,” Meskis told King 5. She acknowledged to the outlet that Sucher technically has the right to say what he wants, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hurtful. “We are people,” she added. “We are who we are and we all want to be accepted in our community.”

We tend to talk about LGBTQ+ rights, protections, and equality in terms of state and federal law. Obviously, that’s hugely important and not to be dismissed. But transphobia can exist no matter where you live, and sometimes that transphobia is technically protected by law. This doesn’t mean it’s okay, acceptable, or fair.

So, what can people do? Support businesses that align with your beliefs. Stand up for people who are facing discrimination or who are brave enough to confront hate and are met with, well, hate. Allyship isn’t always comfortable, but it can make a big difference when it comes to creating safety for folks. Trans folks—and especially trans women—report higher rates of violence, harassment, and abuse. Speaking up against hate is a baseline of allyship, even when it isn’t easy. 

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