Recently while driving home from work with an employee the conversation turned to the former president and his last minute pardons for criminals. In particular the name Chelsea Manning came up. I’m no fan of Manning and I don’t agree with what she did.
We both agreed that the punishment should fit the crime but my friend and employee proceeded to go on a rant about the entire trans community. At first I just listened and kept my mouth shut as he started spewing things that he couldn’t back up. This is a person who I agree with on most things and we share the same views on a number of topics and I think he expected me to go along with him on this particular topic. He went too far when he said that 95 percent of trans people were mentally ill because of some past abuse of some kind. Mentally ill ,can you imagine, I could feel the bile starting to boil up in my throat. Why do they hate us so much.
After about 15 minutes of listening to this foolishness I started to offer some opposing viewpoints which he wasn’t receptive to and said I didn’t know what I was talking about. At this point in the conversation I had to inform him that I knew more than he would ever comprehend about this situation because I have lived with it all my life.
At first he thought I was just putting on a front to play the devil’s advocate to its absurd end but then I calmly told him my story. The fact that I had known since I was 7 that I was different and that I had been dressing to some degree ever since then.
Dumbfounded by what I was saying he started to back track on the earlier statements and observations. I never intended to tell him because I thought it might damage a good work relationship and a friendship that I really enjoyed. The old saying is true. This was the straw that broke the camels back. I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders and also sad that I may have lost a friend because I couldn’t take listening to some one who was just ignorant and misinformed.
How do you explain something to someone who has no frame of reference about what we are or how we came to be who we are. Living two lives for years and years is not something that most people can even fathom. Every time I’ve told someone about myself I always get the same response, “I had no idea,” “but you’re not girly at all,” “but you’re married and you have kids” and my personal favorite, “have you tried not being trans?” As if any of us had a choice in the matter because who in their right mind would choose to go through the fear and rejection that we all face daily. I can only hope that I made an impression that will change at least one person’s view. If it takes changing one person at a time then so be it.
All my love,