I have sat down and tried and tried and tried to write something about the Bruce Jenner news, and about how I felt seeing some of my friends liking an article talking about how Bruce Jenner is “sick and delusional”, written by a self-proclaimed Christian famous for his sensational headlines written with the explicit purpose to rile people up.
I wrote paragraphs on science and the facts and research on human sexuality and the psychology of gender. I wrote pages on my issues with Christianity that this hateful man’s words on this issue bring boiling right up to the surface. I tried reasoning and logic and pointing out blatant fallacies in this man’s article.
And then I stopped. I gave up. I decided that I can’t reason my way into changing anybody’s mind. I can’t undo years of fear-based teachings and address the underlying issue that different = bad in one nice, neat blog post.
I have said it before and I will say it again: if you are uncomfortable with the idea of transgendered individuals, that doesn’t mean you are bad or stupid or somehow less than the people who are comfortable with it. It just means you have been exposed to something outside of your comfort zone, something you likely have very little education about or experience with. That is completely normal and a very human reaction to have. But please don’t stop there. Please don’t fall into the false logic that different = bad. Please don’t take the word of a man who has virtually no formal education on the subject, of a man who makes his living off sensational headlines designed to get people riled up and angry, whether on his side or not. Please don’t take moral lessons from a man who has made it his job to ridicule and hurl hateful insults at people who don’t fit into his frighteningly narrow definition of a perfect human being.
What I would ask you instead is to look inside your heart and see if you can find some compassion for an individual who has to see these things written about them on the internet and see people like you, like me, like their friends, their parents, their teachers, their role models giving it a big thumbs up. Do we feel that name-calling and shaming and ridiculing these people will benefit them in any way?
If we take away all of the scientific evidence, all of the medical and psychological research and are left with just a person saying “this is what I am experiencing” – can we at least have some human compassion for that? Can we at least soften our hearts a little bit, at least admit that we haven’t lived life in this individual’s shoes? At least admit that there are some things in life we won’t ever experience but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist?
What is so threatening about another human being’s gender identity? Are our own gender identities really so fragile that the idea that someone might have a different gender experience causes us to become violently angry? Why are we so intent on putting our energy into fighting an individual’s own personal idea of happiness? Is that really what we think will bring about a more peaceful, loving world? What is it about a stranger’s gender or sexual preference that brings out the judge in us?
These aren’t rhetorical questions. I think we owe it to ourselves and our brother and sister human beings to ask ourselves these questions and not stop until we find our answer.