We the people live to poetically drone out complexities. I doubt the fish in the sea or the apes in the trees ponder themselves to death as much as we people do. If you boil off the fat of the matter I bet more people die of thinking too much than anything else. The simple act of thinking too much gives us ulcers, heart attacks, spasms and sometimes leads to war. Depression and anxiety live to party off of a negative mind.
We cause ourselves great amounts of grief by thinking which repeatedly leads to worrying. At other times we two-legged creatures stand firmly in a sea of paranoia until it drives us insane. We think about ourselves. We think about who we are. No, I mean who we really are! Because we are all someone underneath our skin and we love to contemplate that person. It is in that realm of thought where we build expectations and personal barriers.
I read a lot about the politically correct transgender world around me. They are always telling me what is taboo, right and wrong, or how things are “off limits.” People love to tell other people what topics are off the table with sweeping generalizations. I see a lot of folks scoff at political correctness only to turn around and initiate their own version on their own terms. There they go again building expectations based on too much sensitive thought.
Recently I’ve been seeing “The Dreaded List of Questions.” Every cultural group has them. Surely you’ve seen plenty of them before. There are lists of things you should never say to a gay person and endless mushy lists regarding what not to do with a depressed person. The current favorite list is, of course, what questions you ought not ask a transgender person.
Why shouldn’t we ask each other probing questions? Here we are drowning in diversity and nobody wants to get to know each other by the kind act of a question. There is always a line to draw when it comes to tone and intent. There are people asking questions because they are wicked people looking for a laugh. Then there is everyone else with innocent questions that are asked as knee jerk reactions to the unknown.
Transgender people do not like to be asked how they “decided to become transgender.” They don’t want to talk about operations, which bathrooms to use, how they have sex and what they’d like to be called. They want to live a normal peaceful life being just like everyone else. All of this while living in an abnormal world where peace is a pipe dream.
I am not stunned or taken aback by any of these questions. I would ask them of any human being who isn’t doing whatever I may be doing. Aside from asking out of malice and humiliation, I believe we should all be open with each other to answer any questions. It doesn’t matter if they sound silly or obvious. When a person is living a life that I do not understand then I should be allowed to question so to learn.
They tell me not to pose questions to people I do not know. They say personal and private questions should not be asked of strangers. Yet we live in a society that spies on our every move, peeps in our windows and has deconstructed privacy decades ago. And as for talking to strangers, well, I thought we already figured out that a stranger is just a friend you have yet to meet.
I ask questions all of the time to straight people whom I do not know. I ask personal questions about their lifestyle because I have never been straight. I question people about their vaginas because I do not have one. I ask why some people made choices on strange hair colors, tattoos and how they have sex (because everyone does it differently). I ask them why they would ride a rollercoaster since I could never bring myself to do that either. I inquire as to how they conceived children, why they had children and what they’re doing to raise their children. I’ll never be a parent. I’ll never know about any of these things if I don’t get some feedback.
People mistake intrigue with insult. I certainly can understand if these writers focused on making lists about forming good questions or a how-to guide on removing personal prejudice before opening their mouths. But to ban the questions outright? Get real. I want to know about all the humans who are not me. The only way I’ll ever know is if I ask them, whether I know them or not!
The truth is that people will never stop asking questions until they find the answers. If we had deep open discussions with perfect strangers we’d eventually stop asking questions. We’d also make a whole lot of friends in the process. A lot of people may think that questions and answers come at the appropriate time and place. I don’t think there is ever going to be a right time and place. Humans have bad timing.