By Valerie Rice | November 17, 2020
I want to start off by telling you that I have thousands of words about this in my head that are desperate to spill out onto the page, but only some of them are kind. The others are in lecture form and I will do my best to avoid those. This is one of my soapbox issues. I am a mother. I have wonderful children. They are lucky enough to have genitals that match their gender. Not every person is blessed with this, and it is scientifically supported. Being transgender is not new, a fad, or a choice. It is also something that is not up for debate and should not have to be hidden. So let us raise our awareness together during this week of Transgender Awareness, shall we?
A BRIEF HISTORY
Transgender individuals have existed throughout time and across all cultures. The concept of the binary as a norm based solely on genitalia is relatively new. The reason we hear so much about it now is not that it is a sudden development but that we are just now evolving socially to the point where legal rights and protections for these groups are required. While some cultures have revered transgender individuals, others have discriminated against and reviled them. The third gender, or gender fluidity, and transgenderism have been acknowledged in written form since 350 BCE. As societies rise and fall, so do ideals and norms, meaning what is common is “right” and what is rare becomes “wrong” based on religious or popular opinion.
WHERE WE STAND
A while back I wrote a post outlining the science that backs up the validity of transgender individuals. Basically, you can see the science showing how the brain does not match the body. Here is the link if you missed it. Please give it a read through. It does get a bit science-y. Basically, it shows how there is no choice in who you are, so let’s don’t discriminate. And we are not going to argue the validity of other people’s existence. I won’t hear of it. And yet, many people think discriminatioon is awesome, either because of their political or religious beliefs. You guys…I shouldn’t say this…You guys suck. Seriously. How would you like it if the roles were reversed? When did you choose your gender? Never, right? It just fit. So let’s drop it and move on. Nobody knows but the person living it, and pushing them to the brink of suicide and extinction is not a helpful tool.
Ahhh, the tricky part. So far there are no laws that explicitly prevent discrimination against transgender individuals. There are general anti-discrimination laws, and Obama wrote an executive order against it, but then Trump wrote a religious freedom law that technically allows discrimination. Trump even tried to ban them from the military using the cost of healthcare as one of his excuses. See the mess we are in? So many states refuse to include transgender discrimination as hate and allow it as religious freedom, still attemppting to invalidate the existence of men and women across th country. Why? Well, to satisfy their religious republican base, of course. Being transgender means being allowed to exist in certain parts of the country. Basically, live in a blue state. You will get better treatment, but still face daily discrimination and harrassment.
Mental health is a huge concern in the transgender community. Almost half of these individuals experience depression or anxiety and roughly 40% attempt suicide. Should I repeat that? Almost 40% of our brothers and sisters in the trans community attempt suicide. Yeah, I am upset too. It isn’t because of their gender, guys. It is because of how our society treats them. Tis community is isolated and faces daily discrimination, even from the LGBTQIA community. We don’t care enough to protect them, the allies are often uneducated, and even those who want to help cause unintentional harm.. I’m not perfect, I’m sure I have stuck my foot in my mouth before. The language is constantly changing, the laws are old fashioned, and the best thing to do is ask politely if you are not sure. Why? Because these statistics are NOT okay, and there are many people who would rather “fix: them for their comfort and make them “normal” than treat their depression and anxiety.
FINAL THOUGHTS…FOR NOW
I will leave you with rule #1 in my home: Don’t be a dick, bro. Seriously. Let’s be inclusive and loving toward one another. Acceptance is key. Advocate for change, because there is already too much misery and death in this world. What was that golden rule way back in the day? Treat others as you would want to be treated? Instead of focusing on what is in someone’s pants (because that is hella creepy) focus on what is in their character, and go from there. Be Well!