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Friday, May 25, 2018

Guest Post - Some thoughts on Transphobia and "The Bathroom Bill"

The occasional guest post is always welcome, assuming the content is relevant.  Here's another one, from Laura Ann.

Some thoughts on Transphobia and "The Bathroom Bill"
by Laura-Ann Charlot

A few minutes ago, I was reading a conversation thread on Facebook, involving a good friend of mine in the River City Gems who, like me, is a transgender woman, and some others who, judging by their responses, are supporters of movements in various places to have transgender people forced into public restrooms matching their assigned-at-birth gender. My friend took a lot of flak for trying to advance the argument that trans people are legitimate, and not mentally disturbed freaks who should be forced into conversion therapy (as if that ever "cured" anyone of being LGBTQ). This angered me enough to chime in with my own opinion, which I am usually loathe to do on Facebook when the subject touches on politics or religion, but I could not let an attack on a personal friend go unchallenged, so I responded with this:

"Weighing in here with my own 2¢ worth. To all of you trans-phobic cis-gender people participating in this thread, none of you have earned the right to judge me or anyone else, whether cis, trans, straight, gay, lesbian, bi, pan or whatever, whom you don't even know personally. Regardless of what you think about how I should just be happy with the gender role assigned to me based on my physical morphology at birth, you have no clue as to what gender dysphoria feels like. You have never, and will never, stand in front of a mirror, dressing in clothes that reflect your assigned-at-birth gender, and wish that you could just shoot yourself in the head or swallow a cyanide capsule instead of being forced to live one more day, one more hour, one more minute, in a gender that does not reflect your true self.

My sense of who I am is not in my genitals, it is in my brain somewhere, probably in the same place where my sense of love of my family and friends comes from, where my sense of grief and loss from the death of my wife of 30 years comes from, and where my hope for a brighter future for all humanity comes from, even for the haters, bigots, homophobes, and racists. Everyone. Isn't that what Jesus wanted? Y'all were given the same opportunities we all were, to be kind, loving, accepting, friendly, open-minded, tolerant - true Christians, in a word - and you have chosen to close that door, and thus miss out on knowing some pretty awesome people, like my friend, and all of the other transgender people who are gracing my life.

We are no different from you in our abilities to be loving parents, productive workers, excellent teachers that empower students to excel, compassionate doctors and nurses, or world-class scientists and engineers that will someday advance human civilization to heights we can barely conceive of today. So lighten up, okay? We are not freaks, monsters, mentally ill, or any threat to you or your kids, either in public restrooms or anywhere else. Or at least no more of a threat than the nut-case who killed 50 people in Las Vegas shooting from a hotel tower down into the audience at a concert. Last I heard, he was not believed by police investigators to be transgender. Transgender people are no more likely to be rapists, pedophiles, armed robbers, axe murderers, or politicians than y'all are. We're just people. We're engineers, attorneys, chefs, landscape maintenance workers, auto mechanics, teachers, truck drivers, secretaries, doctors, accountants, customer service reps, artists, musicians, actors, farmers, land surveyors, airline pilots, and any of a million other vocations and professions on God's green earth. We are contributing to society, raising our kids and grand-kids to be good people, just like everyone else. So keep your prejudices, bigotry, and hatred to yourself, okay?

It's already bad enough that you are probably passing on your attitudes and hatreds to your own kids, and just perpetuating LGBTQ-phobia and racism in our society. I'm sorry for you. I really am. Your lives could be so much richer if you weren't determined to shut out so much of the world and so many of the wonderful and amazing people in it. 'Nuff said, this was way more than 2¢ worth."

In conclusion, and borrowing a line from Forrest Gump: "And that's all I have to say about that."

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