Thursday, September 17, 2009

In Which My Naive Heart Meets Reality

Ever have someone that you just click with? No matter how long the time between talking or seeing each other, you just seem to understand the other's silences and thoughts, their sense of humor and views on life. When I reconnected with a dear person recently, we were both shocked at how much we missed each other, and amazed at how we had managed to live 15 years of our lives without being friends.

What shocked me initially though, was that this kind person was nervous to meet with me. My friend feared that I wouldn't react well to the changes that life had brought to the surface. That I would, in fact, be uncomfortable or reject the possibility of friendship with someone who has finally begun to accept the reality that she is a She, despite what her birth certificate displays.

Am I really that unusual in my ability to accept this change so freely? Is someone being transgender truly something that affects others in such a profoundly vile way? Am I that incredibly naive to assume that the world would OF COURSE see the lovely person inside, without worrying about the external differences?

I've tried to wrap my mind around it, but my heart keeps getting in the way. For all I saw when I gave her a hug, was someone with a generous heart and soul, who wouldn't hurt a fly (or mouse). All I saw was the same sweet person from my youth. True, we've both gotten a little older, and compared a couple of gray hairs (grrrrrr) but the core of who we are is the same. The decision to finally "get busy living" and embrace her true nature hasn't changed the person that is inside.

But I heard the fear of being rejected or treated horribly in her voice. I know that the expectation of being hurt or pushed aside was already thought out in her head before we said hello. For the daily life of someone who is transgender is something I can only imagine...

This gentle soul has to hide her true identity at work. In this economy, none of us want to take a chance at losing our jobs, and the reality is that coming out at work regarding one's gender identity or sexual orientation is still dangerous. Most states don't have any protection for LGBT rights. Though Illinois has some, they are not all-inclusive or equal with those who are born into the gender they identify with or those who have a different sexual orientation. There exists the very real possibility that she could be fired without reason, simply because of who she is. And that? That. Makes. Me. Ill.

We need to wake up. We need to protect EVERYONE. Minorities aren't just ethnicities, religions or those with different physical or mental abilities. Every single person on this planet has something that makes them unique. Some trait, belief, or difference that sets them apart from others. What is YOUR unique difference? How would you feel if that very special trait made you fearful of hate crimes or of losing the right to live a happy, peaceful life?

I know I'm naive, now. I know that I am a little unusual in that I DON'T CARE who makes your heart beat faster or how you want to dress. I want only for each person on Earth to experience happiness, joy and acceptance. It is not up to anyone else to determine how you are "supposed" to feel happy.

20 comments:

sheila said...

Oh now that is a nice post! Good for your friend on making the decision to be them self...and how nice to have a friend through it all. Very nice Tracey. Very nice.

Stephanie said...

It must be terrifying to make that leap, however much she wanted to make it. It sounds like she's been hurt terribly in the past; I don't blame her for being gun shy. I'm glad you reconnected!

Me said...

Coming from a tiny town in MT, transgender is something I haven't dealt with...knowingly. I know that it USED to be that anyone that wasn't a straight Christian wasn't even a person in my eyes, but then my brother came out...That was SUCH an eye opener. I am getting more comfortable every day, in my thoughts about my kids and their futures, what their decisions may or may not be and it comes down to the fact that there are some decisions I will not agree with that they could possibly make, however, as long as those decisions make them HAPPY I will accept them. Who are we to determine the happiness of another individual just because their choice may or may not be the one we would agree with???

Um, I agree with you, is what I'm saying, but I do think wrapping my mind around it might be harder. I am so glad for your friend, tho, that she was able to come to peace with who she truly is...and take those steps to become that person.

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

M.E., I think if we all remember that the "choice" involved isn't whether or not one is a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person. The "choice" is whether or not one lives a life that is a lie to make the rest of the world comfortable or to live a life that is true to themselves. I'm glad for your brother (and children) that you are trying to wrap your mind around it.

LceeL said...

"What is YOUR unique difference? How would you feel if that very special trait made you fearful of hate crimes or of losing the right to live a happy, peaceful life?" I have a severe case of D.O.M.S. and it gets me into more trouble than it's worth - almost.

D.O.M.S. = Dirty Old Man Syndrome

Issas Crazy World said...

If you are naive then I am too. I just don't get it, why people think it matters one bit who people are or who they love.

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Lou, Lou, Lou... What am I going to do with you?

(Such eloquent poetry! Just another day on Just Another Mommy Blog! I know how to keep 'em coming back for more, eh?)

Michelle said...

Can I just say Amen?

JM said...

Amen sister friend! I completely agree with you, we aren't here to be the judge of other people's happiness. So glad your friend found the courage to be herself.

CaraBee said...

I'm totally with you, sister! And is it weird that I've always kindof wished one of my friends would do the transgender thing? I'm a terrible person.

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Cara, I'm not sure I totally understand your comment, but, um, ooookayyyy... ;)

mep said...

"It is not up to anyone else to determine how you are 'supposed' to feel happy."

So true. And how wonderful that there are so many ways to be happy.

Dana said...

There are people out there who are incredibly judgemental and cruel. I think they are like that out of fear but I'm not sure. I cannot imagine looking down on somebody simply because of who they are. I embrace the differences in people. Can you even IMAGINE a world where everybody was the same? How boring would THAT be. I think variety really IS the spice of life and people should feel free to be whoever they want to be.

AND, how very nice that you were able to reconnect with such a dear friend. It sounds like you two have many years of catching up to do.

we are reilly said...

AMEN, AMEN, AMEN....keep writing it! :)

Elisa, The Unlikely Housewife said...

So true. Those things hold true for everything. I just gained weight, by no means as huge a change as your friend, but I too fear I would be judged harshly if I met up with old friends.

I just don't understand why it's so hard for people to be more accepting of others. I like clothes and shoes as much as the next girl, but appearance only goes so far. I care much more about what a person is inside. And that is, IMO, what people fail to see.

Kami's Khlopchyk said...

You are so right on so many levels here. I hate that others get to decide that it isn't right to be transgender...and good gravy don't tell me it says it's wrong in the bible because that will set me off like a cannon.

I applaud you for accepting her for who she really is and welcoming her back into your life with open arms. May your example helps others understand.

Zoe Brain said...

You may find this difficult to believe - but over 50% of mothers completely reject their children if they transition.

And a significant number reject their children if they are Intersexed.

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Zoe... that breaks my heart. Literally...

Zoe Brain said...

Only 1 in 20 marriages survive transition: and it's more common than not that transwomen are forbidden by the courts to ever have any contact with their children again.

In Western Australia, if one partner transitions, the children are automatically taken into foster care by the state - which is horrific for the other partner.

Which might explain why the suicide rate amongst trans women in Western Australia is so much higher than elsewhere. Because at least that way, the children won't be taken away from their mother.

Not all transitions have such horrendous costs. My own didn't. But I know of no others where there was no loss, either of parents, or children, or both.

Those who have lost families band together for comfort and support. Many manage to create new lives, and when the children reach their majority, they may get into contact again.

My own transition was due to a rare Intersex condition. Yes, I was transsexual, but I had far too much to lose if I transitioned. I didn't have the courage, preferring an early death from stress-related illness to risking the loss of everything I valued.

I didn't have the courage to jump - but I was pushed. And I lost nothing.

So I do what I can to help others, because I can't help wondering "Why me? Why was I so fortunate?".

Hugs to your whole family, Zoe

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Zoe,

I was reading your blog and some of the laws of Australia and was... flabbergasted. I'm glad it worked out so well for you because it's obvious that it's not the typical outcome for people in situations similar to your own. I'm so happy for you and your family - take care!

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