Winter found us. We tried to hide, but Nature’s got a nose like a bloodhound.
…true statement. Think about it.
Right now, it’s a whopping 2 degrees out. It wouldn’t be so bad if the wind would stop. Those who don’t live in a creaky old house in a cold climate, let me bring you up to speed. When it’s cold and still, your heaters will fill your little abode with a warmer cloud of air. However, when it’s cold and windy, the wind finds every little crack and draft and sneaks in to steal your toasty cloud.
“Didn’t you put plastic on your windows?”
Yep. And that plastic is bulging and billowing like an accordion. It’s cool, in a sort of creepy way. The wind gusts, the plastic on the three windows in the living room fill and push out, then slowly recede when the gust stops. It’s like the house is breathing.
The house is breathing! I didn’t even think about that before and now…now I’m casting a wary glance around the room and I swear I heard something cackle.
I’ve seen this movie before, folks. When a house gains sentience, there’s only one way this can end.
“Bethie, get a grip.”
*deep breath* Yeah. Heh heh. Yeah, sorry. Got a little swept up in my own imagination there for a minute. The house isn’t breathing. That’s stupid. I didn’t sleep very well the past few nights. That’s it. I’m just over tired.
…but if that creepy “don’t open that door!!!” music starts to play, I’m hitting the road.
So how’s your 2015 going so far? Pretty much the same, huh? Why is it that every New Years, people think the next year will be so very different?
That’s rhetorical. People are foolishly hopeful that change is as easy as the flip of a calendar page, that’s why. I get that. I just needed a segue from “I think my house is going to eat me” to “Hey, I read something I want to discuss.”
The something I want to discuss is the reaction to the story of the transgender suicidal teen, Leelah Alcorn. Have you heard of this? Not only was it national news, but anyone with a Facebook account MUST have seen the story, too.
If you somehow aren’t familiar with the story, here it is in a nutshell. A teenager who was born a boy, but identified as a girl, committed suicide by jumping in front of a moving semi truck on the highway. She left a note on her blog explaining her reasons for her actions, blaming society in general for non acceptance, and specifically calling out her parents for not understanding her desire to transition to her body parts to match the inner female she already identified as.
Now, before I get emails about me not being clear how to best tell this story in the most inoffensive and respectful way possible…what. WHAT!? What the hell did I do wrong? Because I know for a fact that someone WILL email me to say, “I cannot believe you even brought up the fact that she was ever a boy…” or “Way to side with the parents, asshole,” or “She didn’t need to change her body parts to be who she was!”
That’s what I’d like to discuss. No matter how politically correct the varying articles were, SOMEONE was offended. Someone sounded off in the comments. The articles that mentioned the kid’s birth name were blasted for even bringing up the fact that the person was born a boy. Um, HELLO. The entire point of the kid’s depression and resulting suicide was society’s problem with transgender people! The fact that she was born a boy is kind of pivotal to the entire discussion. Not to mention that the girl herself wrote her former name in the suicide note. Articles that copied and pasted the note WORD FOR WORD were crucified for including that part. The parents did not understand their child. That was abundantly clear. Yet articles that brought that sentiment forward were called out for taking the parents’ side.
And I will most likely be called out for the same.
What do you want from me, people? What do you want from ANY news site reporting this information?
These are the facts of the case. Once upon a time, there was a baby boy who swiftly grew to understand that while the body possessed a penis, everything else inside was actually female. The child then grew up in a society that did not understand what being “transgender” means, and the parents were part of that clueless society. This snowballed into a mental illness that caused her to take her own life by jumping in front of a vehicle, not only killing herself but creating a victim of the truck driver who now must live his entire life knowing that he was the one to end the life of a child.
Those are facts.
So why isn’t it okay for the story to be reported like that? Why do the facts piss people off?
Among the dozens of complaints in the comments section of one of the articles that went far more to the left than I did in reporting yet STILL got called out for insensitivity, there were the expected dozens of hate posts. Come on, you didn’t think it would all be Kumbya for equality, did you? There were hate posts against transgender people, the whole concept of being transgender, the standard “I knew a guy who got ‘tranny tricked'” bullshit, stabs at the LGBT community, etc.
There were comments about politicians.
There were comments about Christians.
There were comments about whether transgender people find more acceptance in the white community, or with minority groups.
There were comments speculating on whether or not transgender people could be considered an actual minority group themselves.
…on and on, as you kind of would expect from such a misunderstood topic.
And why is it misunderstood? People are quick to blame religion, that it’s religious fervor that’s keeping the transgender community down. Sure, there are some religious folks doing that. You’ve got whackadoos in every subset of the population and there will be religious people claiming that those who change their outward genders are “sinners”. Keep in mind, though, that there are still religious people claiming that it is okay to buy women and slaves, because that’s what was done in the bible.
My point is, this issue goes way deeper than religion, a fact that is evident if you want to wade through the comments of such articles. People who have no religious affiliations whatsoever don’t understand the biological aspects of being transgender.
When you are a kid in school, you learn that there are two different sets of chromosomes that create two distinct genders necessary for continued population of the species. When you’re in about fifth grade, you get separated by gender, and boys are given the “so you have smelly armpits and wet sheets in the morning, eh?” talk, while girls get the, “you should be HAPPY to bleed all over the place every month…now put on a bra” speech. In middle school, your uncomfortable gym teacher no doubt separated you yet again and gave you an uncomfortable talk about STD’s that included a lot of “ums” and red faced muttering before passing out pamphlets no one read. And then you got into high school and discover that you were the only girl in shop class and your guidance counselor suggested you switched to home ec…
…shit, I just aged myself, didn’t I? I don’t even think they HAVE home ec. anymore.
Anyway, after all of this carefully constructed gender education, the trans community is expecting everyone to be like, “Oh, okay. We’re all wrong. Go it.”
I’m sorry. As much as it sucks, life doesn’t work like that. People don’t work like that. The human brain is not conditioned to throw away an entire lifetime of observed education in the blink of an eye. People want to know why. They NEED to know why. They need to be able to wrap their heads around a situation to be sure there’s no harm, no threat, no potential personal ramifications. It’s simply genetics, folks. We’re animals. We need to make sure something is safe before we can let it be and move on with our lives.
Now, add to the combined gender education hurdle the fact that MOST people love their genitals. Most men are proud of their penises, and most women like having a vagina. It’s very difficult for someone who loves what they’ve got to understand that not everyone feels the same.
Okay, think of the personal horror you feel when you play your new favorite song for your best friend and she says, “Meh.” You’re utterly aghast. Or when you try lemon poppy seed cake and it is THE thing and you just want to share it with the world, only to find out your husband thinks it’s gross. It’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that not everyone will feel the same, and that’s just over something so trivial as a song or snack. Now, apply that to your genitals, a part that so many people feel such a deep connection with that it defines their very being. If you are someone who is happy in your gender like most people, you will cringe when you think of someone cutting it off or reshaping your most favored part.
Look at you. Just me mentioning has you crossing your legs in a protective stance.
Combine all that, and you can see that the transgender folks are facing an enormous uphill battle here. I get it, and I’m not trying to say any different. My point is that they are going about things the wrong way.
So what can be done?
Well, blasting news agencies for petty, unintentional “insensitivities” when you know damn well they’re trying their best is certainly not the way to educate the public. The ONLY way that change will happen is through understanding and reason.
I guess I’m calling you out, LGBT community. You are hurting yourselves because you’re too wrapped up IN yourselves to understand the rest of the world is honestly looking to you to explain. When someone asks a legitimate question about transgender people, they get shut down or publicly shunned. When an article sets out to shine a light on the tragic lack of mental and emotional support for transgender teens, they’re called insensitive and uncaring. What do you want?
You want acceptance. People don’t accept that which they do not understand. And people can’t understand without asking questions. Yet, the moment they ask questions, they are “persecuting” and “focusing on differences.”
You’re sending a very conflicted message, LGBT.
The average person in 1980 did not understand gay people. Not just the uber-religious groups. The average person. There was a basic lack of understanding that transcended all social, economical, political, religious, and gender groups. When I was in high school in the 90’s, there was a great push for an understanding of the science, of the biological facts of being gay. By the time I graduated high school, the scientifically-minded folks were winning. Now, being gay is widely accepted as simply a matter of, well, matter. Now, the average person realizes that being gay is just who a gay person is. They have brown hair? Cool. They’re gay? Same deal. Cool. It’s part of their make up, their genes, their brains and hearts and souls. It’s just who they are.
Where is the push by the LGBT community to spread the same type of education about transgender people? Isn’t it more important to ring in on these articles to give deeper understanding and explanation than to use the public forum to voice offense because the article quoted Leelah herself?
A transgender person is a person who is born with thoughts, feelings, and emotions that make them a different gender than what the shape of their genitals would indicate. Their brains function like that of the opposite gender. Their organs produce the chemicals as that of the opposite gender. By everything except the shape of the genitals, they are the other gender. The ONLY reason they are not considered that other gender is because of a penis or vagina…a collection of skin, tissue, and nerves that formed incorrectly when the person was growing in the womb.
“But if they have a penis, they are supposed to be a boy.”
This is what it all comes down to. A penis is one part of the body. Just one part. If they have the mind, thoughts, internal chemistry, emotions, and sense of identity as a girl, doesn’t it make much more sense that the penis is the thing that is incorrect? When 99% of the person is a girl, isn’t it the 1% of malformed skin that’s wrong?
Let me put it to you this way: If I was born with a vestigial tail, would I then be a monkey? Or what if something hiccuped while I was forming and I ended up being born with eight appendages? Would I be an octopus? No. That’s INSANE.
One part of me that formed incorrectly would NOT define me as a person.
Get it now?
And if you just got it, then others will. Not through me saying, “You’re not being sensitive enough,” or “Blindly accept it because I said to.” Reasonable, straightforward. That’s honestly what it will take to create an acceptance for transgender people. That’s what it took to create the growing acceptance we’re now thankfully seeing for gay teens. That’s what it’s going to take to create a world that will embrace the scared and confused kids who need comfort and understanding so they don’t commit suicide because of who they are.
Thus concludes the chilly musing for Tuesday, January 6. 2105. So far no scary gonna-get-got music, so I think the house breathing is okay after all. I’m off to clean out my fridge so I’ll have enough dishes to justify washing the dishes once again to warm my hands up…