This post is in response to a Charlotte Observer article on lesson plans at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools that includes the book Jacob’s New Dress. Specifically, it’s a response to the reader comments.

I guess I don’t know what to tell you, though I get your angst.

The world seems to be changing in cataclysmic ways. Gay marriage is now just marriage. And us transpeople aren’t hiding ourselves quite so much anymore.

Generations ago, being gay was a crime. Even now, many people consider gender dysphoria to be a mental illness. So I get it.

What we were doing before was hiding people like me or gay people or anyone who didn’t fit the dominant norm. It was easy to say that something was so rare and then throw around accusations of perversion or special privileges.

Now? Now we talk about these things. Now we know more people who are gay or trans, and that humanizes things. I want to maybe humanize this issue a bit with you.

First, bathroom bills are unnecessary because the kinds of things you claim to fear, assaults and spying and the like, are already illegal. Your bill would make it worse. I can pass for a woman on a lot of days and I’m not even on hormones yet. I’ve read stories about trans men who would be forced into women’s restrooms, something you’d surely object to.

Second, this shouldn’t be a political issue. It shouldn’t be partisan. I’m a person. I hold mostly liberal and progressive beliefs, but I hold some conservative ones, too. When it comes to local and state governments, I believe in balanced budgets, leaving deficit spending as stimulus to the federal level. That’s because they control the currency at that level, where local governments cannot.

But the thing I cannot ignore is that I exist. We have the medical technology now that I can make myself less uncomfortable with my body. I can make myself physically female even if my genetics will tell a different (and complicated) story. I’m asking you to accept that reality.

I want that, and I want you to acknowledge that I’m human. That I too have dreams and hopes. That I have a family and friends. That I have a community I call home and I care about.

I don’t want to cause you any harm. I really don’t. I don’t want to live in fear, either. I don’t want to have to worry about where I walk and if someone is going to attack me. I don’t want to be treated as less than human.

You know what? You can get my pronouns mixed up. It’s okay. You can ask me questions that would be invasive to someone else. That’s fine. But understand that some people are more sensitive to these things than I am. They’re taking their autonomy and having it questioned is questioning their humanity. Be compassionate when you can. Acknowledge mistakes when you make them. This is golden rule stuff right here.

I get that you’re angry. But please don’t use the scare words Politically Correct to hide behind. PC isn’t really a thing. It’s just that you should be nice to other people. Get to know them. Understand you’ll get things wrong and be ready to acknowledge that. You’re going to come across some angry people, too. Like any other part of life, you don’t know what they’ve been through.

All humans want dignity and respect. That’s all. You aren’t going to lose your family or your community over this. We’re just people who want to be a part of these same communities. We want to live and reach for those dreams and raise families.

That doesn’t weaken your community. That doesn’t point to moral decay. No. This is the strength we find when we all come together.

I have my hand out. Yeah, it might smell a bit of perfume. It may have manicured nails and be moisturized. But please don’t be afraid to shake it.

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