Happy Tears

Posted on Sep 4, 2015 | 0 comments

Crying happy tears. I just read the best message from the woman I was arguing with on the Lila news story a couple of days ago. She apologized for being ignorant and hateful, said she’s spent the last day reading and learning, and now she would be completely comfortable with her daughters being in a locker room with a transgender girl.

This is why I engage in these conversations online. As frustrating and hurtful as they can be, you never know when they will make a difference. This is how allies are made. This makes the sad, angry, and frustrated tears worth it.

How did the conversation go, you may be asking? Here’s my part of the conversation. (The woman deleted all of her comments after realizing how hateful they sounded.)

My original comment: All of you commenting against Lila need to understand that you’ve all shared restrooms with transgender people. Every one of you. And the simple fact is that you didn’t have a clue because trans people don’t whip out their parts for everyone to see. Yes, even in a locker room situation, that still applies. Body parts are private, and I guarantee you that Lila wouldn’t be stripping down to nothing to change for class. Underwear would be worn, as is probably the case for 99.9% of the other students. No one sees more than what we all see at a swimming pool.

As for not wanting to use the segregated room, by law she doesn’t have to. “Separate but equal” isn’t constitutional. She can’t be forced into a separate facility, and using one does set her apart from her classmates. That alone can lead to an increased chance of bullying and depression. If the other students are uncomfortable, THEY can use alternative changing areas. “Separate but equal” in that case is voluntary.

Further fear is usually a symptom of something being unknown. So before you fear the trans predator in bathrooms and locker rooms, get to know the truth.

http://mediamatters.org/…/17-school-districts…/203867

http://mediamatters.org/…/15-experts-debunk…/198533

http://thinkprogress.org/…/transgender-bathroom-study/

This was followed by strawman arguments that a girl in her underwear is vulnerable to being sexually leered at by a “man” in a locker room and the question “Should I teach my 3-year-old that showering with strange men is okay if they say they are women?”

My replies: Start by teaching everyone that bodies aren’t merely sexual objects. A bra and underwear aren’t any more revealing than a bikini. And if your daughter’s are, I’d ask you why you’re letting her wear something so risque.

You let your 3 year old shower with strangers?

She then sounded irate. “This is a man showering with girls? How do you not get this?????”

My reply is what seemed to turn her around:I get it more than you know, because I’ve been through it. I have a transgender daughter. I live this every single day in ways you will never comprehend. I get the hate and even get death threats simply for loving my child and allowing her to live in a way that makes her happy rather than suicidal. YOU have the luxury of not understanding because you’d rather stay ignorant. For my daughter’s life, I HAD to understand it.

That being said, there are a lot of resources out that the school can use to help the kids understand. Training from non-profits can help everyone, including parents, see that gender norms are hardly black and white or written in stone. We all break gender rules every day we exist. But we overlook them in ourselves because we don’t think we are freaks. But whoa, someone else dares to challenge that thinking and we flip. I don’t know Lila and I don’t know how fluid she is (yes, that’s an actual term), but I know that teaching about gender issues instead of spouting a bunch of fear-mongering nonsense goes a long way. You could TRY to learn something. You could TRY to teach your daughter that people come in all varieties, some we may not even understand, but when those people ARE NOT hurting anyone else, they are still ok.

She then replied with three other quick comments. “What if she likes girls?” “I don’t want my daughter around people with a penis.” And “I think she’s just confused because some days she dresses as a boy and others she dresses as a girl.”

My replies to each statement: I do appreciate that you called Lila a girl in your last comment. That is something. You see, it doesn’t have to be hard. She’s a girl. And maybe she’s a lesbian. But I don’t see the parents around there trying to round up all the other lesbians in the locker room and kick them out.

You don’t know what genitals anyone has unless they flash you or you’re intimate. Does a penis automatically make a person a predator? I’m sure your husband (or kids’ father…sorry to assume) would love to know that.

There are a lot of trans people who try living as a gay person in the gender they were assigned at birth first. Sometimes it’s because they don’t know how to explain the feelings they have and aren’t aware that being transgender is real or think they are the only one to ever feel like they are in the wrong body. Awareness that they aren’t alone and being able to finally put their feelings into words can be a life-saving relief. Sometimes it’s because they are afraid of rejection from family and friends. So they test the waters by saying they are gay thinking if they are supported, the same friends and family might eventually be okay knowing they feel they are a different gender. Just look at the amount of hate in the comments of this story to see why people would be afraid to come out as trans versus gay. You don’t have to read far to see how terrifying it is to speak that truth out loud.

I added to the thread before she commented further:Let’s get to another terrifying truth really quickly. So far this year, a record number of trans women have been murdered in the US. MURDERED for being trans women. Why would anyone pretend to be trans when they aren’t and put themselves in automatic danger? There are actually people here who say Lila is a boy trying to trick others into getting locker room access. At the risk of being murdered for it? I don’t think so. Being trans isn’t a choice. It isn’t confusion. It isn’t something that can be fixed. It doesn’t make a person a predator.

She then replied that she is teaching her daughter to be loving and accepting, but that she was drawing the line and would not accept a male claiming he is female (suddenly reversing her use of affirmative pronouns).

My last reply to her:You really *aren’t* teaching her to love and accept everyone no matter what. If you were, you’d teach her that trans girls are not to be feared and that their private parts are their private parts, just as hers are. She doesn’t know what anyone else has in their undies. They could be intersex and have a penis. She wouldn’t know that either.

Two days later she sent me a private message saying she spent a lot of time in thought and reading everything she could find. Calmly addressing each argument as it came up seemed to help diffuse the situation. Granted, this approach can sometimes just cause a headache as people decide to dig in their heels further rather than open their minds. But I’m really happy at the outcome here. She said she was going to attend the next school board meeting and express her support of Lila. We now have one more advocate out there, actually speaking on a trans girl’s behalf, publicly.

 

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